Wednesday, April 30, 2014

EPMA Earth Day Service Project

By Kristin Malyak, EPMA; Designer & Workplace Strategist at Gensler

A handful of chapter members braved the cold, damp weather this past weekend to participate in the 15th Annual Charles River Cleanup. The group was assigned to clean up a section of the Cambridge riverfront near Buckingham, Brown & Nichols, and covered a lot of ground in a short time! You may be familiar with the area - also known as "Hell's Half Acre" - just south (though going upriver) of the Eliot Bridge and the BB&N boathouse. The largest freshwater marsh along the Charles in either Boston or Cambridge.

Our work was part of an exercise an dividing and conquering – in the way that the Charles River Watershed Association organizes over a hundred different volunteer groups to help out at various sites along the Charles. It is truly a testament to the power of strength in numbers. By each making our own small contribution, we are all able to enjoy the rich, vibrant outdoor space the Charles provides us with so close to our urban centers.

We found a lot of amazing trash. It was a great chance to catch up with people - you can have interesting conversations while trying to figure out what strange object you've just confiscated. It felt good to give back to the community, and make our natural areas a little bit nicer for others.

Thank you to those that coordinated and attended the event this year, and hopefully we can make it annual chapter Earth Day tradition for years to come!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Beyond Buildings: LEED ND presented by USGBC MA

Since its inception, LEED ND has been guiding many communities toward sustainability. The upcoming May presentation BeyondBuildings: LEED ND will showcase the importance of LEED for Neighborhood Development as both a certification and a tool for guiding sustainable community developments.

We will hear from some of the original USGBC 2008 pilot projects in Massachusetts about their progress toward attaining LEED ND certification, now that they are six years into their development. We will also hear from new projects, neighborhood developments that are pursuing LEED ND certification or have taken the elements of the program to guide them toward sustainability. A discussion of how LEED ND can be used by communities as a development guide will complete the agenda.

The Box District
Located as an infill project and surrounded by compact neighborhoods Chelsea’s Box District is walkable to civic, commercial, recreation, parks and transit amenities. It has created affordable and market rate rental and condominium units, retail and new green spaces. Working with The Neighborhood Developers of Chelsea was a partnership from the private, non-profit, municipal and state sectors illustrating the cooperation required to create new living spaces for a mix of incomes.

Old Colony Housing

By Robert Weiss, Neighborhood Development Working Group

This major renovation of a traditional South Boston public housing project replaced outmoded housing with townhouses and four-story elevator buildings. New streets were created to make the grounds more walkable and integrate the housing with the surrounding neighborhood. Families can stay in their own neighborhood with its schools and access to public transportation. The project meets criteria for Enterprise Green Communities, LEED Building and Neighborhood Certifications, and Energy Star Homes certification. The units will be smoke free.

Old Colony Housing Development in South Boston

Jackson Square
Jackson Square is located in the Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods of Boston. The project is led by Jamaica Plain NDC and Urban Edge (non-profit developers), the Jackson Square Partners, which includes private corporations, non-profits, municipal and state public agencies. Two key components of the project’s green strategy are on-site generation of renewable and low-carbon energy from sources such as solar, wind, biofuel co-generation, geothermal and green roofs on each building. The 11.2 acre transit oriented project includes 438 units of housing, 60,000sf of commercial, 30,000sf retail, with recreational uses, as well. It is a mixed-income development built on previously developed land. Because it is an infill project within a compact area the new mixed-use development connects with its surroundings and enhances an even larger area.

The Village at Taylor Pond
Located in a suburban situation, this green living development is a great example of neighborhood development’s residential/jobs connectivity. Its site plan shows loads of green space that is simultaneously a human amenity and an environmental feature. There are connected paths of wooded walkways, a large space reserved for dog park, a rain garden and wetlands. Its 60,000sf of office space and 27,000sf of retail is an opportunity to walk to work and to commercial life. These amenities help eliminate use of cars for commuting and convenience. Sited on an infill area that was previously developed, Criterion Development Partners designed the project to encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Talbot Norfolk Triangle
Located near Dorchester’s Codman Square, the Talbot Norfolk Triangle area has been the focus of years of environmental, economic and residential development led by Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corp and TNT Neighbors United. Codman is using LEED ND as reference to drive quality of life improvements for residents. It is an Eco-District and is an illustration of input from the public and non-profit sectors. The neighborhood’s activism has resulted in the area being transit oriented today and a leader in urban environmental stewardship.

Talbot-Norfolk Triangle in Dorchester, Boston

LEED ND is a valuable tool for sustainable development in our communities. When you attend Beyond Buildings: LEED ND you will hear first-hand from the people who make these projects work and their analysis of their successes and shortcomings. GBCI, 3.5 CE hours, LEED ND specific are approved and AICP CM hours are pending. The presentation is from 8:00AM to noon on May 20 at the Atlantic Wharf Community Room, 290 Congress Street in Boston. For more information, learn about our sponsors and registration see:

Friday, April 25, 2014

The inside scoop about the Green Building Awards

Want to know more about the many entries in our Green Building Awards contest? Want to see more from the many excellent sponsors? You can read through the 20-page printed program of the Earth Day Gala using this link. It's like "Sports Illustrated" for green buildings. Seriously.

Thank you to the New England Real Estate Journal for publishing this great summary of the event and highlighting all the contestants for the Green Building Awards.

Here is my intro article about the awards, with an added paragraph about the event in general:

US Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter Celebrates Building Performance and Green Innovation with 7th Annual Green Building Awards

Each year, in honor of Earth Day, the USGBC MA Chapter community gathers to recognize superior achievement in the green building industry. We have two awards: the Green Building of the Year and the Green Innovation Award. The Chapter seeks to recognize and encourage higher-level performance in buildings. Thank you for your interest and your work for green buildings.

High-performance buildings are all around us – we see them every day. However, they don't always get the attention they deserve, considering the effort that has gone into their creation and into their ongoing management. Our awards program is designed to highlight these achievements and provide recognition to the parties responsible for the green buildings in our communities which are making the world a better place.

The Green Building of the Year is a competition among buildings that are saving energy, conserving water, and improving the user experience. Achievement on these metrics also results in a building that costs less to operate and is more beneficial to occupants than conventional structures. By comparing buildings against each others' measured performance, we help push the entire industry towards improved performance and value.

Similarly, the Green Innovation Award acknowledges that significant creativity and expertise can go into a component of a building project, which can set the stage for future superlative performance.

Green buildings are a significant part of the Massachusetts “innovation economy.” Our members are working with new technologies and new design, construction and facility management techniques to configure buildings in better ways, with improved results for all.

This year's entries include a wide variety of buildings designed, built and operated by Chapter members and sponsors. The industry of green buildings brings together teams from a wide variety of disciplines.

Our entries for Green Building of the Year include major downtown office towers, residential facilities and academic centers. Each has demonstrated incredible attention to detail on the part of the facility managers.

In Massachusetts, we have a tremendous amount of talent in the building industry, and many individuals and firms committed to sustainability. Working on thousands of projects here and beyond, our community of green building professionals is pushing the envelope on achievement in the built environment.

Our Green Innovation Award helps to recognize and reinforce this collective effort. This year we highlight innovations in rainwater management and building project re-use. These are just a sampling of the way Massachusetts is a leading innovator in the green building and real estate arena.

The community that coalesces around the USGBC is expert, exacting and passionate. We share a common engagement on green building projects and a common vision of the future. Our mission is to promote the design, construction, and operation of sustainable buildings and communities in Massachusetts through education, mutual support, and advocacy, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.

As an organization, we welcome anyone interested in sharing this mission to join us and participate in our many programs and activities. We support professional development and general green building education. We advocate for state & local regulations and legislation which will support our green building industry. We convene the community to facilitate relationships and connections that can help solve the challenges we face in the building industry.

Thank you for being a part of our work, participating in our mission, and coming together for the Earth Day Gala to celebrate the best work of our peers through the Green Building Awards.

We held a great Earth Day Gala at the LEED Gold Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Congratulations to the winners of the Green Building Awards. Green Building of the Year: One Beacon Street by CBRE-NE. Green Innovation: Waltham Watch Factory rainwater management by Richard Burck Associates. Thank you to all the entries and to all who attended. It was a fabulous gathering of our community.

See you at an upcoming event soon!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Tuesday night, April 22nd, the USGBC MA hosted the 2014 Earth Day Gala & Green Building Awards at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Thank you again to Paul Gusmini of the Fed for contributing the venue. It was a great night had by all.

Congratulations to the winners of the Green Building Awards:

  • Green Building of the Year: One Beacon Street by CBRE-NE 
  • Green Innovation: Waltham Watch Factory rainwater management by Richard Burck Associates 

The team at CBRE-NE won Green Building of the Year (affectionately known as GBOTY) for their project at One Beacon Street in Boston. The judges thought this was a great example of something we should see more of. They thought it was commendable to set out to do LEED for Existing Buildings on a 1970s building and achieve LEED Platinum. They were impressed with the LEED recertification in 2013.

Philip Laird of ARC / Architectural Resources Cambridge was on hand to receive their Special Recognition for the Colby College Cogeneration Plant project - which they originally entered as a GBOTY project - but which really was impressive as a Green Innovation. The judges were very impressed with the project’s innovative use of biomass as an efficient fuel source. Colby College is the fourth college nationwide to achieve carbon neutrality, and the biomass plant is helping to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 70%. Nice!

Here's presenter Tracey Beckstrom with Green Innovation Special Recognition award winners from BH+A, Ben Wilson and Adrienne Cali, for their entry: Factory 63 in Boston. The judges were very impressed with the level of energy performance in an historic building. They appreciated the densities the project achieved and how the smaller-sized “Innovation units”, which traded personal space for shared occupant spaces, helped to control energy use.  

Tim Mackey from Richard Burck Associates picked up their award for Green Innovation. Their project was to manage rainwater at the Waltham Watch Factory. They have taken something as prosaic as roof drainage and reintegrated it into the site in a manner that is absolutely prevalent. The design is a perfect combination of innovation and experience.

Congratulations again to all the winners - nice work! And to the many good folks who entered their projects into the 2014 Green Building Awards Contest. Thank you for your work to advance the mission of green buildings for all within a generation. 

The evening was a great gathering of green building professionals and their guests, who no doubt are at least green building aficionados. We had a great cocktail reception on the roof deck of the Federal Reserve, and then went in for dinner and speeches. We had posters of the many entries to the Green Building Awards in a gallery sponsored by RS Means / Reed Construction Data. 

The weather was just perfect - 68F and a light breeze. It was just fun to be up on that roof deck with the great views of the Fort Point Channel.

A lot of wonderful people came out - many familiar faces and it was great to reconnect with so many. Below, on the right, we have Mark Stafford, representing the event's Platinum Sponsor, National Grid.

Thank you to John Picard (not pictured) for taking all these photos of the friendly attendees!

Then, inside, we had a great dinner.

No one minds a major-funder group selfie, right?

But let's recall why we were here for a moment - the Green Building Awards. Really good stuff all around!

 Nice work, Gold Event Sponsors, AHA Consulting Engineers!

And at the end of the evening, there were still a few Chapter stalwarts hanging out - just couldn't say goodnight. Thanks for always being ready to support this community. You guys rock!
The Late Show with John, Mark, Phoebe, Caitriona, Jim, Emily, Jenn and Suzanne!
Special Thanks to the many Event Sponsors of the 2014 USGBC MA Earth Day Gala: National Grid, Boston Properties, AHA Consulting Engineers, NStar, Structure Tone, SMMA, Columbia Construction, A Better City, DTZ, Chapman Construction, Robinson & Cole, Suffolk Construction, Entegra, WB Engineers, IRONWOOD Design, The Green Engineer, RS Means, as well as media sponsor NEREJ and venue sponsor The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Friday, April 18, 2014

2014 Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses Conference

by Steve Muzzy

The 3rd Annual Massachusetts Sustainable Campuses Conference was held April 17, 2014 at UMass Lowell. Individuals representing all facets and sectors of the State came together to hear best practices for creating sustainable communities. Most of the presentations focused on how higher education institutions are leading these efforts. I attended "Campus Sustainability Plan Updates" and heard from Bentley University, Framingham State University and UMASS Lowell. All three institutions have signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) - a pledge made by the university President that commits the institution to eliminating its operational GHG emissions, supporting the educational, research, and community engagement efforts that support the goal, and contribute ongoing, annual public reports of progress. Bentley has set a climate neutrality date of 2030Framingham State is aiming for 2060, and UMASS Lowell has set a date of 2050. Framingham State and UMASS Lowell as State owned buildings, through Executive Order 484 are required to reduce GHG emissions by 25% by 2012, 40% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The ACUPCC and EO 484 also recommend and require institutions to utilize green building certification. EO 484 requires institutions to build and renovate to a LEED Plus green building standard. All campuses in Massachusetts are well supported in these efforts as the State has implemented terrific programs to advance energy efficiency, increase renewable energy production, and support the development of sustainable communities

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.