Career Stories: Padraic O’Connell
Project Manager, Footprint
Designing for a more efficient Winnipeg
From an early age, Padraic was inclined toward two central interests: architecture and the environment. Particularly enamored with the performance of building envelopes and energy efficiency, he found sustainable design to be a natural marriage of these two passions.
Hailing from Ireland, Padraic completed his Master’s of Environmental Design while living in Winnipeg, ultimately selecting the city as the place where he wanted to build his career. Now, as a Project Manager for the national sustainability consulting practice Footprint, Padraic guides buildings in his community through the certification process for green building rating systems, verifying predicted efficiencies through energy modelling.
Padraic’s projects require dedication from beginning to end, often stretching on for months or even years. Seeing the built environment evolve from designs sketched on a piece of paper, to a fully formed building with the green certification plaque hanging on the finished walls – this process is what truly motivates Padraic.
“In the end, when I’m notified of a successful green building certification and see the delight from the [building] owner and team – that’s very rewarding and worthwhile, knowing how much effort everyone put in.”
Whether it’s a hospital, school, or office, Padraic and the entire Footprint team have helped integrate energy efficiency and sustainability into Winnipeg’s skyline. Sustainable design not only saves operational costs for building owners, but also improves the quality of their life for building occupants. Breathing cleaner air, enjoying more natural light, experiencing increased comfort – these seemingly invisible differences make a significant impact on how people work, live, and play. “The general public wouldn’t typically notice the role we play,” explains Padraic. “But it’s always great to see our efforts make a significant impact.”
Over the last few years, Padraic has noticed a shift in his community towards energy efficiency; there is more dialogue, more familiarity, and (slowly) more appreciation for the lasting impact of these efficiencies. “In my work, I have to take the long-view: what can we invest in now from a design perspective to create savings down the road? Seeing that mindset starting to take hold as a broader trend – that’s hopeful.”