Q+A with Ali Kassem, Senior Mechanical Engineer (Dearborn)
How do you describe the importance of sustainable design to those outside of the industry?
I would try my best to simplify it and win their hearts and minds to raise awareness by showing the impact of sustainable design on the triple bottom line (social, environmental, and economic). I would emphasize on the fact that sustainable design does not have to come at a premium cost by explaining the cash flow and how a climate friendly design makes more financial sense over the period of ownership.
As an engineer, what is your “Why” for reaching carbon neutrality on Ghafari projects?
Ghafari is a pioneer AE firm. Ghafari applies the latest technology and trends in the industry to its projects. It is very intuitive for Ghafari to rise for the challenge and to put its expertise and human resources to the best benefit for its clients and to a better sustainable future for future generations.
Why did you decide to become a LEED Green Associate?
LEED is a very prestigious rating system. Similarly, to getting a university degree or PMP certification, becoming a LEED AP or GA is confirming to your clients that you have the right skill set and knowledge to achieve their sustainable design vision, and that you can add value as a team member and help them with the decision-making process regarding the choice of systems, materials, etc.
What sustainable materials / technologies have you applied on Ghafari projects?
I try to show my clients the importance of recovering energy, reducing water, and replacing the gas heating with less carbon footprint solutions. I introduce to our clients the enthalpy wheels, low flow plumbing fixtures, and stressing on the heat pump and electric reheat as source of heating to replace the gas heating.
How would you describe Ghafari’s culture of sustainability?
The culture is growing and spreading fast. The executive management is aware of the challenge and the importance of integrating it into the company core values and daily operations. The company is aligning its actions with the vision, creating the sustainability taskforce is one of many steps.
How are you supporting Ghafari’s sustainability action plan as an AIA 2030 Commitment signatory firm?
By being part of the sustainability taskforce and leveraging my experience and knowledge to add value and create synergy.
What role does sustainability play in your life outside of work?
I would say a big role. I always show my five-year-old daughter the importance of taking care of our climate and earth through leading by example. Small things add up, we close the water faucet while brushing our teeth together, we take our recycled grocery bags when we go shopping, we always come up with craft activities to reuse household items and toys, and so on.