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Stantec leading sustainability in Boston

By Elizabeth King, Stantec on 10/16/2017

Stantec is a process driven firm and we believe that sustainability goes well beyond the building’s footprint. Sustainability considers stewardship of the physical, social and financial health of an institution within the broader context of its environment and community.  Our design ideas are embedded with energy efficient principles in mind—from the orientation of the building masses to building technologies—we take advantage of both building systems and client engagement to help build a sustainable future. 
 
Designed in hyper-collaboration with Massachusetts College of Art and Design students, professors, staff, alumni, and trustees, the MassART “Tree House” Residence Hall has become a landmark in the Boston skyline. The 21-story residence hall for 476 freshmen includes a café, living room, health center, communal kitchen, game room, laundry room, fitness center, and 17 floors of residential semi-suites with a lounge or a workroom on each floor. Inspired by Gustav Klimt’s 1909, ‘Tree of Life’ painting, the building is designed to promote healthy lifestyles, sustainable practices, and to culturally connect to its vibrant surrounding community of art and the Colleges of the Fenway.  The MassART “Tree House” is LEED Gold Certified.

The Eddy is a highly sustainable, mixed-use building located along the waterfront in East Boston. Standing 17 stories tall, the building consists of 259 apartment units, a suite of amenities, restaurant space and unrivaled views of the Boston skyline. Numerous site improvements reinforce the building’s connection to the water which offers recreational opportunities as well as transportation alternatives to East Boston residents. The development of The Eddy extended the Harborwalk, creating nearly one acre of publicly accessible waterfront space as well as open space used for community events.  By leveraging the natural assets of this unique site, a host of benefits are now available for the East Boston community to enjoy. The Eddy is LEED Gold Certified.

Special author: Elizabeth King, Associate at Stantec

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Getting Smart about Sustainability

By VHB – Kari Hewitt, Director of Sustainability, and Steve Anderson, Director of Applied Technologies on 10/5/2017

As professionals operating in the sustainability and applied technology space, we are no strangers to buzz words, nor to the perception that our work is part of a passing trend. It may be easy to pass off the concept of “smart cities” as the latest of such trendy phrases. What is a “smart city” anyway? Why is everyone talking about “big data” and “internet of things”? Isn’t all this smart technology just for the privileged anyway?

It is fair to be skeptical and cautious. However, imagine a community where we are able to connect all citizens to the internet. Imagine a building stock powered by a smart grid and meters that can respond to changes in demand and inform building managers and homeowners instantly of leaks or inefficiencies. Sensors that know when to light up a street or sidewalk for passing pedestrians or that can inform citizens and public health officials when air quality is poor. Smart waste receptacles powered by solar energy that tell haulers when they need to be emptied. A transportation network enabled with real time data and smart payment options to allow users to make smart and healthy choices about how to get to work or school.

We strongly believe that the cities that are leading the way on sustainability and resiliency are also leading the way on smart cities. And this is because their leaders recognize that these pathways are inextricably linked—innovation, sustainability, and resiliency are a necessity for cities to manage growing populations, remain economically competitive, and to advance solutions to global climate change challenges. They also recognize that city government exists to provide services to its citizens and that they need to be thoughtful about the user's perspective - using technology to better meet the needs of all citizens. Smart City technologies have the potential to:

  • Improve health and well-being
  • Enhance mobility
  • Boost economic development
  • Reduce disparities/inequities
  • Improve facility management
  • Improve safety, emergency response, and cyber security
  • Promote efficiency and environmental stewardship
  • Enhance transparency
  • Enhance resiliency
  • Measure & report on performance

A key tenet of sustainable planning, design, and management of buildings and communities comes down to effective decision-making. When people are armed with real-time information that they can compare to historic patterns, they are able to make smart decisions, and see if those decisions are actually making a difference. Smart Cities technologies have the ability to arm governments, businesses, and citizens with information to make their communities thrive.

Find VHB on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Careers in Sustainability Panel at Northeastern

By Emily Kingston on 9/21/2017

We had a great turnout on September 19th for the Careers in Sustainability Panel at Northeastern. Co-hosted by the NU Energy Systems SocietyUSGBC MA’s Emerging Professionals, and the USGBC MA Greenbuild Volunteer committee, the event generated some great conversation from six stellar sustainability professionals.


Our panelists included: Alex Testa, Structural Engineer at Silman; Ryan Montoni, Project Manager at The Green Engineer; Blake Jackson, Sustainability Design Leader at Stantec; Lindsey Machamer, Senior Engineer at Pare Corporation; and John Gravelin, Project Manager at Linnean Solutions. The panel was expertly moderated by EPMA’s co-chair Aminah McNulty, Marketing Coordinator for Brown, Richardson + Rowe.


The panelists shared their unique experiences and varied career paths to their current position, the things they wish they knew when they started out, and tips for networking your way to your dream job. 

Join us for more events like this one including: How to Network at Greenbuild coming up on October 26th at Boston University and consider registering today as a volunteer at Greenbuild to take advantage of some incredible sustainability career opportunities.

 

Students and Emerging Professionals: It's time for Greenbuild!

By Emily Kingston on 9/19/2017

Are you....

  • Passionate about green buildings?
  • Interested in pursuing a career in a green building related field?
  • Looking to network with the best and brightest in the green building industry?
  • A full-time student or emerging professional age 25 or under?

Then join your peers and volunteer at Greenbuild (the largest green building conference in the world) in Boston this November 8-9, 2017! Volunteer responsibilities include administrative people management, recycling logistics, and other supportive roles. By clocking in an 8-hour volunteer shift, volunteers will be able to

  • Receive a FREE 3-day pass
  • Network with green building leaders and professionals
  • Connect with students and emerging professionals across the nation
  • Attend Greenbuild sessions featuring renowned speakers with a passion for sustainability
  • See the latest and greatest products and services in the Expo hall

Can’t wait till November and want to hang out with green building enthusiasts now? Then join us at one of our upcoming events!

9/21/17 – September Greenbuild Mixer with JLL

9/29/17 – Northeastern’s Energy Conference

10/10/17 – Greenbuild Volunteer Meeting

10/16/17 – Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts Monthly Meeting

10/26/17 – How to Network at Greenbuild and Build Your Career in Sustainability  

Project Spotlight: Subaru of New England Corporate Headquarters & Distribution Center

By Emily Kingston on 9/19/2017

This project brought together corporate offices, a warehouse and distribution center for vehicle parts, and a training center for mechanics under one roof in a new, state-of-the-art LEED Platinum facility.  A commitment to sustainability is a key focus of the Subaru brand, one that factors in to every level of the company’s business model.  For the client—the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles and parts for the six New England states—a LEED Platinum facility was the goal from project kick-off.  As a result, the project team was able to utilize a holistic approach to sustainability, bringing LEED practices into planning, design, and construction processes from the start.

 

The program consisted of a new 165,000 SF corporate headquarters, employee training, warehouse, and distribution center in Norwood, MA.  At 86 points, the project has been certified LEED Platinum, and is the highest rated NC v2009 LEED project over 100,000 SF in Massachusetts, and is one of highest-rated projects of its kind in the United States.  Sustainable features include:

  • Photovoltaic array providing 228,500 kWh/ year (20% of the building’s energy needs)
  • Site utilizes rainwater collection and drought resistant landscaping
  • Over 30% of the building materials used were sourced within 500 miles of the site
  • Chilled beam HVAC system reduces the building’s energy use by 40%
  • LED lighting throughout and skylights for daylighting significantly reduce electricity usage
  • White roof assembly reduces the heat-island effect
  • High-efficiency plumbing fixtures are projected to reduce the facility’s water usage by 41%

The design and construction team worked hard to ensure that the project met the client’s goals, while paying careful attention to the $30 million budget and completing construction within 15 months.  

 

See more photos here: http://www.grlarchitects.com/subaru-of-new-england/


 

*for new construction, v2009

 

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ICON Architecture : “Did you know?”

By Emily Kingston on 9/18/2017

Did you know that ICON Architecture designed the first Multi-Family Passive House in Massachusetts?

Located on South Boston’s historic waterfront, The Distillery North is not only the first of its kind in Massachusetts, but is also the largest mixed-use Passive House in New England. Occupying a city block between Dorchester Street and H Street in South Boston, the project site was once a rum distillery connected to the Boston Harbor through working canals. The 5-story building now provides 28 ultra-sustainable units as the first phase of a multi-staged development. The Distillery North enhances the vibrant community with ground floor commercial space, a café, and a roof deck with sweeping views of the city.

The Distillery North achieves a total Primary Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 22.4 kBTU/sf/year, or an incredible 82% reduction of over the baseline estimate of 124.8 kBTU/sf/year for a midrise apartment building using ASHRAE 2013. It achieved a score of 98 LEED points, 8 points above Platinum under the LEED for Homes Midrise Version 3 Rating System. ICON Architecture is already developing its next Passive House projects, and looks forward to spreading this ultra-sustainable design method across New England. For more information – please visit ICON on the web at www.iconarch.com.

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Eversource unveils third solar site for Springfield

By Emily Kingston on 9/14/2017

Eversource is once again turning sunshine into electricity in Springfield, building its third universal solar facility in the city as part of its statewide commitment to renewable energy. Springfield is already home to two Eversource solar plants, one in Indian Orchard and the other on Cottage Street.
 
“At Eversource, our motto, ‘energy brings us together,’ is especially evident with longstanding partnerships like the one we have with the City of Springfield,” said Eversource Vice President of Business Development Mike Ausere. “We thank our community partners for their help and foresight bringing the benefits of solar power to their city. And we applaud state policymakers for the leadership that’s allowing competitively priced renewable energy to reach an increasing number of homes, businesses and communities across Massachusetts.”

“We have a longstanding partnership with Eversource that’s good for the environment and brings substantial benefits for our residents and their customers,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “Our collaboration on these solar projects helps us meet important renewable energy goals as well.”  

When the new 5.6 megawatt solar facility on Performance Boulevard is complete, this facility along with Eversource’s two other solar plants in Springfield will be capable of producing a total of nearly 12 megawatts of renewable electricity – enough to power approximately 2,000 homes. The energy company’s new facilities across the commonwealth will also represent a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions, equivalent to taking more than 6,000 cars off the road per year. Eversource’s three solar facilities will generate nearly 12 megawatts of clean energy toward the company’s 70 MW statewide goal.

Clean, emission-free energy from the sun also generates significant revenue for host communities. Along with the other benefits the solar facilities bring to Springfield, Eversource estimates it will pay more than $1 million in property taxes to the city annually for its three solar plants. Eversource is already the city’s largest taxpayer, having paid nearly $9 million in 2016 for all of its operations.

Springfield is one of several communities across Massachusetts that will host an Eversource owned and operated universal solar plants, including solar canopies like the one being built at the company’s East Springfield Service Center that, when completed, will be capable of generating close to 2 megawatts of power. Last December, the Department of Public Utilities approved the company’s plan to build on its commitment to clean solar energy, increasing the amount of solar power produced by Eversource in Massachusetts from 8 megawatts currently to a maximum of 70 megawatts statewide. 

The sites where new solar power plants are being built in both Western and Eastern Massachusetts have all undergone thorough inspections and analysis, making sure the property is accessible, environmentally suitable, and located where the facility can be interconnected with the local electricity grid. Members of Eversource’s solar and community relations teams met with city and town officials, as well as abutters, to keep them fully informed during the entire selection and construction process.

Along with the significant environmental benefits of increasing the number of utility-owned universal solar facilities in Massachusetts, there are substantial cost-saving benefits for electricity customers as well. The company estimates it will produce solar power for about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to upwards of 50 cents per kilowatt-hour for some private projects currently operating within the commonwealth.

Eversource will sell the solar energy it produces directly into the regional energy market and customers will benefit from the proceeds. Additionally, the company will receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits for the power it produces and will pass the savings along to customers through electricity rates. As a regulated electric utility in Massachusetts, Eversource will not receive net metering credits, which further reduces the price to customers.

Increasing its commitment to solar energy is one of many steps Eversource is taking to benefit the environment. For more information about the energy company’s environmental sustainability policy and programs, visit www.eversource.com.

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Pittsfield is first again as Eversource hits a major solar milestone in the Berkshires

By Emily Kingston on 7/27/2017

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Berkshires, a world- class cultural center renowned for magnificent forests and spacious mountains, also has a rapidly growing reputation as a Massachusetts green-energy hub. The city will soon be home to two universal solar facilities owned and operated by Eversource, together capable of producing more than 3 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.

Also in the Berkshires, the company is currently constructing a 2.3 megawatt site in Lee and conducting a feasibility study for a proposed 6.6 megawatt site in Dalton. If all projects move forward as planned, a total of four Eversource-owned solar plants in the Berkshires would be capable of producing more than 12 megawatts of clean, green power.

“We’re proud to be a leader in the clean energy future of Massachusetts as we bring more competitively priced, zero-emission solar power to customers across the commonwealth,” said Eversource Vice President of Business Development Mike Ausere. “We applaud and share the vision of state policy leaders to make the benefits of green energy available to an increasing number of homes, businesses and communities. We also want to thank our community partners for their help and foresight bringing the benefit of clean power to their communities.”

Last December, the Department of Public Utilities approved Eversource’s plan to increase its commitment to clean solar energy, expanding the amount of solar power produced by the company in Massachusetts from 8 megawatts currently to a maximum of 70 megawatts statewide.

Following months of site reviews, community meetings, engineering reports, and permit requests across Massachusetts, the site on Partridge Road in Pittsfield will be the first completed as part of Eversource’s solar expansion plan. The company built its very first solar installation in 2010 on Silver Lake in Pittsfield, becoming the first energy company in Massachusetts to receive approval from the commonwealth to develop a universal solar facility.

The sites where the solar power plants are being built in both Western and Eastern Massachusetts have all undergone thorough inspections and analysis, making sure the property is accessible, environmentally suitable, and able to accommodate ground-mounted solar panels. Members of Eversource’s solar and community relations teams have met with city and town officials, as well as abutters, to keep them fully informed during the entire site selection process.

Along with the significant environmental benefits of increasing the number of universal solar energy facilities in Massachusetts, there are substantial cost-saving benefits for Eversource customers as well. The company estimates it will produce solar power for about 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to upwards of 50 cents per kilowatt-hour for some private projects currently operating within the commonwealth.

Eversource will sell the solar energy it produces directly into the regional energy market and customers will benefit from the proceeds.  Additionally, the company will receive Solar Renewable Energy Credits for the power it produces and will pass the savings along to customers through electricity rates. As a regulated electric utility in Massachusetts Eversource will not receive net metering credits, which will further reduce the price to customers. Eversource also pays local property taxes on all of its solar facilities.

The company’s new facilities will also represent a significant reduction in greenhouse emissions, equivalent to taking more than 6,000 cars off the road per year.

Eversource (NYSE: ES) transmits and delivers electricity and natural gas to 1.7 million customers throughout Massachusetts, including approximately 1.4 million electric customers in 140 communities and 300,000 gas customers in 51 communities. Recognized as the top U.S. utility for its energy efficiency programs by the sustainability advocacy organization Ceres, Eversource harnesses the commitment of its approximately 8,000 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and superior customer service. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@eversourceMA) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceMA.)

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Eversource Massachusetts ranked top energy efficient utility in nation

By Emily Kingston on 6/15/2017

Eversource Massachusetts is number one in energy efficiency according to ACEEE’s first-ever scorecard of US utilities! The recently released report ranks the 51 largest energy companies nationwide on their energy efficiency programs, practices and innovations. Also placing in the top five is Eversource Connecticut, coming in at fourth place.  

ACEEE scored utilities based on three categories critical to energy efficiency-- quantitative savings and spending performance; program diversity and emerging areas; and targets, business models, and evaluation.

Eversource Massachusetts was recognized as one of only a few utilities taking some of the more forward-thinking energy efficiency approaches, such as promoting smart thermostats, residential geo-targeting, zero net energy buildings, and advanced space-heating heat pumps.

“We're honored to have achieved a number one performance ranking for our work in a state that has been first in the nation in energy efficiency for six years in a row," said Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner. "Our energy efficiency programs in Massachusetts save an estimated three dollars for every dollar spent, so customers truly benefit when they let us help them to use energy more wisely.” 

The company was rated especially strong in the number of high performing energy-saving initiatives they offer. ACEEE also praised the efficiency programs that are in place for low income residents. In total, Eversource Massachusetts saved more than 28 kWh per residential customer with their low income programs.

“As a utility that serves three states in New England, we’re heartened to have also earned a fourth place performance ranking in Connecticut,” added Conner.  “The dedication of our employees to administering effective, cost-efficient programs clearly crosses state lines.” Utilities in the Northeast, the highest-scoring region, earned, on average, 62% of total points, followed closely by those in the West, which earned 57%.

The Northeast average is more than twice that of utilities in the Southeast, the lowest-scoring region, and nearly twice that of utilities in the mid-Atlantic and the Southeast. For US electricity customers, utilities are the primary providers of energy efficiency programs. These programs benefit both households and businesses. Energy efficiency allows utilities to avoid or defer building new power plants, reduces pollutants associated with electricity generation, and can lower customer bills. 

For more information on Eversource Massachusetts’s energy efficiency initiatives, or to learn more about saving energy at home, visit Eversource.comand MassSave.com

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Levi + Wong Designs Memory Care Center in Worcester

By Emily Kingston on 1/24/2017

After three years in the making, the Oasis at Dodge Park is ready to welcome those facing dementia or Alzheimer’s to a state-of-the art, $12 million facility that its co-owners believe is a home away from home for people with memory ailments.

Following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, local official and legislators including State Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, D-Worcester, Mayor Joseph Petty and City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr., toured the 50-bed rest home at 102 Randolph Road - the site of the former Odd Fellows Home building.

Co-owners Ben Herlinger and Micha Shalev said they shared the vision of creating a facility that would provide people with memory ailments a safe place to live with dignity in a warm, relaxing environment.

They called on architect Ruth Neeman, of Levi & Wong Design Associates of Concord, which specializes in designing such facilities to design a space that is friendly and supportive for elders. Ms. Neeman said every detail counts when dealing with the elderly population including such design decisions as color contrast that can make the difference between seeing where they are going and what they are doing, for the visually impaired.

“Every decision makes a difference between residents thriving and struggling,” Ms. Neeman said at the ceremony. “The goal was to make a building feel like home, residential and comforting.”

The 34,000-square-foot facility has two grand sitting areas that include a grand piano and electric fireplace, as well as two dining areas, a library, spa, hair salon and two outdoor courtyards with heated cement floors so the snow melts, that make it feel more like a luxury hotel than a medical facility. There are only a handful residents living there currently, but at full capacity, Mr. Herlinger said, the facility will have 62 full-time employees.

Mayor Petty said that although the city went back and forth for a few months with Mr. Herlinger and Mr. Shalev, it was “well worth it.” He added that the city would support them with any future expansion.

“We’ll be there for you,” he said.

This post was adapted from the Worcester Telegram article "Oasis at Dodge Park provides memory care in Worcester"

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