Friday, January 30, 2015

Welcome to Eversource

As of January, our favorite utility company formerly known as NSTAR, has changed its name to Eversource Energy. NSTAR provided natural gas and electricity to 1.4 million customers in eastern and central Massachusetts. NSTAR's parent company, Northeast Utilities also owns the Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, Yankee Gas Services Co., Western Mass. Electric, and Connecticut Light and Power Co. Under the new of Eversource, these companies will serve over 3.6 million customers in New England, and the name change will help save money in the long run. The only difference customers will see is the name on the bill, all automated payments will continue to process automatically. If you had stock in Northeast Utilities, you'll see it  and a different stock ticker has changed from NU to ES. Eversource Energy offers helpful tips on how to save energy year round on their website, and they also have a special section for fall and winter that can help you cut your heating bills by 10%!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

USGBC MA Welcomes Two New Members to the Team!

Sharon Bort, Communications Associate
Sharon Bort is thrilled to be joining the USGBC MA Chapter this spring as the Communications Associate. In May of 2014, she graduated from Clark University with a degree in Global Environmental Studies and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In addition to her work with USGBC MA, Sharon works as the Sustainability Coordinator at Wellesley College. At Wellesley, she tackles all things sustainability including Wellesley's own bike share, food and water, compost and recycling, energy reduction, behavior change, student advising, and much, much more. She is excited to be learning more about LEED with USGBC as a recent LEED Green Associate and share the many great events the Chapter offers as the Communications Associate. In her spare time Sharon loves to experiment in the kitchen, ride her bike around Boston, travel the world, and tackle DIY projects. 

Ethan Lay-Sleeper, Advocacy Fellow
Ethan Lay-Sleeper is joining the USGBC MA Chapter as our inaugural Advocacy Fellow - in an internship funded by the MassCEC. He is finishing his final semester of graduate school in the Master of City Planning Program at MIT. At MIT, Ethan has studied green supply chain management, carbon foot printing, and the economics of electricity & the environment. Last summer he traveled to Taiyuan, China, and worked with students from Tsinghua University to design for increased energy-efficiency and density in an existing neighborhood, while improving the community’s public amenities. Ethan comes from an architectural background and has experience working on a number of LEED certified projects, and he is excited to participate in the Chapter’s mission of promoting a network of Green Buildings as well as the legislation that supports them.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Welcome to the Board!

Congratulations to the six new board members for the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter! We look forward to working together as a community to improve our built environment and meet our mission. 

Thank you to all the candidates that ran for our board. The diversity and experience of our candidate pool is a testament to the strength of our community. 

Barbra Batshalom, Sustainable Performance Institute
Barbra is the founder and president of the Sustainable Performance Institute a national organization that assists the building industry in institutionalizing sustainability. Additionally, she has founded The Green Roundtable as well as leading the way in forming our own USGBC Massachusetts chapter! Barbra is a trailblazer is transforming businesses and the building industry into a more sustainable field.

John DalzellBoston Redevelopment Authority
John has been deeply involved with USGBC and LEED for many years now, as illustrated by his awarded position as LEED Fellow, Accredited Professional in BD+C and Neighborhood Development, and as a founding member of the USGBC Massachusetts chapter. John is also a senior architect for sustainable development at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and a champion for Green Building and Community Programs.

Mike DavisLocal Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)
Mike has a rich and varied past working in housing and urban planning including the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Bronx Planning Unit, and the HUD Multifamily Unit. Currently, Mike is a Program Officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation in which he manages the MA Green Retrofit Initiative, works with energy auditors, and analyzes funding opportunities.

Carrie HaveyThe Green Engineer
Carries joined the USGBC MA chapter within her first few months in Boston and has brought sustainability into all aspects of her work. She currently works as a Project Manager at The Green Engineer. Carrie has over twelve years of experience in planning and landscape architecture from Concord Square Planning & Development, Stantec, Tompkins County Planning Department, and others.

Shawn HesseemersionDESIGN
Shawn leads the Cambridge office of emersionDESIGN and focuses on integrating sustainability into all of his design, planning, and policy work for clients. He has proudly designed and consulted Net Zero energy projects and LEED Platinum Certified buildings. Furthermore, Shawn has educated and trained hundreds in LEED with support from USGBC. He also serves on the national board of Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility. 

Tiffany KingCommodore ConstructionNow a Project Manager at Commodore Builders, Tiffany was previously at E.M Harris Construction Company and Paric Corporation. Through her experience in commercial and residential construction management, she has demonstrated superb collaboration skills and a passion for sustainable and high-efficiency design.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Annual Meeting: Game Night & Volunteer Appreciation

It was a lovely if windy evening in the Fenway of Boston on Thursday night.

Wentworth Institute of Technology hosted us for our 2015 Annual Meeting - it was great to meet many of their students, professors and staff. Over 100 people came out to join us - we had presentations, awards, election results and GAME NIGHT!

Giant Jenga (not its real name) was a hit during the Game Night portion of the evening - though of course with all the high-achieving creative types in attendance it morphed into a "how tall can you build a tower out of loose blocks" exercise.

We were very appreciative of Debbie Shepard (below), who serves Wentworth as a sustainability coach, for her presentation giving an overview of the many sustainability projects that have been embraced by the campus, including:
  • 75 courses related to sustainability
  • Undergraduate minor in sustainability
  • Masters in Applied Sustainability Mgmt. 
  • Accelerate – Social Innovation Lab
  • 525 Huntington - Student Housing
  • Ira Allen Ctr for Sciences & Biomedical Engineering
Don't forget that Wentworth Co-ops - students - are ready to work for your firm!

There was plenty of food and our green building pros know how to hit a buffet line. They did make a little room for the students to join in. It was great to mix and mingle. 

Did you know the Wentworth Creed (from 1904) We seek to use our resources wisely at all times. We accept our obligation to safeguard the earth, its resources, its life, and its energy for the benefit of future generations.” - Sounds like sustainability to us! Love it!

A big part of the night was our Volunteer Recognition Ceremony. Below we have the "Charging Champions of the Chapter" - up-and-coming all-star volunteers Kate Bubriski - co-chair of our Advocacy Committee, Shawn Hesse - new to our Board and a Living Building Ambassador, and Kimberly Le - new chair for our Residential Green Building Committee.

Volunteer of the Century, Phoebe Beierle, received yet another awesome plant for her contributions to the Chapter as an all-star volunteer. Thank you Phoebe for your guidance and ongoing brilliance for the Chapter. Phoebe actually shared this award with Bill Holland and the technical category was "Long-time Front-line Volunteers of the Half Decade."

Earning our "Continuing Stalwarts of the Chapter" awards were Adrian Charest - chair of our Outreach Team (formerly Membership) and Neil Angus - our Vice Chair, and guiding light of our Education Committee (and "and Sustainable Communities" Ensurer).

We gave thanks to all of our volunteers, especially our departing Board members: Jennifer Taranto, David Straus, Chris Schaffner, Greg Sampson, Erik Ruoff, and Phoebe Beierle.

Other Noteworthy Contributors included: Stephanie MacNeil, Kristin Malyak, Matt Smith, Ryan Montoni, Jenna Dancewicz, Marie Nolan, Alana Spencer, Tiffany King, Adam Prince, Susi Price, Jared Gentilucci, Mark Dunn, Craig Foley, John Dimodica, David Bliss, Rachelle Ain, Patricia Cornelison & Mihir Parikh.

Also, Board members Ben Myers and Jim Newman were recognized for their outstanding fundraising work.

And then we got back to the games:

 A lot of folks enjoyed the paper airplane launching:

It would appear to have been hard to beat Alec Danaher, US Air Force veteran (also a civil engineer) - of our Advocacy Committee, though I did hear a certain architect claim to have hit the far wall. "Just let it go, don't force it, let the weight do the work" he explained in his southern drawl... 

Below, Phoebe Beierle is wondering how can Steve handle all these new member sign-ups at the event!

Thank you to Wentworth Institute of Technology for hosting us - especially to Abby Charest - Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering and Technology who liaised with the Wentworth staff and student groups to put it all together. Below is Grey w/ Abby and Adrian Charest - a green building power couple if I ever saw one! Thank you Team Charest!

Go Leopards!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Advocacy Committee: Co-signing is Fun!

The Chapter participated with a coalition of advocacy organizations in a "Co-Signing Fair" at the Massachusetts State House on 1/14/15. Two dozen organizations presented opportunities for legislators to co-sign various legislative initiatives relevant to sustainability, energy and ecology. Co-signing is when a legislator adds their name to the bill as it is introduced to the session. More co-signers means a bill has more momentum moving forward. The event was organized by the Environmental League of Massachusetts and the Audubon Society. 

Chapter volunteer Craig Foley and Grey Lee were on hand to meet with lawmakers and their staff to help them understand the initiatives.

We were pitching our top three priorities (click to link to our Advocacy Resources page for more information):

Thank you to the team at ELM (pictured here: Josh Craft, Program Director and Erica Mattison, Legislative Director). Thank you for organizing and helping so many good organizations connect on so many issues.

I like this mural, in the rotunda at the State House, of a Minuteman rallying the militia to join the cause of freedom against tyranny!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Great new resource for Green Leasing from A Better City

Congratulations to ABC (A Better City) - the convener's of Boston's "Challenge for Sustainability" in the commercial real estate world.

They have recently produced a report on "Green Leasing"  - providing guidance on how tenants and landlords can come together to improve lease agreements with clauses that support sustainability in buildings.

Areas of opportunity to increase the sustainability of leases include:
Energy efficiency cost pass-through clauses,
Operational clauses,
Sustainable purchasing clauses,
Reporting Clauses

The group also identified barriers to wider green lease implementation. These include:
A lack of knowledge of potential green lease clauses,
Brokers and lawyers being unfamiliar with green leasing practices.

We look forward to working with ABC, our Members and other industry partners to improve building performance through greener leases. Thank you to ABC, Boston's Green Ribbon Commission, and Meister Consultants for putting together this project.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

USGBC MA & MLS PIN: Improved Green Data Fields for MA Real Estate

[Press Release]

One of the top multiple listing services in U.S. updates its green data fields to reflect the growing market of high-performance homes

Boston, MA (January 8, 2015) The Massachusetts Chapter of the USGBC is pleased to announce that MLS Property Information Network, Inc. (MLS PIN) has installed a comprehensive update of its green data fields to promote market transformation towards healthier and more energy-efficient buildings in the Commonwealth.

MLS PIN, located in Shrewsbury, MA, is one of the leading multiple listing services in the country. Kathy Condon, CEO and President of MLS PIN, has been an industry leader in the adoption of green data fields to support energy efficiency in the residential real estate transaction. She led MLS PIN in one of the earliest adoptions of green data fields in 2009 in the U.S. The new fields, recommended by the Residential Green Building Committee of the Massachusetts Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, is one of the most comprehensive green data field updates in the country.

Ownership of green homes is one practical way people in our communities can actively respond to the environmental concerns around us,” said Grey Lee, Executive Director of the MA Chapter of the USGBC. “MLS PIN’s collaboration to improve the existing set of green data fields deserves kudos. I would also like to applaud Craig Foley, our chapter’s advocacy coordinator for the Residential Green Building Committee, for his leadership on this project. With the new fields in place, homebuyers in the region will have a much clearer understanding of the high-performance options available to them. This work will provide a strong signal to the marketplace that homes that are more resilient, healthier, and that offer lower operating costs are more beneficial and valuable to owners.

We greatly appreciate the work that the USGBC committee did to provide thoughtful and relevant recommendations that make our database stronger,” said Kathy Condon, CEO and President of MLS PIN. “This project’s committed stakeholder involvement reinforces our regions leadership in the U.S. green building movement.”

The timing of this initiative was ideal,” said Craig Foley, a broker associate at RE/MAX Leading Edge. “Our committee was able to piggy-back on the work being done at the national level with the Green MLS Implementation Guide produced by the National Association of REALTORS® Green Resource Council. Working with Kathy’s excellent staff at MLS PIN to coordinate the implementation of the new fields was an outstanding experience.”

The Residential Green Building Council of the USGBC has monthly meetings which are open to the public at 50 Milk Street, Boston, MA. More information on the Committee and meetings can be found at

For more information on trainings for the new green data fields contact Craig Foley, the Chief of Energy Solutions for RE/MAX Leading Edge, at

About MLS Property Information Network, Inc

A REALTOR® owned MLS, Property Information Network, Inc. (MLS PIN) was incorporated in 1997. The corporation has grown its subscriber base from 11,000 to approximately 33,485 licensed real estate professionals.

MLS PIN is the largest Multiple Listing Service in New England and one of the largest in the nation. MLS PIN offers a database of over 33,800 properties for sale and more than 1.4 million off-market listings, as well as full public records for all of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and other areas of New England. More information can be found on their website, which can be found at

About U.S. Green Building Council, MA Chapter

The mission of the Chapter is to promote the design, construction, and operation of sustainable buildings and communities in Massachusetts through education, collaboration, and advocacy, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. More information can be found on their website, which can be found at

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Friday, January 2, 2015

What do you think about the USGBC MA Chapter?

We would like your feedback so we can plan better our programming for the coming year.

In the course of just a few questions, you can help us narrow our focus and improve our activities as a Chapter.

Please use this link to take the survey. We very much appreciate your time. Thank you!