At Paladino, we not only make your buildings better, we maintain them through an expert commissioning team. Meet the man at the helm of this team, Darren Bruce. Darren joined Paladino in March, and his background in mechanical engineering and Cx makes him a perfect addition.
What is your professional background?
I discovered the Architectural Engineering program my freshman year at Penn State. It combined my interest in engineering with my interest in the building industry. After a couple of internships and a few months with a design firm, I knew I wanted to be hands-on, in an investigative or problem solving role.
Over the next 12 years I worked for firms that specialized in providing commissioning services to building owners large and small. I have worked with great mentors and people who taught me volumes about the built environment and the commissioning process. It was through these relationships and working with clients on projects that I developed a true love for commissioning.
What led you to Paladino?
As more businesses took advantage of the increasing marketability of LEED and other green building certifications – as well as new code requirements achieved through commissioning services – I wanted to find a company that values commissioning and energy-related services. Paladino’s clients value and understand the benefits of an energy-efficient and sustainable facility. Paladino and its employees believe in commissioning. This culture was a major contributor in my decision to join the company.
What is one thing people don’t understand about Commissioning that they should know?
I am often asked “when does commissioning start,” or “when will you be on site to do commissioning?” It’s good that clients want to incorporate us into their process, but their understanding of commissioning is incomplete. Commissioning is not a single task that is inserted into the contractor’s project schedule; it is an ongoing process that starts in the design phase and continues through the life of the building – with the goal of providing a building that continuously and efficiently meets the needs of its occupants.
What is the future of commissioning?
As energy costs continue to rise, the importance of efficient building operation is a primary concern to building owners. Moreover, as design strategies get more complicated and technical to meet increasing energy efficiency requirements, the need for commissioning will be even more essential.
In addition to new building commissioning, existing building or retro commissioning will continue to become an even more important aspect of energy efficient operation. Existing buildings consume nearly 40% of all energy nationwide, so it is important both financially and environmentally that we make these facilities perform as efficiently as possible.
What are your predictions for the green building technology?
One of the most intriguing technologies being employed in the industry is the use of building data analytics software. The commissioning world has seen a significant rise in the use of analytics to provide critical information to the building owner and commissioning agents during functional testing as well as ongoing and retro-commissioning applications. I was first introduced to the technology in 2011 and I was impressed, but I didn’t expect it to change the market this much or this quickly. Now building data analytics is in high demand, and I am working with it at Paladino.
Advances like these can truly move the green building and energy efficiency movement forward and provide better insight into the inefficiencies and nuances in operations that lead to significant environmental and financial savings.
What role does sustainability play in your life outside of work? What does it mean to you?
I try to apply the same dedication to sustainability at home as I do at work. Although on a smaller scale, many of the recommendations we provide to building owners can easily be applied at home. We installed programmable thermostats, we replace outdated appliances with new energy efficient options as needed, and we reduce our waste by reusing and recycling as much as possible. During the spring and summer we purchase from our local farmers market, and when the squirrels and deer cooperate, we enjoy growing a few essentials ourselves. I even performed a couple of simple energy audits on our house.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I love relaxing at home or going on adventures with my wife, our daughters (3 ½ and 4 weeks old), and our dog. I like fixing things around the house, and enjoy planning, researching, and making spreadsheets to manage house projects. In the fall we love cheering on our beloved Nittany Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers!
What are you most proud of?
My family and the life that my wife and I have worked so hard to create for our daughters.
What is something interesting about yourself that few people know?
During the fall of 2002 I had the opportunity to study at the University of Leeds in Leeds, England. Although the official purpose of the trip was to continue my education while learning English architectural history and a few engineering courses, our main focus turned out to be traveling throughout Europe and trying to determine which pubs in town offered the best fish and chips! Over those four months I visited 14 countries, experienced countless adventures, and built lifelong friendships.