James Robe's blog

Codman Academy Charter Public School’s Lithgow Building Renovation, designed by MDS, is on track to achieving LEED Gold certification

By Nereyda Rodriguez, RA, LEED AP BD+C Associate, Director of Sustainable Design on 9/22/2017

Codman Academy Charter Public School provides a transformative education that prepares students for success in college, further education and beyond. Its K-8 Lower School is housed in the historic 1890 Lithgow Building, located in the heart of Codman Square. Previously a vacant retail building, MDS designed the comprehensive renovation and adaptive reuse that converted its interior into a vibrant school.

Our design approach was inspired by the theme: “A Walk in the Woods“ and draws on Trauma Informed Design principles. The design incorporates a warm palette with elements of nature to create nurturing and safe environments where young scholars will flourish. Core classrooms are supported by adjacent breakout space and tutor rooms for small group instruction. 

Good air quality, access to natural light, and acoustical privacy were key components to our design approach. Floors, ceilings and walls keep both mechanical and reverberation noise down within the teaching spaces and were constructed to meet the LEED for Schools acoustical prerequisite requirements. Mechanical spaces are highly efficient displacement systems and all new light fixtures are LED.  The school opened for the 2015-16 school year and is on track to achieving LEED Gold certification.


About MDS

MDS/Miller Dyer Spears is an architecture, planning and interior design firm based in Boston. Specializing in programmatically and technically complex renovation, expansion, and adaptive reuse projects, the firm works with institutions, schools, public agencies, developers, and communities to design buildings and spaces that enrich the user experience, advance mission and strengthen community. MDS is an adopter of the AIA Architecture 2030 Challenge and committed to reducing GHG emissions of the built environment and creating environments that support user health and wellness.http://www.mds-bos.com/


The Greenbuild Plenary Speaker will be President Bill Clinton

By James Robe, Communications and Outreach Manager on 9/18/2017

William Jefferson Clinton, the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, led the United States to the longest economic expansion in American history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.

After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation in order to continue working on the causes he cared about. Since its founding, the Foundation has endeavored to help build more resilient communities by developing and implementing programs that improve people’s health, strengthen local economies, and protect the environment.

The Foundation is guided by the belief that every problem has a solution and together with a diverse set of partners, works to improve lives around the globe and across the United States through a wide range of initiatives, including the now independent Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which has helped over 11 million people in more than 70 countries access critical HIV/AIDS medications at CHAI-negotiated prices. The Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Development Initiative, and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership are applying a business-oriented approach to promote sustainable economic growth and fight climate change in Africa, Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean. In the United States, the Foundation is focused on helping children and adults live full and active lives by working to combat the rise in childhood obesity through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership 

forged with the American Heart Association; reduce health disparities and address emerging health threats like the opioid epidemic by partnering with local communities through the Clinton Health Matters Initiative; and increase awareness about the importance of early childhood development through the Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative.

The Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock remains the heart and soul of the Clinton Foundation, and since it opened its doors in 2004, the Clinton Center has hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, catalyzing $3.3 billion in economic impact throughout the community. Today, the Clinton Center also cooperatively manages the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program—a joint effort between the George W. Bush PresidentialCenter, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation that seeks to equip emerging leaders with the tools they need to drive positive change in their communities.

Above all, President Clinton has always believed that we can do more together than any of us can do on our own. In 2005, he founded the Clinton Global Initiative to foster partnerships among governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and private citizens to turn good ideas into measurable results. To date, over 3,600 CGI commitments have already improved the lives of more than 435 million people in more than 180 countries. CGI’s work continues through these ongoing commitments and through the Clinton Global Initiative University which this year, celebrates 10 years of bringing together college and university students from every corner of the globe to turn good ideas into action.

In addition to his continuing roles with the Foundation and CHAI, President Clinton has joined with other former Presidents to support relief efforts for communities recovering from natural disasters—partnering with President George H.W. Bush three times to organize aid and support for those affected by the 2004 tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, and with President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to raise money and assistance for communities devastated by the storm. To this day, the Clinton Foundation continues to support economic growth, job creation and sustainability in communities across Haiti.

President Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. He and his wife Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton have one daughter, Chelsea; two grandchildren, and live in Chappaqua, New York.

Greenbuild Plenary takes place Thursday, November 9, 6:00-7:30 pm

Biomimicry New England - RGBC Meeting September 11th, 2017

By Molly Cox on 9/12/2017

The Residential Green Building Committee gathered on September 11th, 2017. We had some new faces, so it was great to meet folks in the green building space, working towards the same goal.

We had a guest presentation from Peter Lawrence, President and co-founder of Biomimicry New England, a nonprofit organization. He presented on biomimicry and how bioinspired buildings come to fruition and remain resilient.

First off, what is biomimicry? It is about learning from nature, as Peter explained. He gave a formal definition of “Conscious emulation of natural forms, processes and systems to solve problems.”

Peter mentioned Sir Joseph Paxton, an exemplary figure who practiced biomimicry through his building design, most notably the Crystal Palace. He was inspired by what he had witnessed in the natural world, during his work as a gardener for the 6th Duke of Devonshire.

Peter continued to list some examples of existing technology, with its origination based on the nature that surrounds us. See below for examples of innovative companies, practicing biomimicry:  

  • Take bees for instance, as they instinctively act in such a way that benefits the entire swarm they are part of. Encycle has created a product based on this swarm intelligence, via Swarm Logic. This technology allows RTU units on buildings to communicate independently, just like the bees communicate without direction from their queen bee.
  • Sharklet Technologies, Inc. is another firm, that produced a product that mimics the way sharks keep algae from collecting on their coats, and applies it to hulls of submarines and ships.
  • NBD nano manufactures a coating, that replicates the same sensation that occurs on the back of the Namib Desert Beetle. The beetle has a hydrophobic surface that rejects water, and as a method of hydration for the beetle, the surface of the beetle’s back allows water to roll down and into its mouth.
  • Brent Constantz at Blue Planet, created a carbon mix which uses less energy than manufacturing the conventional concrete we use so much in buildings. This carbon block production emulates coral in the ocean, which harvests Carbon Dioxide naturally.



Peter went on to tell us about projects he is working on. Biomimicry and Resilience is a course his company ran earlier in June, and are looking to expand their courses and teacher base. Feel free to reach out to someone on the RGBC committee or Peter directly, if you would like to learn more.

Peter noted that understanding nature’s process is integral to biomimicry, especially when creating product based on this practice. We should not be fighting nature, but rather learning how to live like the natural world around us.

The Living Building Challenge is a leading example of biomimicry practices at its finest. Speaking of, come join us for the “Introduction to the Living Building Challenge” on September 28th (register HERE). Also, come join the chapter for the “September Greenbuild Mixer with JLL” on September 21st (register HERE).

Catch you at our next RGBC meeting on October 16th!


USGBC Emerging Professionals MA 2017 Bike Tour: Allston/ Brighton Sustainable Development

By Moira Cronin on 9/11/2017

August 26th, the USGBC Emerging Professionals MA Bike Team selected the Allston/Brighton neighborhood of Boston for this year’s tour because of the area’s influx of new, sustainable development. The route varied from public and private community spaces, to mixed-use, mixed-income, transit oriented developments (TOD) in the post construction, lease-up phase. All stops on the tour were chosen to highlight Allston/Brighton’s vibrant and unique neighborhood as well as compliment team member’s professional backgrounds and interests.

The first stop of the Bike Tour was Boston Landing’s Warrior Ice Arena, 90 Guest Street, a state of the art ice rink facility. Both The Boston Bruins and the public can use the gorgeous rink, hours of use are listed on their website.

Pictured Above: Warrior Ice Arena

Facility manager, Marissa Marwell, gave an enlightening tour of the rink explaining the science behind the rink and the igloo-like window design.  The rink also recycles the heat distributed from the chilling process under the ice and distributes that warm air into the function rooms and other areas of the facility that require heat.  All the equipment used in the facility is electric to improve the indoor air quality.

Warrior Ice Arena opened one year ago this month and is open for public skating on the weekend.  Check out the “Rock n’ Skate” on Fridays from 8-10pm or some of the other fun events on the master schedule!

Pictured Above: The Bike Tour group at Warrior Ice Arena

Marissa also detailed the growth of Boston Landing including the adjacent New Balance Headquarters, new Boston Landing Commuter Rail Station, 280+ condominium units at the Residences at 125 Guest Street, restaurants, retail and upcoming track for the New Balance Running Team.  The New Balance Headquarters is attaining LEED v2009 Platinum and is the only building in the US to achieve all IEQ credits.  There are several unique features to this building that can be viewed during one of the Greenbuild building tours. Learn more about the TM11 – Developers Changing the Status Quo tour!

Next we biked to Allston’s newest condominium community, Trac 75. Addressed 75 Braintree Street, Trac 75 is a LEED silver, 80-unit condominium building.  It has an expansive roof deck, with views of the City and surround area.  The new building also has a landscaped dog park named Bark Park, dog spa and on-site fitness center.

Pictured Above: The Bike Tour group at 430 Cambridge Street

Then we rode over to 430 Cambridge Street. A mixed-used, mixed-income rental apartment style building in Lower-Allston.  Minutes from the Pike, numerous bus lines and Harvard Square, Cambridge.  This building is in the final construction and lease-up stages.  Designed to have almost as many bike spots as there are vehicle spaces- reflecting the City’s urge to reduce vehicle dependency.


Pictured Above: The Bike Tour group at Continuum

Next we learned about the sustainable design of Continuum, located at 219 Western Ave, from a previous EP Ryan Montoni, Project Manager at The Green Engineer.  Continuum is v2009 LEED Gold mixed-use, mixed-income rental apartment complex adjacent to Harvard University’s Business School and athletic facilities.  There is a large, beautifully lit terrace between the two buildings, as well as a large bike storage facility and fitness center on site.  A Trader Joe’s, coffee shop and Jewish deli, Our Father’s Deli is opening in Continuum’s retail space.

Pictured Above: The Bike Tour group at Library Park

We rode over to the Raymond V. Mellone Library Park, on North Harvard Street, to take a sustainable lunch break in the serene gardens of Allston.  Located behind Allston’s Public Library, this lesser-known park is an oasis from the ever busy streets of Allston.  As part of the Harvard University Lower Allston Master Plan vision, this 1.75 acre of reclaimed green space serves as an anchor to the future green corridor to connect Lower Allston to the Charles River.  The park highlights many sustainable features including salvaged material use, native plantings and stormwater mitigation through groundwater recharge and an extensive rain garden. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates designed this park with funding from Harvard University.

Pictured Above: The Bike Tour group at HBS Tata Hall

With refueled energy, we road to the Harvard Business School Tata Hall.  Built in 2013, Tata Hall is LEED Platinum and a mixed- use building.  It has thick glass sidings to maximize natural light and transparency to the green spaces surrounding the building, providing panoramic views of the Charles River.  Tata Hall provides 48% water saving compared to an Energy Policy Act of 1992 baseline.  Also a notable 43% reduction in energy costs compared to the baseline standard (ASHRAE 90.1-2007), estimated via energy modeling.

Pictured Above: The Bike Tour group at the Warrior “#selfiestick”

We closed out our bike tour riding along the Charles Esplanade, enjoying the views and knowledge gained from our tour guides and friends at Boston Landing and Continuum. Thank you to Jenna Dancewicz, Ben Silverman, Aminah McNulty and Moira Cronin, for planning the tour!  Thank you once again to our sponsor, NB Development Group!

Join in on the fun next year!


Join this year’s Green Apple Day of Service

By James Robe, Outreach and Communication Manager on 9/3/2017

Join this year’s Green Apple Day of Service

Green Apple Day of Service kicks off this month! The Day of Service is an opportunity to join schools across the world in celebrating the central role that schools play in preparing the next generation of global leaders. Since 2012, more than 790,000 volunteers in 73 countries have participated in events, affecting the learning environments of over 7 million students and teachers. With 1 in 8 people around the globe attending a school every day, there is more work to be done!

Every event is chance to give students hands-on experience with sustainability and to strengthen civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills.

This year, participants make a commitment at the start of school and name their own project date for any time throughout the school year. To help with fundraising, Green Apple Day of Service is using the DonorsChoose.org platform to drive donations to schools, and the Center for Green Schools and its partners are providing thousands of dollars in match funding to projects that receive donations from their communities. Projects receive tailored guidance for their specific project date and project type, and they are eligible for prizes just by keeping up with planning and executing their project.

You can learn more about Green Apple Day of Service and sign up at greenapple.org.


Information and questions you may have

What is it?
Green Apple Day of Service is a unique moment to join schools across the world to celebrate the central role that schools play
in preparing the next generation of leaders in sustainability. A school’s event is an opportunity to give students hands-on
experience with sustainability, strengthening civic leadership, environmental literacy, and project management skills. Since it
began in 2012, the Day of Service has inspired almost a million people in over 70 countries to act in support of sustainability
at their schools.

How does it work?
Green Apple Day of Service is your day of action on a specific day that you choose during the school year. Starting on
September 1, schools register their project on greenapple.org and name their date. Day of Service projects commit to making
measurable change on one or more of the three pillars of a green school: environmental impact, health and wellness, and
environmental and sustainability literacy. Projects make this impact at a school in a way that directly and positively affects
the students.

What’s in it for our school?
Green Apple Day of Service provides direct value to teachers and schools that sign up to participate. Participants will receive
tailored guidance for their specific project date and project type, and they’ll be rewarded with prizes for keeping up with
planning and executing the project. Green Apple Day of Service is also using the DonorsChoose.org platform to catalyze
donations to schools, promoting local projects through our volunteer network and providing thousands of dollars in match
funding to projects that receive donations from their communities.

Top 10 Green Roofs in Massachusetts

By Elise Simons on 8/31/2017

A Green Roof is a layer of vegetation added to the roof of a building. Green roofs absorb and filter rainwater, improving water quality and reducing the risk of flooding. They also improve air quality, lower building heating and cooling costs by mitigating the urban heat island effect, provide valuable green space in densely developed areas, and serve as a habitat for birds and other species. Because of its many environmental and energy-savings benefits, a green roof can be an important component of a green building’s LEED certification.

Green roofs come in all shapes and sizes, and can be found on commercial buildings, residential homes, parking garages, and university rooftops. Some are private gardens or workplace retreats; others are museum showpieces or urban farms. Some are planted with thin, lightweight plants and are intended to improve a building’s energy efficiency while being enjoyed from afar. Others are built like parks with trees and benches, and are meant to be enjoyed up close.

Because of the many environmental, social, and economic benefits of adding vegetation to rooftops, green roofs (also called living roofs or roof gardens) have risen in popularity over the past several years. Here are 10 of the best green roofs in Massachusetts.


10: The Burnham Building, Downtown Crossing, Boston

The half-acre roof of the Burnham Building provides environmental benefits for the neighbors and visitors in the streets below. (Source:Recover Green Roofs)

As part of the new Millennium Tower development at Downtown Crossing, the historic Burnham Building was retrofitted with a half-acre, multi-level sedum rooftop. Designed by renowned 20th-century architect Daniel Burnham, this former site of the Filene’s department store was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The green roof and other building efficiency improvements were therefore incorporated into the building with great care. Besides creating an enjoyable view for nearby offices and apartments, these green rooftops decrease wind speeds and reduce flooding and water polluting during rain storms, creating a more enjoyable outdoor experience for Downtown Crossing shoppers, commuters, and sunny-day-strollers below.


9: Twin Rooftop Patios: Residential Getaways in Cambridge

Two Cambridge homeowners prove you can have your green backyard and your city view too. (Source: Recover Green Roofs.)

It can be a tough call for city-dwellers: keep your city apartment with easy access to all the urban amenities, or retreat to that green suburban oasis and enjoy your own private backyard? Green roofs ask a different question: why choose? Thanks to a new zoning code easing restrictions on building developments, Cambridge is leading the charge on residential green roof patios. These two homeowners were the first in Cambridge to build green roofs on their homes for personal use. The two roofs include playspace for the kids, a vegetable garden, relaxing patio areas, and of course an excellent view of the city. Building a green roof as your own private city oasis in the city is the newest trend in green building development.

For examples of more residential green roofs in Massachusetts, visit the residential green roof pages for Recover Green Roofs and Apex Green Roofs.


8: Avigilon Offices at 450 Artisan Way, Assembly Row, Somerville

An Office Oasis overlooks the Mystic River at Assembly Square’s new transit-oriented development. (Source: Recover Green Roofs/Patrick Rogers Photography.)


Green roofs are good for the environment, improving water quality and reducing energy costs, but they are also good for people, improving health and morale: some green roofs, like this one, are able to accomplish both. Formerly a brownfield site, Assembly Row in Somerville is quickly developing into a booming mixed-use development featuring shops, offices, and apartments, alongside the Orange Line and the Mystic River. 450 Artisan Way, the first LEED Gold office building in Somerville, is one of three rooftops in Assembly Row topped with energy-saving green roof technology. This green roof filters rainwater and contributes to the currently-underway clean-up and revitalization of the historically polluted Mystic River. Pedestrian paths and benches give visitors and office workers a place to relax and enjoy the view. Designed by Copley Wolf Design Group and built by Recover Green Roofs, this rooftop green space features shade and wind-tolerant plants and an excellent view of the river.


7: North Shore Community College Green Roof, Danvers

The green roof on the Health Professions & Student Services Building at North Shore Community College is one of many green roofs used as educational tools at Massachusetts schools. (Source: Recover Green Roofs.)

Colleges and Universities are excellent locations for green roof installations. Their large institutional buildings offer ample roof space for greenery, and energy efficient buildings with rooftop gardens make for an attractive and enjoyable campus environment. Most importantly, green roofs in educational spaces serve as research and educational tools for students and raise awareness about the technology in the general campus population. The North Shore Community College Health Professions and Student Services Building, the first state-owned zero-net energy building in Massachusetts, was built with a green roof not only to qualify for LEED Gold Certification but also to act as a teaching tool for students. Designed by Copley Wolff Design Group and maintained by Recover Green Roofs, the building’s green rooftop features modular trays with different green roof species plantings. These trays are intended to serve as teaching and research tools for students in biology and plant science courses. Other Massachusetts universities and colleges that have installed green roofs for educational and research purposes and general student and faculty enjoyment include Smith College, Tufts University,  Simmons College, MIT, Harvard University (see #3), and many more.

Honorable Mention: Holyoke Community College Kittredge Center, the first public green roof in the state.


6. Atlantic Wharf

Atlantic Wharf’s Green Roof Terrace overlooks Fort Point Channel. (Source: Halvorson Design/Ed Wonsek.)

Situated on the Boston Harborwalk, Atlantic Wharf is the first skyscraper in Boston to achieve LEED Platinum Certification.  With help from a green roof terrace on the 8th floor, Atlantic Wharf uses 33% less energy and 69% less water than other downtown office towers. The green roof terrace tops the historic Tufts building, which was restored and incorporated into the Atlantic Wharf complex. Not only do the rooftop plants provide an enjoyable view for building visitors and office workers, but the roof also features crushed stone paths to welcome visitors right on the roof.

Honorable Mention: The Prudential Center Roof Garden provides residential and retail access in an urban center.


5. Whole Foods Farm, Lynnfield

Produce grown on the roof of this Lynnfield Whole Foods Market is sold directly in the store below. (Source: Recover Green Roofs/Maureen White Photography.)

There is nothing quite like the sensation of buying food right where it was grown. With urban agriculture on the rise, many rooftops are now seen as prime real estate for food growing ventures. While some rooftop farms (see item #1) grow food in raised beds and nutrient-dense soil media, the Whole Foods Farm in Lynnfield, MA features crops grown directly in the soil on a 17,000-square-foot parcel of the grocery store’s roof. Designed and installed by Recover Green Roofs and farmed by Green City Growers, this rooftop farm uses locally sourced compost and soils to grow 10,000 pounds of produce each year. Amazingly, this “hyper-local” produce is sold in-store year-round (thanks to a solar tunnel) and at about the same price as other in-store vegetables.


4. 101 Seaport Roof Terrace, Seaport District

90 planting segments cover a 15,640 sq. ft roof terrace on top of Boston’s 101 Seaport Boulevard LEED Platinum Office Tower. (Source: Apex Green Roofs)

Green Roofs should be recognized not only for their environmental benefits, but also for the benefits they provide to human health and quality of life. In dense urban pockets where green space is hard to find, green roofs provide a much-needed respite from the urban lifestyle. Designed by Apex Green Roofs and Copley Wolff Design Group, the Roof Terrace at 101 Seaport Boulevard is one of many living roof decks in downtown Boston (see #8) that raises morale for the workers in the office buildings below. Office workers can spend their lunch breaks enjoying the view alongside two-dozen species of native plants adorning one third of their office building’s rooftop. This green roof is planted in single-species blocks unique to Apex Green Roofs’ design style, and has provided an opportunity for green roof designers to test which plant species are most suited to sky-high living conditions.

Honorable mention: Office rooftop at 75 State Street, Boston.


3. Harvard Business School Innovation Lab, Cambridge

Batten Hall Green Roof at Harvard Business School, Cambridge. Installed by Apex Green Roofs in 2014. (Source: Apex Green Roofs)

Originally the site of the WGBH-TV studio, Harvard University’s Batten Hall re-opened in 2011 retrofitted with a new green roof crown and a LEED gold certification. It is part of a larger Harvard green roof network that provides environmental benefits and cost savings while providing pleasant views for students from their dorms and classrooms. Of the five vegetated roofs at Harvard Business School, only Batten Hall’s roof is “intensive,” meaning it is built with enough soil depth to support multiple, deep-rooting plant species. What was once a plain, gravel-covered roof now boasts 19 wild plant species and plays host to several beehives. In addition to water savings, the roof insulates the building from the sun, reducing energy and money spent on building heating and cooling costs. With nearby solar panels providing the Innovation Lab with all its energy needs, it is no wonder that Harvard refers to Batten Hall as Harvard’s Greenest Roof.

Honorable Mention: The Harvard Business School McArthur/McCollum Building by Recover Green Roofs and Omni Ecosystems. Its unique design involving ultra-light soils and diverse native plantings is intended to mimic a natural meadow.







2. Norman B. Leventhal Park, Post Office Square

Norman B. Leventhal Park, a street level green roof on top of a parking garage, is enjoyed by patrons of Post Office Square. (Source: Halvorson Design, Ed Wonsek.)

OK, we know what you’re thinking: a park at ground level is hardly a roof. In fact, the centerpiece of Post Office Square was a parking garage until the 1990s, when Norman B. Leventhal and several community groups organized around the idea of moving the parking garage underground and topping it with a street-level park. With its flowing fountain, trellised benches, and glass café, this garage-roof park brings together tourists, commuters, city-dwellers, and office workers on their lunch breaks. The park even provides yoga classes, free sitting cushions, and a mobile library. The park also reduces air and noise pollution, and the bathrooms in the parking garage below run on recycled water. Good for the environment and good for the community – and you still have a place to park in the building below.

Honorable mention: the Rose Kennedy Greenway, an innovative tunnel-top park that runs through Boston, was the perfect green topping for the Big Dig project to move I-93 underground, and it makes a nice change from the busy highway that is now housed beneath it.


1. Fenway Farms: the Fenway Park Rooftop Garden

A 7,000-sq. ft organic farm overlooking Yawkey Way. Organic produce is available to Fenway Park patrons. (Source: Recover Green Roofs)

What better place to celebrate urban green space than atop Boston’s greenest landmark? What was once a boring, sweltering-hot black roof overlooking Yawkey Way is now a riot of plants and organic vegetables. Installed by Recover Green Roofs and tended by Green City Growers, the Farm at Fenway Park makes for a pleasant and delicious view for fans catching the game. Since it opened in 2015, Fenway Farms has improved air and water quality for the neighborhood, conserved energy for the Red Sox front offices, and provided 4,000 lbs. of organic produce each year for hungry fans at EMC Club and in the ballpark. All leftover produce is donated to the community group Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Next time you go to catch a game, don’t forget to check out this garden in the sky.

Honorable Mention: Boston Medical Center Rooftop Farm, a brand new 2017 installation by Recover Green Roofs, provides morale-boosting green views for hospital patrons.

These are ten of our favorite green roofs in the Commonwealth – but what are yours? Tell us about the great green roofs we may have missed or that you wish had been included in the comments below.

Additional information provided by Sadie Ide, Apex Green Roofs, and Serena Galleshaw, Recover Green Roofs


Due date coming up - Dept of Energy 11th Annual Leading by Example Awards

By James Robe, Outreach and Communication Manager on 8/29/2017

The application forms for the Department of Energy Resource's 11th Annual Leading by Example Awards are now available online. The LBE Awards recognize state agencies, public colleges and universities, and municipalities, plus public sector staff or volunteers, for outstanding efforts in implementing policies and programs that result in measureable environmental and energy benefits.

Public Entity and Individual applications are now available online. Applications are due by Tuesday, September 26 at 5:00PM. Recipients will be recognized at a ceremony at the State House later this year. If you have any questions contact Trey Gowdy, the Sustainability Project Coordinator at Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources via trey.gowdy@state.ma.us and 617-626-7328.


The Science of Lab Design

By Bob Laurence, Manager of Energy Efficiency, Eversource on 8/24/2017

Northeastern University’s new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) features 234,000 square feet of space that houses a vibrant interdisciplinary research community. The six-story complex is mixed with labs and classrooms organized around one central atrium.

It’s also a really cool building. And, you don’t need a microscope to see the state-of-the-art design and energy-efficient technologies. 

The university worked collaboratively with Eversource and the design team to identify energy-saving measures and technical expertise to jump start the project. Then, they explored financial resources available through the Mass Save program. Armed with energy-efficient recommendations, architecture firm Payette, engineering firm Arup, and general contractor Suffolk Construction then worked together to bring this stunning building to life.

In fact, ISEC is designed to use 75 percent less energy than a typical intensive research building. Let’s uncover the science of this innovative lab design and its technologies.

• Climate responsive building envelope – The complex is equipped with triple-glazed windows, which reduce glass condensation and prevent heat loss. ISEC also features sun-shading aluminum “fins” to maximize daylight penetration while minimizing heat gain. This basically means a huge comfort boost for students and faculty inside the building—while the university saves on energy costs.

• Variable Air Volume (VAV) fume hoods – While a fume hood may be the most important safety feature in a lab, it’s also a big energy user. Labs use tremendous volumes of exhaust to flush out potentially hazardous fumes. Northeastern added high-performance VAV hoods, which exhaust the amount of air required to maintain a safe velocity setpoint. They also reduce the hood’s supply fan speed and maintain the desired temperature and humidity. Simply put, VAVs maximize safety while minimizing energy consumption.

• Enhanced airside systems – Many labs have a dedicated HVAC system, which can often be expensive to operate. ISEC boasts a cascade system that recovers conditioned air from its offices and atrium, then transfers the air to the labs to save energy and costs. In fact, an approximate 50 percent reduction in energy use over baseline building standards is expected, thanks to this highefficiency cascade approach to recirculating warm and cooled air.  

• Occupancy-based airflow controls – Many older labs with low fume-hood counts operate at 10 air changes per hour (ACH) or above, 24 hours a day. Northeastern’s new VAV fume hoods and added airflow controls will reduce its lab ventilation rates from 6 ACH to 4 ACH whenever labs and equipment room spaces are detected to be unoccupied.  

As an added bonus, ISEC is also on track for LEED Gold Certification. Visit www.northeastern.edu/isec to learn more about the building.  

To learn more about Eversource’s energy efficiency programs and green building design solutions, contact Bob Laurence via email Robert.Laurence@eversource.com, or visit www.eversource.com.  


Don't miss out on Greenbuild Networking Night!

By James Robe, Outreach and Communication Manager on 8/24/2017

We're just a month away from our next Greenbuild Networking Night as part of our Road to Greenbuild. Catch up with old friends, exchange new business cards, and get insider updates about Greenbuild before anyone else. To register for the event, click here.

Our last Greenbuild Networking Night was attended by over 100 members and green building enthusiasts who enjoyed a night of food and drinks. It was great to have our engaging community together in one place again to share our excitement about Greenbuild. Highlights of our past events include Judy Nitsch, Chair of the Host Committee and Founder of Nitsch Engineering, sharing some updates on the Greenbuild committees, and exclusive info from our own Emily Kingston!


Event Schedule

5:30-6:00: Networking and drinks

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

6:30-8:00: Networking


If you become a USGBC MA member, you can get a free ticket to this event. Becoming a member also gives you discounts on our other events. If you're a student, emerging professional, or government official, you can receive a discount for membership to the Chapter. Please email james@usgbcma.org for further details, and register for the event here.

Greetings from our new Outreach and Communication Manager

By James Robe, Outreach and Communication Manager on 8/23/2017

I am incredibly happy and thankful to have accepted the position of Communication and Outreach Manager for USGBC MA. I first became interested in communication related to climate change and environmental science in college, where I lead all website development for Spire: The Maine Journal of Conservation and Sustainability. Since then, I have made it my personal goal to get involved in communication and education related to science and climate change, making USGBC MA an ideal fit to pursue this mission.

Before joining the team I have worked as a graphic designer at L.L.Bean, and in product management at the strategic marketing company West Cary Group. I obtained my bachelor’s degree at the University of Maine in Mass Communication, Graphic Design, and New Media, with a focus on science communication. I am excited to use my expertise in strategic communication, analytics, and graphic design to further the mission of USGBC MA. As Green-build 2017 approaches, I hope to expand and redesign aspects of our media presence to accommodate the extra website traffic and other needs associated with the event.

If anyone would like to contact me with any questions or just for a greeting, please reach out to james@usgbcma.org.


James Robe

Outreach and Communication Manager for USGBC MA

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