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!

The Massachusetts School Building Authority Requires Funded Projects to Register Under LEED for Schools v4

Last month, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Board of Directors approved an update to their Sustainable Building Design Guidelines that will require projects beginning June 5, 2014 entering schematic design to register under LEED for Schools v4

You can read the full memorandum here - that outlines the MSBA's current practices, discussion, outcome, and recommendations. Massachusetts is fortunate to have a funding entity that requires all new school construction to select a green building certification and provides a financial incentive to exceed the required, basic green building certification level. 

Stay tuned for more information on this update. We are working on programs to educate our network on the v4 LEED for Schools rating system and to highlight LEED for Schools projects across the State.