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We're Unveiling Exclusive News at the Greenbuild Networking Night this Thursday!

By Alexander Landa on 3/28/2017

This Thursday, we're holding our quarterly Greenbuild networking night. This won't be a regular event - we have the inside scoop of some exciting Greenbuild 2017 news that you won't hear anywhere else for weeks to come. As the Host Chapter for this year's conference, we're excited to be able to relay this news to you first. Aside from the inside scoop, we will also be giving you the current status of Greenbuild.

Register here!

Don't forget - this is a Chapter members only event. If you aren't already a member and become one between now and Thursday, you will get a ticket to this networking night for FREE!

5:30-6:00: Networking and drinks
6:00-6:30: Opening remarks, state of "The Road to Greenbuild," and words from our sponsors.
6:30-7:30: Networking

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April 11: Energy Star Portfolio Manager Training with the City of Boston

By USGBC MA on 3/27/2017

We're happy to announce that we are working with the City of Boston to bring you a training session on how to use Energy Star Portfolio Manager and comply with BERDO on April 11th. 

Learn more and register HERE.

In the first half of the session, we will go over BERDO ordinance basics, compliance requirements, and steps to comply. The second half of the training will go into further detail on utility data aggregation and how to use Portfolio Manager, the free software used for energy benchmarking.

Part I (30 mins): Overview of Boston Energy Benchmarking Ordinance 

  1. Provide Ordinance Overview
  2. Identify Covered Properties and Review the Notification Process
  3. Review Compliance Timeline and Requirements
  4. Explain Benchmarking Roles and Discuss the Compliance Steps
  5. Q&A

Part II (45 mins): Step-by-Step Ordinance Compliance Requirements

  1. How to Set up ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Account
  2. How to Request Whole Building Energy Use Information from Utilities
  3. How to Meet Energy Data Verification Requirements
  4. How to Report Building Data to the City of Chicago
  5. Review Additional Support and Resources
  6. Q&A

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Advocacy Alert: We need your help to save EPA programs

By USGBC MA on 3/24/2017

We're sure that you've seen recent news regarding potential cuts to Environmental Protection Agency programs. The EPA is important - they're the force that's helping our environment, and their mission is our mission. Global warming isn't a hoax, and we need to step up our game to make sure that our government is taking all necessary measures to combat this risk. 

The Office of Management and Budget released its plan for the proposed 2018 budget, which includes elimination of or deep cuts to vital programs.

The Environmental Agency Energy StarWaterSense, and Safer Choice are all at risk here.  

USGBC is working with Congress to preserve vital funding for these and other programs, and they need everyone's help to do it. 

Sign the USGBC letter now

You can also contact your elected official directly and let your support for these programs be heard.

This is a fight we all need to take part in, and we can't lose it.

Thank you!
The Advocacy Team at USGBC Massachusetts

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Reminder: LEED Green Associate Exam Prep Course Tomorrow!

By USGBC MA on 3/22/2017

Tomorrow, Thursday, March 23rd, is our next LEED Green Associate exam prep course! Join us for our all-day training session with an incredibly high success rate of getting people ready to take their exam.

The LEED Exam Prep Course is a comprehensive course which will prepare attendees for the Green Associate and other specialty exams. The day long curriculum is designed to cover the segments of the Green Associate Exam and to lightly cover the AP specialty exams. If you have specific questions regarding a specialty exam, feel free to bring these questions to class and have the instructor cover these identified areas.

Come join us for this session! We have only had positive feedback and success stories from previous classes.

This is a fast-paced class for real estate professionals, architects, engineers, students and anyone else interested in green building practices and LEED. The majority of attendees have little previous knowledge of the LEED rating system, green building operations, and green building construction. Upon completion of the class employees will be eligible to sit for the LEED Green Associate exam at a local testing center. Please note that the national office has lowered their student rate to 100 dollars, read more at By passing the exam, employees will earn the LEED Green Associate credential. If interested in attending a LEED Green Associate Exam Prep class, please email, groups welcome.

Register here.

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017
50 Milk St, 20th Floor, Anchor Room
Boston, MA, 02109

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Tomorrow is Our Introduction to the Living Building Challenge Morning Session

By USGBC MA on 3/21/2017

Join us for an introductory session on the newest and most rigorous standard in high-performance buildings today. If you are new to the standard or have a few unanswered questions come visit this session. We will be briefly covering projects in the Commonwealth and will have mediated discussion after the comprehensive presentation. Breakfast will be provided.

Register here!

The Living Building Challenge is the built environment's most rigorous performance standard. It calls for the creation of building projects that operate as cleanly, beautifully and efficiently as nature's architecture. Participants will gain a basic understanding of the Living Building Challenge - a philosophy, advocacy tool, and certification program that addresses development at all scales. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements, including Net Zero Energy, Waste, and Water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy. Participants will learn to describe the key components of the program and discuss the rationale for restorative design principles.

Learning objectives:

1. Understand the basic philosophy of the Living Building Challenge

2. Describe the key components of the program

3. Discuss the rationale for restorative design principles

4. Identify and locate the resources provided by the International Living Future Institute for deeper engagement

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
50 Milk St., 18th Floor
Hemingway Room
Boston, MA, 02109

Register here!

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Northeast Sustainable Energy Association Steps Up Engagement with Public Policy

By Andrew Vivitsky on 3/20/2017

Expanding Focus.

Architects, engineers and builders are steadfastly focused on their specialized mission of creating a sound built environment. It is thus remarkable to see a leading alliance of the building sector, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), refocus their efforts on a new goal: proactive engagement with public policy for clean and efficient energy.

The BuildingEnergy 2017 Conference in Boston on March 7-9 organized by NESEA was the venue for publicizing a new strategic plan, embracing a commitment to advocacy and the policy process.  The typical conference program of design, technical, and business solutions integrated added content on government policy as a lever for achieving sustainability goals.  With the retreat from environmental policy by the Trump Administration, NESEA’s initiative can be applauded as a timely effort to address a looming gap. Although the initiative will take several months to take full shape, the alliance is well-positioned to make an impact.

Since its founding in 1974 NESEA has been a platform for networking and exchange of know-how for the building sector in the six New England states plus New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The organization’s annual flagship conferences in Boston and New York feature workshops and presentations by specialists on a range of current topics. The yearly gatherings include exhibitions of products and services, convening thousands of practitioners and companies from the region. Over the years NESEA membership has done much to drive energy efficiency and carbon reduction in the north-eastern states.

High-Performance Building Systems.

Popular workshops at the Boston conference included those devoted to high performance building systems, reflecting growing interest in robust standards for both new construction and retrofits. A standing room only session on “Net Zero Energy (NZE) and Living Building Challenge (LBC)”, two established models, heard consultants, engineering firms and architects address challenges of overcoming client uncertainty. Case studies highlighted cost-benefit arguments while communication strategies were presented for opening clients to a broader view of project goals. Examples included mainly institutional and public buildings, reflecting slower uptake of ZNE and LBC by commercial construction.

Filling a large auditorium was the session on “Multi-Family Passive Buildings” presented by Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS). The high performance PHIUS system, adapted from a German model, has gained traction in many U.S. states and cities based on its positive record. Government agencies have adopted this standard for affordable and market housing, often supporting projects with technical assistance and funding. PHIUS officials gave an overview the core design principles, certification process and offered convincing performance data from exemplary buildings.

The Leverage of Public Policy.

Making the important case for the leverage of policy were two workshops on March 8th.  At “Energy Codes and Zero Energy Buildings,” the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) reported on the strong impact of the Stretch Code (higher norms adopted voluntarily by cities) and renewable energy provisions in the base state building code. From the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources (RIOER), we learned about the market accelerating benefits of their building energy labeling program and integration of clean energy norms in the state code. The Building Codes Assistance Project (BCAP) from Washington D.C. traced the positive trajectory of the national Model Energy Codes from 1975 to 2015, emphasizing the need for heartland states to achieve parity of standards with of the more progressive coastal states.

The session on “Zero Energy and Affordability” highlighted initiatives of the Massachusetts DOER to promote and incentivize high-performance building. Reviewed were advances in the state solar rebates program, outcomes of a major energy storage initiative, and a new PACE program for financing energy retrofits. A progress report on the Pathways to Net Zero programs of grants for pilot projects offered data on technologies and designs impacting efficiency outcomes. An insightful presentation on state rebates and tax credits for installation of efficiency equipment illustrated significant incentives which can drive down the cost of projects.

The Challenges.

NESEA companies and practitioners continue to explore strategies for achieving sorely needed increased levels of impact.  According to the Net Zero Energy Coalition in 2016, there were all of 3,339 NZE buildings in the U.S., of which 219 were in Massachusetts, 212 in Connecticut, and 85 in New York. In 2016, PHIUS reported not more than 1.1 million sq. ft. of certified or pre-certified space distributed across 1,200 residential units nationwide. These outcomes leave little doubt about the need to achieve greater scale in sustainability of the U.S. built environment. With buildings consuming 39% of total energy and accounting for 38% of carbon emissions, the scope of the challenge cannot be underrated.

State policy, which enacts measures for upgrading building standards on one hand and incentivizing voluntary high performance on the other, is increasingly recognized as a key accelerator. The 2016 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard published by the American Council for and Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) correlates ratings of the top five states (California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) with robust their policies, including building codes, efficiency rating of buildings, and state-led financial incentives. 

By undermining the Clean Power Plan and CAFÉ vehicle emissions standards, the Trump Administration is set to deplete two mainstays of the U.S. commitments to the UN Paris Climate Accords. Experts at research institutions are looking for strategies for states to double down on their climate policies to offset withdrawal by Washington. 

Andrew Vitvitsky is a Cambridge-based environmental journalist and affiliate of the MIT Climate Colab.

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Become a Member Between Now and 3/30, Come to Our Greenbuild Networking Night for Free

By Alexander Landa on 3/16/2017

The title says it all - become a member between now and March 30th, and you will get a free ticket to our upcoming Greenbuild 2017 Networking Night! This is a members-only event, meaning you'll only be networking with some of the best in the green building business.

This goes for any ticket type. Chapter memberships are $95/year, emerging professionals are $39/year, Government officials are $39/year, and students are only $25/year.

We also have higher-level Chapter memberships, and these make a huge difference in our advocacy campaigns - all for a more sustainable Massachusetts. 

Become a member now!

5:30-6:00: Networking and drinks
6:00-6:30: Opening remarks, state of "The Road to Greenbuild," and words from our sponsors.
6:30-7:30: Networking

Boston has embarked toward a defining moment in its green building story: Greenbuild 2017.

In 2008, Boston made history with the largest Greenbuild to date. We intend to make this 2017 Greenbuild the largest on record, outdoing ourselves from our 2008 showing.

Greenbuild is getting everyone excited. Students, architects, construction workers, sustainability managers, operators, anyone with a stake in green buildings from around the world will be coming to Boston this November. 

Join us on March 30th to meet other USGBC MA Chapter members, share excitement for Greenbuild, network with like-minded individuals, and most important, have fun and celebrate all things green building!


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Proposal Submission Deadline for Greenbuild 2017 Tours is Now March 31st

By USGBC MA on 3/14/2017

Green Building tours are one of Greenbuild's most popular and exciting features, providing the opportunity to explore green buildings ranging from government facilities to zoo exhibits. This year in Boston, Greenbuild tours will help attendees learn outside the convention center walls and will present the best of the area’s sustainable buildings and neighborhoods.

The deadline for submission of tours is now March 31st, 2017.

Tours are a critical means to expose conference attendees, as well as interested members of the general public, to the best examples of excellence in sustainability in our region, especially the most notable sites that demonstrate the greater metropolitan Boston area’s commitment to economic, social and environmental quality and innovation. Tours are also one of Greenbuild’s most popular and exciting features, providing the opportunity to explore green buildings in the greater Boston area. Off-site tours will be conducted in the days leading up to, and directly following, the conference (November 6, 10 & 11).

2017 Call for Tours
Green building tours are organized by Greenbuild's Host Committee, USGBC Massachusetts, who is currently seeking applications for 2017 tours. 

We are also seeing tour reviewers for these proposals. If interested in reviewing, please email for more information.

More information

Tour application (online form)

Here is a link to all the application questions, which you might want to review, prior to using the online form. It can be easier to consider all the questions and draft your response, and then proceed with the online form.

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USGBC MA Sponsored MED|Ed Session W17: Tackling the Challenge - the New MA Energy Code

By USGBC MA on 3/7/2017

For the upcoming Fourth Annual MED|Ed Facilities Conference and Expo in Boston, the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter will be sponsoring a number of sessions during the event's two days. One session is W17: Tackling the Challenge - the New MA Energy Code, taught by Francis Boucher of National Grid and Martine Dion of SMMA.

More info:

The MA IECC 2015 Energy Code, effective on January 2017, raises the bar for energy efficiency and continues a trend of 3 yr. cycled energy code upgrades towards a 2030’s Zero Net Energy Objective. Learn the economics of cost-effective energy efficiency design strategies to achieve 15%-25% or better energy performance beyond IECC 2015, supported with compliance paths to the section C406 additional efficiency requirements, now including renewable energy, and the updated Stretch Code. We will share the findings of a research study looking into energy efficiency measures’ incremental costs and paybacks, including a few building project case studies.

Wednesday, April 5th, 8:00am

Learn more and register.

Use the code USGBC for 20% off any of our sessions!

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Find us at NESEA's BuildingEnergy Boston Conference this Wednesday and Thursday!

By Alexander Landa on 3/6/2017

Our friends over at the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA) are putting together a pretty cool event March 7-9. BuildingEnergy Boston Conference + Tradeshow is the region's leading event for those in the field of sustainability, bringing over 2500 local leaders & emerging professionals together.

We will be at our Greenbuild booth on the tradeshow floor Wednesday and Thursday, all day! Come by and talk to us about our Road to Greenbuild, which involves events every month leading up to Greenbuild 2017 in November

What makes this conference stand out is its place in the field - it's much more interdisciplinary in content and in audience than other similar tradeshows. Attendees and topics range from architecture, engineering, building design, consulting, policy, finance, auditing, installation, construction, education, and more.

Learn more about BuildingEnergy Boston here.

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