Thursday, December 27, 2012

Member Profile: Carolyn Day

Key Details:
Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Sustainable Design Specialist at SMMA 
Market sector: Architecture and Design

Contact information:
Phone: 617.520.9416
Twitter: @PracticeEcology
Personal Blog:

During this busy holiday season Carolyn Day, who serves on the membership committee, took some time to share who she is and why she's is a part of the Massachusetts Chapter of the USGBC.

When did you first become interested in sustainability?
That's difficult to say. I think I've always cared. As a kid I remember being taken in by the LitterBug campaign. Does that count? In all seriousness, its been a part of my phylosophy as a designer from the start. I became an architect to make the built environment a better place, and to me sustainable design is a huge part of that.

How are you an environmental steward?
In my position at work I ensure that project teams make the most sustainable choices for our projects. Much of my time is spent educating and encouraging the other architects and engineers in the office. In my personal life I've been using reusable bags since before anyone else in my neighborhood, confusing some baggers, and I choose to live in multi-family housing in a dense urban area. I gave up my car over a year ago and don't miss it - especially since I've always used public transportation to get to work, even when I lived in Worcester.

Why are you a member of the chapter?
It energizes me to be around others who have the same passions that I do. Just being a part makes me better able to do the work required to make our buildings more environmentally sound. It also is a huge lift to attend a gathering when I've been pushed into pessimism and cynisism by the world at large.

If I wanted to find you on a Saturday afternoon, where would you be?
If I'm not at the MFA or cooking, I can usually be found with friends playing board games like Cosmic Encounter or Pandemic. In the summer, you might even find me at a drum corps show.

We are looking to highlight our diverse and talented members. If you would like to be a future member profie, use the Contact Us form.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Appreciating Members!

We had a great event on Tuesday night. The photos are forthcoming (thanks Carlos!!!)

And the winners of our various Member Awards were:

Most Likely to Send an Email at 3AM - Carrie Havey

Most Likely to Take Recycling Home from the Office - Dee Spiro

Most Likely to Be Completely Off the Grid in a Year - Laura Fitch

Advocate of the Year - Kathleen Arthur

Educator of the Year - Chris Schaffner

Mentor of the Year - Jim Newman

EPMA Rising Star – Laurel Kruke and Javier Burgos

AND, we had a special mention to our awesome previous Chapter Operations Manager, Suzanne Abbott, now at Vidaris. She showed up in style and managed to score the biggest contribution of the night - a $1000 sponsorship from Jack Mackin at Sterrit Lumber - Thanks you Suzanne, and thank you Jack!

It really was a great time had by all. Many of the old familiar faces, but also a whole slew of new folks. Thanks to all of those who signed up to become members due to the event. We are ambitiously kicking off a membership drive in the new year, so it's nice to see that our messaging and outreach is already starting to pay off. Thanks, once again, to all the members for joining the Chapter.

Thanks must also go to Rachel Zsembery and her team on the Special Events committee - Dee, Katya, Keith, Krista, Suzanne and Carlos. You all know how to make it happen, with style. Thanks again for all your hard work.

The night also meant the community had a chance to give back - our philanthropic beneficiaries this year have been the Jowney Elementary School in Brockton - combined, we brought in $667 for the kids for school supplies. We have partnered with the school as they have been working on greening the facility and engaging the students very well, and we want to continue to support their efforts.

Thanks again, everyone, I'm proud of this Green Building Community.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

LEEDv4 - Better and Smaller!

Last night we hosted a great program on the intricacies and details of LEEDv4 - the latest version of LEED which will be operational in June 2013 (we expect). Currently, the process to approve the new version is still open to comments (until 12/10/12) from any relevant party - such as any member of the MA Green Building Council or LEED professional in general. Here's a link to more info, and the slides from the presentation, on our site:

Chris Schaffner, from The Green Engineer (really, he is The Green Engineer), came and presented. Chris is a former board member of the Chapter and a LEED Fellow - one of a few dozen in the country recognized as outstanding leaders in our industry. He is also on the Technical Advisory Group for the new version of LEED and knows a lot of the ins and outs, having worked on streamlining the credits on this new version.

We went through a great slideshow describing how the various credits in each subsection of LEED have morphed into the new line-up. Some have disappeared, others are brand new. He described how the USGBC is trying to balance market adoption (make the system easy) with environmental impact (really make a difference for the planet), and how this version is a little more aggressive on sustainability.

The market has taken up LEED and now we can use it to drive real change in environmental impact. Of course, the entire industries that have grown up around LEED are a little bent out of shape with the change of the status quo - and resistance is significant. There are also the complicated logistics of getting the whole system finished in the next six months! That's going to be tricky, eh!

Chris asked us to please submit comments - especially if you think any of the new changes are good - so that the USGBC has the valuable feedback it needs to continue the evolution of LEED so that it can be the best tool we have to change the real estate industry. Here's a link to USGBC's comment site:

It was a great evening with about 30 chapter members in the audience. A few mentioned to me that they are interested in getting more involved! That is great!
[Above: Grey Lee, Andrea Love, Chris Schaffner, & Bob Kohn]
Kudos to Bob Kohn, Chair of the Education Committee, for organizing the program, and to Andrea Love (on our board) for providing the space and facility logistics at Payette (290 Congress St - a LEED Platinum Building!) Thanks to Chris Schaffner for providing his expertise and facilitation skill. I am sure we can look forward to more valuable programs in the future. Thanks again, everyone!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Member Profile: Jennifer Taranto

Key Details:
Certified LEED AP ID+C, BD+C
Director of Sustainability at StructureTone, Inc. 

Market sector: Construction or Trades

Contact information:
Phone: 617.348.2800
Twitter: @BeantownGurl
We recently sat down with Jenn Taranto, board member and founding chapter member, to discover who she is and why she's is a part of the Massachusetts Chapter of the USGBC.

When did you first become interested in sustainability?
I remember charging my parents money for not turning off the lights from a very young age . We kept a jar in the house that everyone had to put a quarter into if they forgot. When I went off to college I thought I wanted to be an environmental engineer, but it turned out chemistry wasn't my thing, instead I turned to the familiar - my father was always involved in home improvements and built furniture on the side. At the same time I was reading about USGBC and what they were doing so going into construction engineering seemed like a natural fit.  

How are you an environmental steward? 
In my personal life, we are a small footprint family. We don't own a car and live in a condo in a dense urban environment. We try to eat organically as much as possible and, while we aren't vegetarians, we don't eat meat Monday through Friday.   Professionally I strive to constantly improve our construction waste management process, especially with all the interior fit-ups Structure Tone does. We will have thousands of yards of carpet and hundreds of wood doors when we go into demolition. I look to repurpose as much as possible at other locations even before considering the recycling options. 

Why are you a member of the chapter? For me, being a member of the chapter is a great meld of professional and personal environmental stewardship. Not only does it give me the chance to be with like-minded people, but it provides me with volunteer opportunities to make change, both locally or at the state level. It's important to me to be able to give back to the community and work to environmentally improve our state.

 If I wanted to find you on a Saturday afternoon, where would you be? During football season I can be found with my fellow North Carolina State University alumni watching the game at the local bar. Go Wolfpack!

 We are looking to highlight our diverse and talented members. If you would like to be a future member profie, use the Contact Us form. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In San Francisco for Greenbuild 2012

Many of us are here for Chapter Day, and several will be arriving over the course of the next few hours. Everyone is getting pumped up. Be sure to keep in touch over Twitter using hashtag #usgbcma with #greenbuild so we can share with each other and those back home.

Not sure what sessions to go to? Check out our post from last week showcasing MA members giving presentations. Go and support them.

See you at the convention!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Are you going to be around for ABX2012?

Next week is Boston's annual construction industry conference, ArchitectureBoston Expo (formerly BuildBoston) and it seems like there are going to be a whole slew of us USGBCMAers there. Even if you weren't planning on attending the full conference, there will be events of special interest to us. Question is, what are they and how do we find each other?

On Wednesday night in nearby Downtown Crossing is the Fall 2012 collaborative Young Professional Networking Event, which the EPMA are sponsors of. Go to for all the details.

On Thursday night there are two special events. One is Meet Massachusetts from 6pm-10pm, which the Chapter is a sponsor of. Even if you aren't going to the conference, you can still attend by calling 508.743.5864 and requesting to register for the Meet Massachusetts event for only $10. You can also get a free pass to the exhibit hall if you ask nicely! The other event, unfortunately at the same time (but we know you like to hop between parties), is the MA CHPS 10th Anniversary Celebration. Many of your colleagues will be honored for their efforts to make Massachusetts Public Schools the greenest they can be. Congratulate them enthusiastically.

During the conference we have several members presenting. If you still aren't sure what sessions to attend, see our post yesterday highlighting those people and the sessions they are running. Be sure to go up afterwards to introduce yourself as a fellow member.

Lastly, use the power of social media! If you have a Twitter account, use the hash tag #usgbcma to tell us what you are up to and follow your fellow member attendees. Look for (and instigate) impromptu meetups!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Members Presenting at November 2012 Conferences

Every year, the ArchitectureBoston Expo/ABX (formerly Build Boston) and Greenbuild are held in November. Every other year, they unfortunately happen on the same week. This is one of those years. Luckily, we can celebrate USGBC MA Members presenting at both!

ArchitectureBoston Expo
Ben Davveny
Andrea Love
Michael Schofield
Carolyn Sarno

Meredith Elbaum
Chris Schaffner
Norris Strawbridge

Congratulations and break a leg, folks. Details after the jump.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Welcome to the USGBC Massachusetts blog. Watch this space for member profiles, information about chapter activites, and ways to be involved in the chapter. We will also showcase what members are doing outside of the chapter.

If you are a member and would like to be profiled or to contribute in any way, please use the contact us page.

Thank you-
The Membership Committee