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Suffolk Construction establishes Suffolk Sustainability Group

Suffolk Construction establishes Suffolk Sustainability Group

Steven Burke and Michael Swenson will lead the new initiative for Suffolk.


By SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION | December 14, 2023
Suffolk’s recently completed Winthrop Center, the largest Passive House office building in the world, achieving energy efficiency through an airtight envelope separating the building’s exterior and interior. Photo: Bruce T Martin Boston Architectural and Fine Art Photographer
Suffolk’s recently completed Winthrop Center, the largest Passive House office building in the world, achieving energy efficiency through an airtight envelope separating the building’s exterior and interior. Photo: Bruce T Martin Boston Architectural and Fine Art Photographer

Suffolk Construction, headquartered in Boston, has established the Suffolk Sustainability Group. Steven Burke, Senior Director of Sustainability, and Michael Swenson, Director of Sustainability for Suffolk Design, will head the new operation.

 

The Sustainability Group will strengthen Suffolk’s in-house expertise and ability to design and execute a wider range of green building solutions. The group will focus on:

  • Sustainability strategy and processes

  • The future of sustainable design and integration of sustainable practices on site

  • The impact these initiatives will have on future Suffolk projects

  • Sustainability Group collaboration with on-site teams 

 

Suffolk’s sustainability planning processes, design support and technology will allow Suffolk teams to provide expanded technical services and identify the most cost-effective sustainable solutions.

 

BU CCCD by Suffolk Construction
The LEED Platinum Boston University Center for Computing and Data Sciences, built by Suffolk, is 100% free of fossil fuels. Photo: Tom Arban

 

STEVEN BURKE – 'EXPERT IN LOW-CARBON SOLUTIONS'

 

Steven Burke, LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, WELL AP, CHJPC, Senior Director of Sustainability at Suffolk, provides guidance for navigating the vast network of sustainability regulatory requirements and incentives and provides recommendations for cutting-edge sustainable technologies and materials. As an expert in low-carbon solutions for construction operations and material selection, Burke can help curate a list of carbon-optimized options for Suffolk clients on their projects.

 

Steven Burke, Suffolk
Steven Burke, Senior Director of Sustainability at Suffolk. Photo: Courtesy Suffolk

Burke has extensive experience in sustainable design and construction, Net Zero Carbon buildings, embodied carbon, resiliency, Green building rating systems, and corporate sustainability efforts. He has guided the sustainability process on over 30 million square feet of projects across many different building types and sizes, including K-12 schools, higher education facilities, mid-rise and high-rise residential, commercial interiors, retail interiors, and commercial office buildings.

Prior to joining Suffolk, Burke was the Director of Sustainability at Consigli Construction, where he led the ESG strategy and tracked ESG KPIs for the company on a national level. On average, Burke managed about 40 sustainability projects per year worth over $1 billion. He helped co-found the Sustainable Construction Leaders network, a collection of sustainability professionals in construction, and helped in the creation of the Contractor’s Commitment, a roadmap for construction companies to operate more sustainably which has over 20 signatories representing over $30 billion in market revenue after its first pilot year.

Prior to his role at Consigli, Burke was Sustainability Manager at SMMA, where he managed a sustainability team of 12 employees, led R&D, and advocated to advance the sustainability efforts within SMMA and the AEC industry. He also previously served as a Sustainability Coordinator at Bergmeyer Associates.

Burke earned an MS in Sustainability Management from Columbia University. He is a Fitwel Ambassador and LEED and WELL Faculty member.

MICHAEL SWENSON – 'EMPOWERING PROJECT TEAMS'

Mike Swenson, LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, CEM, Director of Sustainability at Suffolk Design, leverages his extensive expertise as a technical subject matter expert to empower project teams in achieving client sustainability goals.

His role encompasses the entire project life cycle. In design, Swenson collaborates closely with design teams to optimize strategies for cost effectiveness to meet operational carbon goals using life cycle costing. In construction, he actively engages with projects teams to minimize embodied carbon through strategic material procurement, streamline commissioning efforts, and facilitates comprehensive sustainability training with trade partners and client operations teams. In post-occupancy, he acts as a vital link between the construction team and the operations team to ensure buildings perform as designed. Swenson also offers specialized services through Suffolk Design including carbon neutral master planning, energy modeling, and building systems commissioning.

Mike Swenson, Suffolk
Michael Swenson, Director of Sustainability at Suffolk Design. Photo: Courtesy Suffolk


Prior to his current role with Suffolk Design, Swenson led interdisciplinary teams working on sustainability and commissioning projects at BR+A Consulting Engineers, including carbon neutral master planning, net zero feasibility, Life Cycle Cost Analysis (LCCA), whole building energy modeling, ASHRAE level energy audits, utility rebate/incentive assistance, energy code consulting, renewable energy evaluation, LEED consulting, and measurement and verification. He also led building systems commissioning projects, including LEED certification, retro- and recommissioning, building system optimization, functional performance testing, troubleshooting, operations and maintenance staff system training.


Prior to his role at BR+A, Swenson led Harvard University Green Building Services, where he acted as a technical subject matter expert to inform University policy and standards related to fossil fuel free operation and healthier material selections. He offered sustainability consulting, building systems commissioning, and LEED administration services on projects across campus. Mike was also an instructor and teaching fellow at Harvard Extension School where he taught students from around the world about key sustainability principles and technical concepts such as building certifications, energy efficiency implementation, and life cycle costing.

Swenson holds a BS in architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology and is a Certified Commissioning Professional and a Certified Energy Auditor.

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