Friday, June 28, 2013

LEED EBOM and NC helping ensure that all parts of state can benefit from green practices and policies

USGBC MA's Executive Director, Grey Lee, is a monthly contributor to the New England Real Estate Journal's Green Building Section. Their latest issue can be accessed here. Read Grey's article below!

LEED EBOM and NC helping ensure that all parts of state can benefit from green practices and policies

There is over 500 million s/f of existing commercial & institutional buildings in Mass. and we have certified about 50 million s/f. during the 15 years since LEED’s first version. There are about 2.8 million housing units in the state and we’ve certified only a few thousand...clearly we have work to do! Our mission is to see everyone work, live, play and study in green buildings within this generation. Thousands of building professionals are part of this work.

Using LEED, owners and occupiers can validate the effort they put into a building’s design and operation. The rating system is a useful tool to ensure all parties have made their best contribution to the achievement of a superior facility. Recently, more standing buildings have been certified using the Existing Building Operation & Maintenance (LEED EBOM) system than newly constructed buildings (LEED NC). EBOM ensures that the massive existing building stock has a pathway to improved performance.

The USGBC created the LEED building rating system to create a defined process that results in buildings that are more valuable and environmentally responsible than conventional peers. The system is managed by a democratic process, welcoming all stakeholders into a voting body that periodically reviews the system. The process has resulted in a strong, broadly-adopted and useful mechanism to evaluate buildings and improve the experience of building users.

The Mass. Chapter of the USGBC promotes the achievement of high-performing green buildings throughout the state. We convene the community of practitioners and stakeholders to advocate for market adoption and legislative support of green buildings, we educate the public about the advantages of green buildings and we provide service to our community to ensure all parts of the state can benefit from these practices and policies.

We will be hosting a LEED celebration in September and are actively seeking projects that have been certified in the past year to showcase LEED achievements and honor the work of the teams that have put these projects together. Please contact us if you have facility that can host 150 people in a recently certified LEED building! We also provide a lot of great networking opportunities: join us for our FREE “Summer Social” on July 16th at the Knoll (LEED Platinum) showroom in Boston. Details are on our website. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cast your Ballot for LEEDV4 by June 30th!

By Jim Newman

Are you a member of the consensus body for LEED Version 4? Have you cast your ballot yet? What am I talking about? Remember, voting ends June 30th.

The process of affirming the next version of the LEED rating systems, known as LEED V4 for each of the current rating systems, is coming to it's conclusion. There have been 6 public comment periods, where USGBC members who joined the Consensus Body (as the group that was empowered to post comments was called) could comment directly on proposed credits and changes. Interested individuals could also post comments on special forums on which were shared with USGBC staff and the volunteer Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) working on the new versions.

Now, the new rating systems are up for a vote; including the specialty systems in each of the following categories:
  • Building Design & Construction,
  • Interior Design & Construction,
  • Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance,
  • Neighborhood Development,  
  • Homes
In order to cast a vote, you need to work for a USGBC member organization, and have opted in to the voting consensus body for this ballot. If you have done this, then you can proceed to vote. Voting ends on June 30th, so NOW is the time.

Several great reviews of the important changes in the new rating systems are available. As usual, has some of the best information, including a review of key changes in BD&C and a review of LEED V4 EB: O+M.  LEEDuser also has a number of good discussions of the big issues in the new credits and language, such as Chemical Industry Attacks LEED.

USGBC also has some great resources for understanding the new rating systems under ballot. There are clearly written summaries of changes between LEED 2009 and LEED V4 rating systems on USGBC's website, webinars explaining each system, and new resource guides coming soon. So there is no reason to wait to learn about V4. 

And remember to vote by June 30th. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Say Goodbye to the Incandescent Lamp - and perhaps the CFL?

by Chris Liston

Say goodbye to the incandescent lamp - and perhaps the CFL? As the federal government continues to phase-out A-type incandescent light bulbs, a price war between Cree Lighting and Philips Lighting has pushed the life-cycle cost of A-type LEDs below the life-cycle cost of A-type CFLs. 

The A-type light bulb is the most common type of lamp uses in Massachusetts homes. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), the 100-watt incandescent was phased-out in 2012, the 75-watt incandescent will be phased out in 2013 and the 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent will be phased out in 2014. Since EISA was announced, LED manufacturers have been scrambling to develop cost-effective alternatives. 

In March 2013, Cree Lighting shattered LED price points with a 9.5-watt A-type LED at a cost just under $15 and Philips responded by lowering the price point of its own A-type LED. As of June 2013 Home Depot locations in Massachusetts are carrying the Cree 9.5-watt LED (60-watt equivalent) for $12.97 and the Philips 12.5-watt LED (60-watt equivalent) for $10.97. Analysts expect these prices to fall below the $10 mark sometime before the end of the year. 

How is a $13 LED less expensive than a $5 CFL? The answer is in the life-cycle cost. Over a 25,000 hour period a 9.5-watt LED will cost approximately $51 in lamp costs and energy costs. Over the same period a 13-watt CFL will cost approximately $61 in lamp costs and energy costs. When Philips and Cree dropped below the $15 price point, LEDs became a better financial investment than CFLs. 

Life-cycle cost analysis remains a difficult sell for budget conscious consumers. When CFLs hit the market in the mid-1990s they retailed for $20-$30 and claimed a $40 savings over the life of the lamp, but by 1999 incandescent lamps still outsold CFLs 25-to-1. In a similar trend, analysts expect LED sales to surpass CFL sales sometime between 2018 and 2020.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Green Schools Update From Steve Muzzy

I've just returned from the Mid-Year Meeting and Green Schools Symposium where I got to meet and learn from sixty other Green Schools peers from across the country. The timing could not have been better as we begin to ramp up our own Green Schools program. Collectively, we are all focused on the 2nd Annual Green Apple Day of Service, with the goal of registering 2500 service projects globally, doubling the number from last year. The MA Chapter Green Schools Committee has been doing outreach and we have a number of big projects in the works - stay tuned for updates and please contact me if you have an idea for a project. 

Another focus of the Symposium was on expanding the Coalition for Green Schools from its current national formation to multiple statewide coalitions. Later this year, the MA Chapter will pilot a Green Schools Coalition and will work closely with the Center for Green Schools to form and facilitate a diverse group of organizations committed to providing every child in America with a green school. 

Finally the Mid-Year Meeting brought together a number of USGBC communities that until now have been operating in isolation of each other. For one day  Green Schools folks, Emerging ProfessionalsUSGBC Student Groups, and the Community Green program were put together and organized by US regions. This provided an opportunity to connect the dots, network, and identify synergies to support each others goals. For MA, some early discussions have shown an opportunity for the Green Schools and Emerging Professional Committees to work together to coordinate more Student Chapters across the state. Thus providing exposure to potential future emerging professionals as well as tying into existing campus sustainability programs that may be able to support such efforts as Green Apple Day of Service.

I am very impressed with USGBC's efforts to support Chapters and build its networks' capacity to advance its mission. The opportunity to connect with other Green Schoolers to share successes, challenges, and resources is invaluable - and will no doubt help the MA Chapter build a comprehensive and successful Green Schools Program.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Innovation in Green Design Showcase

Our friends at the New England Real Estate Journal (NEREJ) have put together a great special edition highlighting various of our the excellent projects that entered our Innovation in Green Design Award contest in April.

Here's the blog entry about the awards ceremony at our Earth Day Gala in April.

Take a look at the great mini-magazine of awesome projects! All super green!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fun Networking at Knoll!

Last night we had the first in our new series of Networking Nights for the USGBC MA Chapter in Boston.

Knoll - furniture provisioner extraordinaire - provided their LEED Platinum showroom space and a full array of beverages and food for our community. It was a great night for making new connections - I came across the EDF, Spaulding Rehab, a neighbor from an office just upstairs from mine, and met a recent arrival who's only been in Boston two weeks but was part of another Chapter in the midwest and is ready to help out with our crew! Thanks!

And major thank you to Knoll, in particular Jamie Stuono, the Showroom Manager, for making everything come together, and to Andrea Coan, Arch. & Design Manager, for organizing the event and presenting about Knoll. It was great to learn about the features of the space and how the points all came together to earn the highest rating from the USGBC. 

I enjoyed speaking with Andrea about Knoll - how it started with a German refugee in 1939 - Hans Knoll - who brought the Bauhaus design approach to furniture, making a great impression in the US. He was part of a community of forward-thinking designers including the Eames and Eliel Saarinen. The firm started with furniture but expanded into interior design and now full office systems. They innovated in the business by not having designers in-house but rather contracting with the "creatives" to always have new ideas coming from outside the organization. 

She highlighted a favorite piece of hers: a table in the "antennae" product line. The design team had previously worked on subway systems - trains, gate-access systems (I would call them turnstiles but I know that's not really what they are anymore), but who Knoll pursued to work on a line of furniture. The table is classy and clean, but does not look anything like a subway train!

Below is our Green Schools Program Manager, Steve Muzzy, using his hands to explain how wonderful the Green Apple Day of Service is going to be, this September, and how everyone could get involved.

Thanks Knoll and everyone for coming out last night! We look forward to the next time - which will be our "Summer Social" on July 16th, again a Tuesday night at Knoll. 

See you there! More Green Buildings!

-Grey Lee

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Platinum Tour of the UTEC in Lowell

In June 12th, the Emerging Professionals (EPMA) hosted a green building tour and networking night in Lowell.

United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) was the venue and provided a great opportunity to see a LEED Platinum facility. It is actually the oldest building to go through to LEED Platinum.

[more commentary is coming, but here are some pictures:]

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Fraunhofer hosted the Climate, Mind & Behavior Program June gathering of the Garrison Institute's Boston Hub. We had about 25 people come out to their new facility at 5 Channel Center Street in the Innovation District. Fraunhofer performs a lot of research on buildings and building systems.

Kurt Roth, Fraunhofer's Director of Building Energy Systems Research Group, presented on the "moral licensing" effect of water conservation efforts on electricity use. In their study, an apartment complex where an outreach effort to reduce water was successful, unfortunately, electricity use increased. 

Dallase Scott, Sustainability Programs Manager at GreenerU, showed us research they have done at a university to show that comprehensive outreach efforts do indeed help students embrace new behavior patterns. She described the opportunity in the first semester, to engage with students who are in the process of redefining themselves. The new habits, esp. around energy conservation, they can create then will last a lifetime. 

The group discussed the science of behavior change and outreach and had a lot of good things to share with each other. Thank you to Fraunhofer for hosting us and to the Garrison Institute for providing refreshments.

The Climate, Mind & Behavior Boston Hub will continue: we are hosting our next program on September 25th - hold the date! We welcome suggestions of future presentations. We want to hear from researchers who can answer the following questions –

o   What is the thesis statement?
o   How did you test it?
o   What were the outcomes?
§  What worked
§  What didn’t
o   What are your disclaimers ?
o   What would you have added/what is still missing?
o   How would results from this study be integrated into the field?

Below: Local organizers: Kurt Roth, Bonnie Bentzin, Dallase Scott, Grey Lee and Ed Connelly

Please contact Adam Meier (program coordinator) at if you are interested in presenting. Thank you!

From Kurt Roth:
“For better or for worse? Empirical evidence of moral licensing in a behavioral energy conservation campaign”

Environmental campaigns focusing on target behaviors are rolled out to millions of households. Yet it is not clear if these programs lead to adoption of additional environment-friendly behaviors (positive spillover) or reduced engagement in other environmental domains. We conducted a controlled field study to determine if positive or unintended contrary side effects dominate by evaluating the impact of a water conservation campaign on electricity consumption. We use daily water and weekly electricity consumption data of 154 apartments in a multifamily residential building. The results show that residents who received weekly feedback on their water consumption lowered their water use, but increased their electricity consumption by 5.6% relative to the control group. Our findings are consistent with moral licensing behavior. In the future, we recommend taking a more comprehensive view in environmental program design/evaluation to attempt to mitigate such unintended effects.

From Dallase Scott:
“Knowing the Full Story: The Process for Effective Program Evaluation”

This presentation will provide participants with an overview of a year-long study that evaluated the effectiveness of a behavior campaign to reduce energy use in dorms. In this study  four dorms at Brown University received dorm efficiency and control upgrades. Only students in two of the dorms received a targeted behavior campaign  along with the new upgrades. Building energy use, window opening behaviors and awareness and attitudes were examined  between the control and targeted dorms.  During this presentation, we will review the process of 1-Choosing a short term objective to be examined. 2-Choosing an appropriate research design, given constraints and capacities. 3- Determining measurable indicators of success for project objectives. 4-Collecting and analyzing information to identify program impacts.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Networking Nights are Back!

It's time to connect. Join your fellow Green Building professionals and enthusiasts for an informal evening of networking on June 18th. Don't miss this chance to re-launch our energizing series of monthly gatherings designed to bring you together with others who are as passionate about sustainability as you are.

Chapter Silver Partner Knoll has generously agreed to sponsor our networking sessions and host us at their showroom space in the Innovation District of Boston. This month, Andrea Coan will speak briefly at 6:00 to give us highlights of the LEED Platinum space. Appetizers and drinks will be provided.

The Knoll Offices and Showroom at 281 Summer Street, Boston, MA was awarded LEED Platinum certification in 2012
Doors open at 5:30 and stay open until 7:00. This is an informal gathering so please come and go as you please. No worries if you are late or have to leave early.

Register now through the Chapter web site. We look forward to seeing you there!