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Passive House Podcast Ep 29: Gabby Brainard & Nina Sharifi, Envelope Retrofit Guide

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, we have something special in store for listeners of the Passive House Podcast. Guest cohosts Mary James and Ilka Cassidy launch their once-a-month series of interviews with women leaders and practitioners in Passive House with an interview with Nina Sharifi and Gabrielle Brainard.

Mary James is Passive House Accelerator’s Director of Publications and the driving force behind Passive House Accelerator Magazine (formerly Passive House Buildings Magazine). Ilka Cassidy is co-founder of Holzraum System and specializes in offsite, prefabricated, low carbon Passive House buildings. For their first Passive House Podcast episode, Mary and Nina interview two exciting guests who are collaborating on a retrofit guide for common building typologies found in cold climates. Nina Sharifi is an assistant professor at Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and the Director of the Applied Sciences and Technology Research and Architecture Lab. Gabrielle Brainard is an architect, facade specialist and educator. She consults on Passive House projects, conducts academic research, and teaches architecture and building science at Pratt Institute and the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

The envelope retrofit guide that they are collaborating on will provide technical guidance to architects in the early stages of net-zero retrofit projects. The guide focuses on the building envelope, a critical component of high-performance retrofits that is the primary responsibility of the architect. During their interview with Mary and Ilka, Nina and Gaby discuss the retrofit guide project, dive into an explanation of the field of architectural sciences and how Passive House design meshes with it, and explore the overlap of architecture, construction, and technology in Passive House project delivery. They also reflect on their experience as women in the fields of architecture and construction, and in working to catalyze the transition to high-performance, low carbon building.

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