Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Tuesday night, April 22nd, the USGBC MA hosted the 2014 Earth Day Gala & Green Building Awards at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Thank you again to Paul Gusmini of the Fed for contributing the venue. It was a great night had by all.

Congratulations to the winners of the Green Building Awards:

  • Green Building of the Year: One Beacon Street by CBRE-NE 
  • Green Innovation: Waltham Watch Factory rainwater management by Richard Burck Associates 

The team at CBRE-NE won Green Building of the Year (affectionately known as GBOTY) for their project at One Beacon Street in Boston. The judges thought this was a great example of something we should see more of. They thought it was commendable to set out to do LEED for Existing Buildings on a 1970s building and achieve LEED Platinum. They were impressed with the LEED recertification in 2013.

Philip Laird of ARC / Architectural Resources Cambridge was on hand to receive their Special Recognition for the Colby College Cogeneration Plant project - which they originally entered as a GBOTY project - but which really was impressive as a Green Innovation. The judges were very impressed with the project’s innovative use of biomass as an efficient fuel source. Colby College is the fourth college nationwide to achieve carbon neutrality, and the biomass plant is helping to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 70%. Nice!

Here's presenter Tracey Beckstrom with Green Innovation Special Recognition award winners from BH+A, Ben Wilson and Adrienne Cali, for their entry: Factory 63 in Boston. The judges were very impressed with the level of energy performance in an historic building. They appreciated the densities the project achieved and how the smaller-sized “Innovation units”, which traded personal space for shared occupant spaces, helped to control energy use.  

Skip Burck from Richard Burck Associates picked up their award for Green Innovation. Their project was to manage rainwater at the Waltham Watch Factory. They have taken something as prosaic as roof drainage and reintegrated it into the site in a manner that is absolutely prevalent. The design is a perfect combination of innovation and experience.

Congratulations again to all the winners - nice work! And to the many good folks who entered their projects into the 2014 Green Building Awards Contest. Thank you for your work to advance the mission of green buildings for all within a generation. 

The evening was a great gathering of green building professionals and their guests, who no doubt are at least green building aficionados. We had a great cocktail reception on the roof deck of the Federal Reserve, and then went in for dinner and speeches. We had posters of the many entries to the Green Building Awards in a gallery sponsored by RS Means / Reed Construction Data. 

The weather was just perfect - 68F and a light breeze. It was just fun to be up on that roof deck with the great views of the Fort Point Channel.

A lot of wonderful people came out - many familiar faces and it was great to reconnect with so many. Below, on the right, we have Mark Stafford, representing the event's Platinum Sponsor, National Grid.

Thank you to John Picard (not pictured) for taking all these photos of the friendly attendees!

Then, inside, we had a great dinner.

No one minds a major-funder group selfie, right?

But let's recall why we were here for a moment - the Green Building Awards. Really good stuff all around!

 Nice work, Gold Event Sponsors, AHA Consulting Engineers!

And at the end of the evening, there were still a few Chapter stalwarts hanging out - just couldn't say goodnight. Thanks for always being ready to support this community. You guys rock!
The Late Show with John, Mark, Phoebe, Caitriona, Jim, Emily, Jenn and Suzanne!


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Advocacy Committee Reborn

On Monday, April 14th, the USGBC MA Chapter convened a reinvigorated Advocacy Committee. Ben Myers of Boston Properties hosted the small but dedicated group, which included a couple of dial-in conferees.

You! are welcome to join us in this effort towards green building and sustainability advocacy.

This committee now consists of Norm Lamonde of Turner Construction, Mihir Parikh of A Better City, John Dimodica of Noresco, and Ben Myers. Grey Lee is an ex-oficio member.

The Chapter is already engaged on a number of important advocacy campaigns, including:

  • Updating the MA Building Code - Stretch Code
  • Building Energy Reporting & Disclosure Ordinance - BERDO in Boston
  • LEED for Schools
  • LEED for Federal, State and Municipal portfolios
  • Greening the Multiple Listing Service(s)
Most of these campaigns align with what USGBC is working on at the national level. However, Massachusetts has the privilege of a very sympathetic political arena. We must make advances on our advocacy efforts while the climate is still receptive - as we know, with any election, anything could happen. We certainly hope not to find ourselves in a situation like Mississippi, Ohio or even Maine - where state politicians are openly opposed to green buildings. Some have outlawed the use of LEED, for instance, as the case is in Maine, for state-owned buildings.

We also are forming campaigns around:
  • Property-Assessed Clean Energy + Resiliency (PACE+R)
  • Climate Action Plan Update for Boston
  • Net Zero Task Force in Cambridge
You can find information about these campaigns (some yet forthcoming) at our Advocacy webpage.

The group explored how we have selected and to what level can we endorse a campaign. Norm Lamonde has held the torch and provided structure to our efforts by creating an advocacy issue template. We discussed how advocacy and education overlap considerably and looked at how to coordinate our calls to action - some more acute around legislation, some more about sharing knowledge. We also are establishing a system so multiple issues could be introduced, be graded in importance, and added to our mix of active, passive, and related advocacy issues.

Please contact us if you would be willing to help out with our Advocacy efforts -

Thank you!

PS: Also, our meeting gave us a chance to experience the Boston Properties Headquarters in the Prudential Tower.

Far in the distance, one can actually see the airport past the seaport…not quite in this picture, sorry to say.

But here you can make out Spectacle Island with its signature "pile of Big Dig dirt" at its northern tip (on the left in the picture).

One of the great things about Boston Properties (a Gold Chapter Sponsor) is their total commitment to excellence in real estate development. This means active participation in the LEED system and nothing says "We're in" like a pile of LEED plaques awaiting installation in someone's office. Nice work Boston Properties!

Here's a sneak peek at a big upcoming project for Boston Properties - at - yes, that is North Station, people. Get ready for awesome LEED certified high-rises!

Thank you Ben Myers for hosting the Advocacy Committee meeting at Boston Properties. We have a lot of work to do, but with committed and dedicated folks on the team, we will continue to make more green buildings in Massachusetts!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Green Building Awards are here!

With a little over two weeks until the Earth Day Gala, we are well on our way to a successful Green Building Awards contest for 2014. We do hope to see you there!

Brian Swett, Chief of Energy & Environment for the City of Boston will offer a few remarks on how Boston and Massachusetts demonstrate leadership for green innovation in our industry.

This is an opportunity for you to revel with your peers over a great meal, open bar, at the roof deck of the Federal Reserve in downtown Boston. The LEED EBOM Gold Fed Building, that is!

Mark Richey Woodworking has just delivered the awards for this year and they are beautiful, as always:

Now the big question is: who will win? We have a lot of contenders from all around the State, representing many types of buildings and excellent innovations for our green building industry.

You can read more about the Green Building of the Year entries here. Recent past year winners are also listed on our website.

You can read more about the Earth Day Gala on April 22nd here. Tickets are available on that link to our flyer or directly at our event registration page here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Foam-Free High Performance Building Enclosures

[Article and photos by Adam Prince]

On Tuesday, April 1st, Oliver Klein from 475 Building High Performance Building Supply ( presented on Foam Free High Performance Building Enclosures. Approximately 25 architects, builders, product vendors, and other professionals attended the presentation, which was co-hosted by the USGBC Cape & Islands Interest Group ( and the BSA Cape & Islands Architects Network (

Oliver, an architect and Certified Passive House Consultant, noted that the requirements and characteristics for high performance enclosures are evolving, with greater emphasis on air tightness, active vapor control, resilience and sustainability. He put forward the argument that foam is a less effective approach than what can be achieved without it.  He discussed optimizing building enclosures using membranes, wraps, tapes in combination with off-the-shelf building materials such as cellulose to help provide airtightness, vapor control, ventilation, and strategies for super-insulation.

The crowd greatly appreciated the thoughtful presentation on efficient, resilient, comfortable and healthy buildings, while also benefiting from continuing education units (CEUs) for both the architects and builders. Shepley Wood Products ( generously donated use of the presentation space. 475 Building High Performance Building Supply provided both content and food/drinks!

USGBC Cape & Islands Interest Group finished the evening by announcing that the event in May would be a tour of a brand new mixed use building in the process of LEED-NC certification, plus a short update presentation on the status of a previously toured house targeting LEED for Homes certification. More details on the May event to come!