We are excited to announce that Jake Mello has joined Paladino as commissioning engineer in the DC region. We’re proud to have him on our team, and we want to give our clients, colleagues, and peers the opportunity to get to know Jake better through a Q&A.
Jake, tell us about your background and the path that led you to Paladino.
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2006 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, a minor in Materials Science, and no real idea of a direction for my career. I spent several years doing patent research for independent firms while taking architecture classes at a community college and pursuing my LEED AP credential. I found inspiration in the technology used to build modern, energy efficient buildings. I leveraged that inspiration to accept a position in renewable energy and energy efficiency consulting with a Federal government contractor; then a stint as an energy modeler and commissioning agent. I’ve found commissioning combines all the most interesting aspects of my previous experience, and I’m excited to contribute in a concrete way to Paladino’s meaningful work.
Where do you find inspiration in your work?
I enjoy watching the progress as development and redevelopment works its way through our built environment, and observing the changes development creates in our community. I’ve watched Washington, D.C. change dramatically over the last dozen years: key projects bring in new growth and create a new sense of space, revising our human interactions by incorporating more thoughtful design.
What direction do you think green building is headed? Where do you see the industry in ten years?
I think that green building will be brought into the mainstream by building codes, and higher performing, more comfortable spaces will become the expectation, rather than a novel feature. The tools that we use to measure sustainability will continue to grow as data management solutions evolve. Ten years from now, in a high-growth environment like Washington D.C. and other major cities around the world, we’ll see a shift in focus toward existing buildings and performing refits, with an eye toward resiliency as well as energy efficiency and sustainability.
What role does sustainability play in your life outside of work? What does it mean to you?
I love riding my bike to work and do so whenever possible. I’m working through the logistics of biking to a convenient Metro station for a multi-modal commute, and for site visits around the city when I’m able. I look forward to a new route on national Bike to Work day, although 22 miles each way would be a big challenge for everyday commuting. I try to be a lightweight consumer and reduce my waste stream – I look for low volume packaging, and I recycle, compost, and re-use where I can. We’ve had solar panels on our house since 2011 and have averaged near net zero utility power since.
What is one positive impact you feel sustainability will support most in the world?
I believe that innovations focused around sustainability and the saturation of green principals into the built environment have the potential to impact social justice causes through improved housing quality and affordability. Renewable energy and sensible grid infrastructure have the potential to make power clean, reliable, local, and low-cost.
What do you do in your leisure time?
I like to ride my bike or explore with my family – there’s always an organized ride or something interesting happening in D.C. Visiting the family farm or grandparents and great-grands is often the highlight of our weekends. We try to go on a little road trip about 4 times a year.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Family and friends, the super-secret daycare one block from our house, and our wonderful sense of community keep us grounded and stable. Everything else is optional.
What are you most proud of?
My two little boys, Eric and Luke. They’re so advanced! Seeing them learning about the world around them is the highlight of every day.
What is one thing that you wish more people knew about you?
I like to tinker and build things. I have DIY renovated most of my house, and I like to blacksmith on the rare occasions that I get a free moment.