Monday, September 29, 2014

Member Spotlight: Shawn Hesse

Our latest member profile is of a transplant from Ohio who brings some expertise in Architecture and Sustainability. He's also a part of our Membership Committee. Meet Shawn Hesse!

USGBCMA: What is your current job and how does it differ from past jobs in Sustainability?

SH: I am an architect and sustainability consultant. I lead the Boston office of emersionDESIGN. At previous jobs I was one of the few individuals interested in sustainability. However at emersionDESIGN, I am surrounded by people that share my passion and interest in making our work more sustainable. There we constantly raise the bar for one another.

USGBCMA: When did you first become interested in Sustainability?

SH: My interest in sustainability is rooted in spending the entire summer outside while growing up, playing in the nearby woods, creeks and lakes in and around Cincinnati. But my understanding that I have a role and responsibility to improve sustainability of our communities as an architect was developed at architecture school.

USGBCMA: Why are you a member of the MA chapter and how did you get there?

SH: I have been involved with the USGBC for almost 10 years now in Cincinnati, serving on the chapter board in several roles including board president. I have also served on the USGBC Regional Committee representing Ohio and the Heartland Region and also at the national level. I just recently moved to the Boston area and have begun to get involved here on the Membership Committee and also as a the facilitator for the Living Building Challenge Boston Collaborative.

USGBCMA: How are you an environmental steward?

SH: I have worked hard to turn my day job as an architect into my passion of making a sustainable future a reality. I am also in the process of planning my wedding next June. My fiancee and I are writing the "Living Wedding Challenge"- zero waste, carbon offset, public transit to the event, local food, etc.

USGBCMA: How do you help raise environmental awareness?

SH: I do a lot of public speaking about sustainability.

USGBCMA: If I needed to fin you on a Saturday afternoon, where would it be?

SH: On any given Saturday, I could be out hiking, camping, at a beer tasting, escaping zombies or just at home restoring my 1960s radio.

Monday, September 15, 2014

$5600 in Green Apple Day of Service Mini-Grants Awarded

Green Schools Update 
$5600 in Green Apple Day of Service Mini-Grants Awarded

Thanks to the generous support from a number of sponsors we have awarded a total of 14  mini-grants of $400 each to schools in support of Green Apple Day of Service projects. National Grid and NSTAR funded a total of 12 projects focused on energy conservation (National Grid split their grants between MA and RI) - and Arrowstreet, Capitol Waste Services, Re-Stream, and Triumph Modular provided support for five more projects. 

Congratulations to our awardees!

NSTAR - NGRID Energy Focused Project Awardees

Alighieri Montessori School
East Boston
Manning Elementary School
Jamaica Plain
Boston Green Academy
Boston Latin School
Clark University
Dallin School
Manchester Essex Regional Middle High School
McKinley Middle School
Medford High School

General Project Awardees

Brooke Charter School
Curley K-8 School
Jamaica Plain
Lillian Jacobs Elementary School
Quincy High School
Wentworth Institute of Technology

We also thank Excel Dryer for their in-kind donation of four XL-SI Green Apple dryers to Brighton High School. 

It's not too late to get involved with Green Apple Day of Service. Projects can still be coordinated and registered at If you're looking to volunteer with a project see the  current MA registered projects for service days in your community.

We especially encourage Chapter Volunteers to attend the projects that received funding support from our sponsors.

Thank you to our generous Green Apple Day of Service Mini Grant sponsors and their support of healthy, sustainable schools.

Granny Smith


Honey Crisp



Friday, September 12, 2014

The Weekly Bulletin to 9/12/14

Are you going to volunteer with us? That's right - we have a great opportunity in two weeks (most of the projects are on Saturday, Sept. 27th) with our Green Apple Day of Service! You can participate in a project at a school or other learning facility near you. Sign up by looking up a project on the map at the Center for Green Schools, our USGBC-affiliated partner organization for projects throughout the WORLD!

Upcoming Events:
9/25 - Hostelling Int'l Green Building Tour with the EPMA in Boston
9/30 - LEED Project Showcase in Cambridge
10/2 - Bring the Outside In with Gunnar Hubbard and Dan Nall in Boston
LEED Study Groups are forming - stay tuned
10/30 - Halloween LEED Credit Costume Party with the EPMA in Boston

Also we have a Green Schools Committee Meeting on Thursday 9/18 at 6pm at our main office on Milk St.

Speaking of green schools and academic communities - I recently met up with three wonderful people who are working hard on improving educational outcomes for sustainability and organizational change. Pictured below are Leith Sharp, leading the Harvard/USGBC "Core Business Integration of Sustainability (CBIS)" executive education program, Christine Renauld, founder and CEO of E-180 "Brain Dates for Learning Humans" (a platform for peer-to-peer informal learning exchanges), and Margo Street, manager of community advancement at USGBC, with whom I'm in constant correspondence at the national office. It was a great conversation which I'm sure will go forward into programming at the Massachusetts Chapter.

And surely you are already thinking about it: Tuesday the 30th of September: The LEED Project Showcase! Reach out to your colleagues now! We want their certified projects to be in our show. This is a major fundraiser for the Chapter and it's going to be an excellent time for all. If you know someone who is "on the fence" and interested in sponsoring - put them in touch with Grey. Thank you to the many existing sponsors so far:
  • National Grid - Platinum
  • NStar / Northeast Utilities - Platinum
  • Suffolk Construction - Gold
  • Boston Properties - Silver
  • Richard Moore - Silver
  • ICF International - Bronze
  • Urbanica - Bronze
  • Chapman Construction
  • Columbia Construction - Bronze
  • and over two dozen other project sponsors...
See you there!

Below is a set of notes taken during the recent Combined Committees Quarterly Gathering - a great and engaging evening of about 35 chapter volunteers. After an overview and introductions, we broke into two groups to explore Membership & Engagement and also Leadership and Learning Communities. It was a very dynamic gathering of truly committed and inspiring fellow green building advocates. I look forward the continuing conversation!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Green Buildings Set the New Standard

by Jessica Roche, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council

Cambridge has joined Boston in enacting a building energy disclosure ordinance, under which owners of buildings more than 50,000 square feet will be required to report their energy use beginning in May 2015. 

Life sciences spaces have higher necessary energy use than typical residential or office buildings, as they must accommodate complex air ventilation and water flow systems, as well as meet stringent safety requirements. But lab developers and users have long worked
toward greater energy efficiency, and impressive developments in lab design and operations have made new lab spaces in Massachusetts showcase projects for replication throughout the world. 

The Center for Life Science (above), an 18-floor research building in Boston, utilizes energy sub-metering that allows users to closely monitor use. It was no small effort; it required substantial investment in new systems, consensus protocols among users, and intensive data mapping. 

“With more transparency and accountability, tenants are dialing down on their equipment usage,” said Peter Damiano, Sr. Facility Manager of BioMed Realty Trust, the company that owns the Center for Life Science. The system has changed operating conventions,
reduced energy consumption, and become a roadmap for BioMed in improving efficiencies within its global building portfolio.

At MIT’s Koch Institute building in Cambridge, completed in 2011, cutting-edge efficiency design was at the forefront. The building is oriented east to west to maximize heat and light from the sun. Light-shelves bounce sunlight to the ceiling, bringing ambient light deep into the building to reduce dependence on electric lighting. Its ventilation system uses a “cascading design” by which office cooling air is reused in lab hoods, air flow rates are at a reduced 80 feet per minute, and labs are aligned to reduce duct work. Electrical systems were “right-sized,” not overbuilt. 

The results are striking. Anticipated 14.6 watts per square foot usage are at 3.8 watts instead. Steam heat that was projected at 35,000 pounds per hour for the coldest days is at 20,000 pounds. The building reduces total energy use by more than 30 percent as
compared to a standard laboratory facility. Walt Henry, MIT’s Director of Engineering at the time, explained in an MIT News article, “To get a building that performs well requires only that you make intelligent choices.”

Intelligent choices like those made by Biogen Idec, which has already surpassed its goal of reducing its overall environmental footprint by 15 percent by 2015 even as it adds in facility square footage. Biogen Idec’s greenhouse gas intensity goal is to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 80 percent by 2020. Its two new Cambridge buildings achieved LEED Gold and Platinum certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council. Biogen Idec’s
campus is powered by its cogeneration plant, which produces 75 percent of the campus’ electricity and 100 percent of its steam. Cogeneration has helped lower emissions by more than 150,000 metric tons of CO2e on the campus since 2006. 

These examples of recent lab developments provide models in energy efficiency that set the standard and point the way for energy sustainability.

[This article originally appeared in the summer edition of MassBio News]