Thursday, November 28, 2013

USGBC MA Chapter Co-hosts 2013 Meet Massachusetts Networking Event @ ABX

On November 20, 2013, the USGBC MA Chapter, in partnership with the Massachusetts Chapter ofthe American Planning Association, Boston Society of Architects, Boston Society of Landscape Architects, and the Massachusetts Association of Consulting Planners hosted the 5th annual "Meet Massachusetts" networking event. Neil Angus, Vice Chairman of the USGBC MA Chapter Board of Directors welcomed attendees and spoke briefly about the purpose of the event: to bring together planning, design and construction professionals. Green building is all about integrated design and no other event really brings together the multitude of disciplines that this event does. 

Neil Angus, Vice Chairman of the USGBC MA Chapter, welcomes attendees.

Over 50 planners, engineers, architects, landscape architects, interior designers, energy planners and contractors came together to talk about sustainable design and development, to share ideas and meet new people. This years' event was made possible through the generous support of the New England Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association and Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture. This was the second time the event was held in conjunction with the ABX Conference. 

Neil Angus from the USGBC MA Chapter and Rob Henry from the New England Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association @ Meet Massachusetts.

Attendees at the 5th Annual Meet Massachusetts networking event.

We hope to see you at next year's event!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Green Building Update - Mid November

Green Buildings continue to become the standard practice in the real estate industry. Of course, we do have a long way to go, but that is our mission and that is where we're heading. Energy-efficient, high-performance buildings are good for users, managers and owners. LEED certification is one way to achieve a green building. The GSA has concluded that LEED saves the government money. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found LEED buildings, on average, use 25% less energy and cost 19% less to operate.

In the last two months, the state has seen 17 newly certified buildings including Dassault Systemes Boston Campus in Waltham which attained LEED Commercial Interiors: Platinum and One Beacon Street earned LEED Existing Building: Platinum through Cassidy Turley. The Northampton, MA, Police Department attained LEED New Construction: Gold as did Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Recreational Facility. Congratulations to the many teams that earned LEED certifications in recent weeks.

Let's welcome new USGBC member firms in the last two months: Green Footprints Commissioning, Inc.; Sustainability Roundtable, Inc.; The Princeton Review; G.C. McGowan Design, LLC; Sustainability Services Group LLC; Mashpee High School Environmental Club; Communications Design Associates, Inc.; Paul Lukez Architecture; Derosa Environmental Consulting. Thank you for being a part of the green building community.

The Massachusetts Chapter of the USGBC would like to recognize our new partnering sponsors Levi + Wong Architects, LDa-Architects, and Rubenstein Partners/CenterPoint Waltham. Together we are enhancing the real estate of Massachusetts.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ecodistricts Among Us

By Jim Newman, USGBC MA Board & Linnean Solutions

The annual EcoDistrict summit was held for the first time outside of Portland, Oregon this year, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) in the city’s Innovation District. This area of South Boston’s waterfront, also known as the Seaport, has thrived because of elements most valued by the EcoDistricts organization, such as public-private partnerships, the entrepreneurial spirit, and an emphasis on collaboration. 

At the summit, more than 90 speakers shared their visions of vibrant, healthy, equitable neighborhoods, and how urban leaders can support these cutting-edge communities. From microgrids to green infrastructure to the sustainable transformation of London’s Olympic village, inspiration came from all corners. It was this very diversity that tied the summit together.

Diversity discussions focused on more than race and ethnicity, although major disparities based on zip codes were discussed in a poignant presentation from Bay Area educator and innovator Antwi Akom. As part of the same first-morning plenary, April Rinne's talk on collaborative consumption underscored how we stand on the cusp of a diverse new economy--sharing cars, tools, and decision-making about how we build communities. 

During the individual education-session periods, there was an equally exciting array of topics, for example, the Wednesday afternoon sessions covered how the world’s megacities are responding to climate change, EcoDistricts in the Innovation District (this featured Linnean Solutions’ work), social equity, resource boundaries, and district energy.

Both before and after the summit’s BCEC program, events took place around the city that allowed attendees to see how Boston is also embracing the EcoDistricts principles in diverse ways. The first event was a legacy project charrette in Dorchester’s Talbot-Norfolk Triangle (TNT)Eco-Innovation District, which has as its goal a LEED-ND Platinum rating. 

Following the summit, four site tours were held, as well as a training and research symposium at Northeastern University. The site tours explored the TNT, and also Jackson and Eggleston Squares in Jamaica Plain, Kendall Square and MIT in Cambridge, and a walking tour of the Innovation District. 

Each of these provided visitors with views of potential ecodistricts at various points in their evolution.

Ultimately, the diversity of people, places, and ideas represented at the 2013 Summit paralleled what makes a great EcoDistrict: many different individuals coming together with the common goal of building a vital, sustainable, and just community.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Congratulations to our new LEED Fellows in Massachusetts

We are proud to announce that two heroes of the USGBC MA Chapter have been honored as LEED Fellows in 2013. 

Congratulations to Leo Roy of VHB and John Dalzell of the BRA. Leo most notably worked heroically to bring Greenbuild to Boston in 2008 and is piloting LEED volume certification processes. John is a stalwart supporter of the MA Chapter and has helped guide to fruition our PACE Finance Forum and many other programs.

The LEED Fellows program recognizes exceptional contributions to the green building community as well as significant achievements within a growing community of LEED Professionals.

The two new LEED Fellows join existing members with this distinction Chris Schaffner of the Green Engineer and Steve Benz of OLIN.

More professional bio info on Leo and John:

Leo Roy: Roy has more than 30 years of experience, has led several sustainability-oriented committees within Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin (VHB), and is directing the LEED EBOM certification process for the firm’s Watertown headquarters. Roy has worked on such exemplary projects in the past such as an award-winning waterfront redevelopment project for Columbia Point neighborhood in Boston— one of the first municipal planning projects in the country to encourage rooftop solar and/or roof gardens— and the development of USGBC’s Roadmap to a Green Campus. Roy also helped to develop the USGBC LEED Retail rating system and participated on the Market Sector Committee for Retail. He actively promotes sustainable development, and manages projects and programs in green building, ecosystem restoration, waste management, and renewable energy systems. Roy earned his Bachelors of Arts degree from Harvard University.

John Dalzell: At the BRA, Boston’s planning and economic development agency, Dalzell leads Green Building and Sustainable Development initiatives including public and internal sustainable development and green building policy development such as the January 2007 enactment of Boston’s Green Building Zoning regulations which made Boston the first major city to require private developers to build green to LEED standards. Dalzell represents the BRA on the City’s Inter-Agency Green Building Committee, organizes staff green building trainings, and provides sustainability and green building guidance to internal project planning and review teams. Additionally, Dalzell focuses City resources on sustainable development through community based area and district planning initiatives and programs in Boston’s neighborhoods.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Introducing one of our newest sponsors: Levi + Wong Design Associates

We are pleased to showcase a recent project completed by our newest sponsor, Levi + Wong Design Associates, a multidisciplinary design firm based out of Concord, MA. As part of the 18th Annual Canstruction Exhibition hosted at the BSA Space in Boston, architects and designers were called upon to create structures entirely out of canned goods that paid tribute to this year's theme: Cinema & Movies. No glue was allowed in the construction of these structures, and all the cans will be donated to charity at the end of the exhibition.

Our creative partners at Levi + Wong contributed this impressive piece dedicated to this summer's flick, Sharknado. The team built this structure completely out of tuna and canned tomato cans:

Source: Boston Magazine
Sharknado kept the movie scene interesting this summer, but SharkCANado: Take a Bite out of Hunger by Levi + Wong Design Associates makes the connection between coastal natural disasters and the work food banks have to do. The SharkCANnado is actually a tuna tornado, made entirely of different brands of tuna swirled with blood-red tomato cans.

Thanks Levi + Wong for contributing to such a creative and charitable event!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Networking with EnerNOC's Energy Network

What is going on with Building Energy Reporting & Disclosure in the City of Boston? What is the point of publicizing energy performance of buildings?

Last night, the Chapter partnered up with energy management leader EnerNOC to gather the community and talk about power. Gregg Dixon of EnerNOC and Grey Lee of USGBC MA both spoke briefly about their missions - to improve building energy performance on one hand, and on the other: "More Green Buildings!"

Brian Swett, Boston Chief of Energy and Environment, came to present on the BERDO - the energy disclosure law that takes effect this coming year in Boston. The City is taking comments on the draft regulations right now. The ordinance will help the City achieve its climate mitigation obligations through carbon pollution reductions. Buildings account for 70% of Boston's GHG emissions. As usual, it was a very useful presentation and it was great to hear him easily answer the many questions from the very informed crowd. Lots of curveballs.

What if an owner just doesn't want to cooperate? There will be fines, not major but enough to sting. The important mechanism is that non-compliant properties will be listed publicly and the "shaming" factor will probably motivate people more than the potential fines. One note is that just having an old building might not be reason to be afraid of the ordinance - New York's ordinance has resulted in data showing that one of the more energy efficient building types are those built in the 1920's and 30's, prior to mechanical systems. Designers availed themselves of passive heating and cooling techniques much more than in ensuing decades when mechanicals were available and energy was relatively cheap.

With the Ordinance, we'll have a lot of data to work with. As EnerNOC mentioned, data is a great tool to find solutions to complex problems: "We love data!"

Here are some facts about the ordinance:
  • All large and medium buildings or groups of buildings would be required to report annual energy use, ENERGY STAR rating (if applicable), water use, and greenhouse gas emissions through ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager or an equivalent mechanism.
  • The requirement would be phased in over 5 years and would ultimately apply to non-residential buildings 35,000 square feet or greater and residential buildings with 35 or more units.
  • Buildings with ENERGY STAR ratings below the 75th percentile and not meeting other exemption criteria (to be developed by the city, i.e. high performing buildings that do not qualify for any ENERGY STAR rating or that show continuous improvement) would be required to conduct energy audits or other evaluations every 5 years to identify opportunities for energy efficiency investment. Building owners would not be required to act on the audit.
You can read more about BERDO at the USGBC MA Chapter Advocacy page on our website, including a link to Brian's presentation from last night.

Thank you Brian and thank you to EnerNOC for hosting the program. About 75 people came out to learn and network. The City looks forward to people supporting the roll out of the ordinance and helping provide feedback on the regulatory language as they encounter novelties of the built environment that need to be responded to, such as rare building types, structures that are hard to define, and energy systems that are more complex than usual.

You can chime in: The Air Pollution Control Commission will hear public comment on the proposed regulations on November 12, at 9:00 AM in Boston City Hall, Room 900; written comments are also being accepted through November 15.

Please consider joining the Chapter as a Member - our community increases our power to transform the built environment toward higher performance. Thank you for participating in our work!

Thank you to Lisa Bolwin and colleagues at EnerNOC for organizing and staffing the program. Thank you to Carolyn Day of the USGBC for organizing the series of Networking Nights for the Chapter.

See you next time!!