Anthony Valente is the owner and Principal of Switch Engineering. He has over 17 years’ experience in construction management and engineering design and over 12 years’ experience in engineering management. Antony has worked in a multitude of industries including power generation, oil sands upgrading, airports, municipal infrastructure, and land development. With over 10 years’ experience on municipal infrastructure, specifically at an airport and 6 years’ experience in land development. He acquired a Master of Science degree in International Construction Management in 2013 from University of Bath, completing a thesis on “Barriers of Adoption to Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Facilities Management” and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alberta in 2001.
He is passionate about finding efficiencies and value add in the construction industry. Anthony believes that BIM can provide significant gains in the efficiency and effectiveness of not only construction, but the operation of the asset through its life cycle.
Q. Please tell us about SWITCH ENGINEERING.
A. Switch Engineering is a boutique engineering consulting company providing services in Sustainable Development. With our head office located at the Edmonton International Airport, Switch Engineering has extensive experience working in highly regulated environments. Switch Engineering is licensed to practice engineering in Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We are experts in Building Systems, Process Optimization, Energy Audits and Environmental Engineering. Switch Engineering is proud of our team of diverse backgrounds. Our policies on indigenous relations, inclusivity and health and safety show our dedication to good practices in all areas of our business.
Q. What is the SWITCH ENGINEERING’s anticipation towards Sustainable Design?
A. With our vision of bringing positive sustainable change for the built world, we integrate the three pillars of Sustainable Design in all that we do. We ensure that the Environmental, Social, and Financial aspects of our projects and business activities are always balanced and prioritized. Sustainable design is not just a service we provide. Sustainability is who we are.
Q. Please tell us about SWITCH ENGINEERING’s philosophy about an importance of Green Innovation in AECOO industry.
A. We take Green Innovation very seriously in our business, and for the sake we have established an Eco-Design department. Our Eco‑Design Practice demonstrates our commitment to sustainable practices. Eco-Design shapes the entire design from conception to the design of the components, selection of the type and amount of materials, design for disassembly, selection of the waste disposal, recycling and/or reuse system, and the choice of technology, such as sustainable energy systems.
Q. Please tell us about your Environmental Scans & Monitoring studies as well as Corporate Sustainability studies.
A. We offer wide range of studies related to sustainability and the environment. Switch Engineering has solid expertise in preparing high quality studies to address water, air, and soil environmental issues. We can prepare audits and compliance studies to solid waste, water, wastewater, and air quality systems. Moreover, Switch Engineering has the education and expertise to prepare cutting edge designs to water and wastewater treatment facilities. We are also skilled in supporting land development projects through analyzing and optimizing the operations of water distribution, wastewater, and storm water systems using integrated hydraulic models. In addition, Switch Engineering team is skilled in preparing Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) according to all relevant federal, provincial, and organisational standards. We can also support our clients in the areas of sustainable development, strategic planning, infrastructure asset management, environmental agency negotiations, technical peer review, and providing technical opinion for environmental litigation. We also offer cleaner production studies that aim at the continuous improvement of processes, products, or services in pursuit of economic, organizational, social, health, safety, and environmental benefits.
Q What sustainable design strategy has the highest rate of return for both Money spent and positive impact on the environment?
A. Part of our strategy around the Eco-Design is to consider projects from a cradle to cradle perspective. This is taking the whole life cycle of say a building project from the extraction of the raw materials, to the recycling and waste processing of the asset at the end of life. BIM technology allows for this type of analysis at the design phase. With over 80% of the costs of a building asset being in the operations phase – it is a must for a building owner to take this into consideration during design. I would say, asset life cycle analysis will provide the highest rate of return for an project owner.
Q How do you measure Energy Efficiency of the building?
A. We adopt ASHREA’s standard 90.1 – Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential, ASHRAE 189.1 – International Green Construction Code, and ISO 50002 – Energy Audits for measuring energy efficiency of a building. These standards are recognized as part of LEED certification processes.
Q. Finally, please share information about the major challenges in the AECOO industry you feel Sustainable Design will help to overcome.
A. I would say the major challenge is to use the data collected in building information models (BIM) throughout project’s life cycle as part of an effective Asset Management Policy, and for Facility Owners to see the value in capturing the data at early stages. It becomes a significant challenge, and often cost prohibitive, to collect this data after construction, but the additional cost to carry the data in the BIM model from design is marginal.. In other words, we should effectively utilize BIM beyond the design and construction phases and use them through the entire life cycle of the asset.
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