EPMA Meeting Recap: Walden Pond Visitor Center

EPMA Meeting Recap: Walden Pond Visitor Center

Written by Kelsey Margulies

At last week’s USGBC EPMA meeting I presented three works by Maryann Thompson Architects. MTA’s portfolio specializes in architecture that is sustainable, regionally driven, and that attempts to heighten the phenomenological qualities of the particular site. These three projects especially demonstrate how environmentally-friendly principles become another layer in the overall human experience.

The Walden Pond Visitor Center, built in 2016, is a net-zero consumption building that implements passive solar principles. The wooden structure blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape while solar panels over the nearby parking lot provide year-round energy. Geothermal House, built in 2006, also shows how passive solar principles can be integrated in contemporary residential design. The activities within the house follow the path of the sun throughout the day, beginning on the East-facing kitchen and concluding on the West terrace. Zero Energy House, also built in 2006, was the first LEED certified single-family residence in Massachusetts. The 3-bedroom, 3-bath, open floor plan home reveals how new construction can be accomplished within a reasonable budget.

Sustainability is not necessarily only about energy consumption and material resources, well-designed structures also create a sense of permanence. Whether a single family home or a program open to the public, most buildings are intended to last at least a few generations. Constructing well-loved spaces with a lasting positive experience is an essential consideration in sustainable design.

EPMA Presentation Recap: Spreading the Benefits of Solar Access to All

Hello, my name is Andrew Breiter-Wu and I recently presented at the USGBC MA Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts meeting in October and discussed how my firm Breiter Planet Properties is Spreading the Benefits of Solar Access to All. It was a pleasure to have a packed room of the great network of friends, connections, and new members.

My firm, Breiter Planet Properties is a socially conscious energy consulting firm that has a goal of providing solar access to all. We empower property owners and ratepayers across the globe by educating and consulting with them on their best solar options, connecting them to the best solar developer and contractor, and demystifying a very confusing and cluttered industry. We help commercial, residential, utility, non-profit, residential, and community clients.

The challenge that our firm is helping to address is the fact that 80% of Americans cannot install rooftop solar due to being a renter or condo owner, tree shading, unqualified roof conditions, or having a low credit score. I faced this on a regular basis when I was previously employed by the larger enterprise level solar companies and was tasked with notifying customers of their property being unqualified based on one of these factors. The majority of the major solar companies stay focused on the 20% of homes that are qualified for solar.

Breiter Planet Properties focuses on helping and providing solar access to 100% of electric ratepayers. We believe that clean energy has the ability to drive social, economic, and environmental changes and benefits to millions of communities across the country. We believe that people want choice in deciding where they purchase their electricity from. We believe that it’s wrong that millions cannot afford their electric costs. Ultimately, we believe that everyone should have the right to purchase clean energy.

The solution that we help many of our clients with is community solar. It allows people to reduce their electric costs by subscribing to electricity produced from local solar farms. Instead of “Eat Local” or “Shop Local,” its “Power Local.”

The process of how community solar works is straightforward and is explained in the infographic below. There is no need to change any wiring, install equipment on your property, or go through a long construction process.

At the end of the day, electricity consumers have two choices, they can either stick with dirty, expensive energy sourced from old, outdated infrastructure, or they can make the switch to clean electricity produced from cheaper, renewable sources. What would you choose?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me directly via email at [email protected]

EMD Serono SagaMORE wins Green Building of the Year

EMD Serono SagaMORE wins Green Building of the Year

EMD Serono’s Project SagaMORE has received both the 2018 Green Building of the Year and the Market Leader in Health and Wellness Awards from the USGBC Massachusetts.  It is a 30,000 SF expansion to EMD’s R&D campus in Billerica. The existing office building and addition have jointly achieved WELL Gold certification for New & Existing Construction from the International Well Building InstituteTM (IWBI).  It is the first New & Existing Building WELL Certified Gold project in the US and only the second in the world.

In 2015, Project Sagamore renovations transformed an existing manufacturing plant on the campus into 24,000 SF of new office space for 200 researchers.  Guided by EMD’s Four C’s of Choice, Comfort, Collaboration, and Challenging the norms, the company aspired to provide a best-in-class workspace to retain and attract industry talent .  That project achieved LEED Platinum certification and incorporated many goals of the WELL certification program, which did not exist at the time. Major design features included promoting the use of stairs rather than elevators, natural daylight and outdoor views, ergonomics, and a sense of place.  This renovation quickly became the most popular research office space on campus.

As a result of the project’s success, and the need for even more office space, Ellenzweig and Intec designed an addition that more than doubles the 2015 office renovation.  Named Project SagaMORE, its design challenge was to further improve on the design successes of Project Sagamore while achieving both WELL and LEED certification.

As a pharmaceutical company, EMD is committed to health regeneration.  That ethos inspired a biophilic design solution that both physically and metaphorically manifests itself in the new addition.   As a result, health and wellness features and amenities are found throughout the project. Central to the new facility is the Lobby Commons that sits between the original and new office buildings.  It features a prominent “river” of planting that wends its way from the exterior entry plaza into, and through, the space.   Alongside that planting, a prominent stepped seating staircase invites walking to the second floor rather than opting for the elevator.  A café, alcove and countertop seating, as well as huddle rooms round out the wide variety of collaborative and quiet gathering spaces that surround the commons.  All of these spaces are naturally day-lit in combination with circadian rhythm LED lighting.

Fundamental to both the lobby commons and other neighborhoods in the building, is visual connection to the outdoor landscape, and access to a wide variety of workspace environments.  For instance, people can be extroverted or introverted; some tasks require isolated concentration, others spirited collaboration. As result, SagaMORE includes dedicated open-office sit-stand desks, private hoteling offices, telephone rooms, huddle rooms, conference rooms, banquet booths, quiet rooms, and outdoor workspaces.  This humane variety of spaces that focus on well-being has demonstrably increased overall employee engagement.

Deeply integrated into the interior, as well as exterior entry elements, is the lively incorporation of EMD’s Merck corporate branding graphics that are based on a visual language of monochromatic cellular shapes and bright accent colors.  Complimentary to the biophilic forms of the building, they are incorporated into the walls, portals, and flooring to further reinforce the health regeneration mission of the company.

The SagaMORE project incorporates low-VOC emitting interior furnishings and finishes; high-efficiency LED interior lighting that promotes proper circadian rhythms; planters full of natural vegetation.  The campus does not provide, or make available, any food or beverages containing Trans Fats or with a high or sugar content (such as soda or junk food) within the facility or its vending machines.

The design and construction team for EMD’s Project SagaMORE understood that the products and materials specified and installed would eventually need to pass performance verification to achieve WELL certification.  As a result, everyone understood that all planning decisions would influence the project’s potential to become a certified building. To that end, its successful passing of the performance verification was an accomplishment not only for the design team, but also for the occupants.

WELL goes beyond designing healthy spaces – it drives building operators to facilitate occupant exercise and behavior.  Projects that provide outdoor gardening space and support, or provide alternative commuter facilities (i.e. bike storage and showers) and organizations that incentivize physical activities are just a few of the ways WELL works to improve building occupant health.  The implementation of WELL features demonstrate how buildings can, and should improve occupant health. WELL v1 is organized into 7 concepts: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind, and certification is performance based. 

The SagaMORE project at EMD Serono is currently pending LEED NC certification.  It is expected to achieve a Gold rating with 42% water use reduction, 30% energy cost reduction, and 82% reduction in construction waste.

Energy Efficiency and Teamwork Earn Additional Awards for Bentley University

Energy Efficiency and Teamwork Earn Additional Awards for Bentley University

Unveiled in 2017, the multi-purpose Bentley Arena was built to serve as the new home to the university’s NCAA Division I hockey team and prominent university events. In 2018, Bentley Arena added a LEED platinum certification, the highest possible rating, from the U.S. Green Building Council to its trophy case.

This year Bentley University was also presented with the USGBC Massachusetts Chapter’s Eversource Energy Optimization award during the Green Building Showcase and celebration of sustainable design and construction of buildings across the state.

Several projects from the Eversource electric and gas territory were considered, however, the Bentley team rose to the top for meeting the key criteria of a commitment to energy efficiency in an integrated and interdisciplinary fashion from the earliest stages and also having design aspects that are replicable by organizations undertaking similar projects.

When unveiling the arena and celebrating the LEED Platinum certification award, Eversource Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer Penni Conner noted, “This arena project is special to the Eversource team because it was designed and built with both energy efficiency and solar-readiness in mind. This is an approach we often recommend to our customers who want to incorporate sustainable features into new construction projects.”

From the high-efficiency LED lighting and boilers, to the cutting-edge waste heat recovery systems and evaporation equipment, this arena is a national model for energy-efficient construction. The energy efficiency measures will deliver more than $46,000 in annual energy cost savings.

Standout features of the arena include:

  • innovative technology that captures heat generated from the rink’s ice-making equipment to heat water throughout the building
  • high-efficiency LED lighting with smart, motion-detecting controls that turn off lights when no one is present to sharply reduce electricity usage
  • the highest-efficiency plumbing fixtures on the market, including waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showers to reduce the demand for water.
  • The project also included a 504 kilowatt, rooftop solar array and 1,400 rooftop solar panels that will generate 40 percent of the building’s annual electricity needs.

And, a strong benefit of the new facility that shouldn’t be overlooked, students are able to use of the arena as a “living lab” where they will be able to analyze the building’s energy data, complete marketing projects, create sales plans for season tickets, and do other academic projects.

GBS ’18 – Winners and Photos

GBS ’18 – Winners and Photos

Well, GBS ’18 was sure a blast!

We had an amazing time at GBS ’18. From Jim Stanislaski’s and Aminah Mcnulty’s breakout performances in the opening “Mother Earth” performance to EMD Serono winning Green Building of the Year, there were some memorable moments.

This event would not have been possible without support from all of our sponsors, judges, and our wonderful community. From the beginning, USGBC MA has been a team effort, and we firmly believe it’s your community.

Check out event photos below, as well as short bios on each of the winners of the night. We hope to see you next year!

Green Building Showcase 2018

Green Building of the Year

EMD Serono SagaMORE
Submitted by The Green Engineer and Ellenzweig

It includes low-VOC emitting interior furnishings and finishes; high-efficiency LED and WELL-compliant interior lighting; planters full of natural vegetation indoors, and a strong visual connection to the outdoors.

Project SagaMORE is a 30,000 SF expansion of EMD Serono’s R&D campus in Billerica and was designed to enhance EMD’s progressive work culture through employee engagement, wellbeing, technology, and biophilic design. The project’s design challenge was to expand and improve upon the existing, 24,000 SF office building (Project Bridgeway) to produce a unified solution, while achieving both WELL and LEED NC certification. Both the existing office (Project Bridgeway) and annex (Project Sagamore) have jointly achieved WELL Gold certification for New & Existing Construction from the International Well Building InstituteTM (IWBI)TM. It is the 1st New & Existing Building WELL Certified Gold project in the US and only the 2 in the World.

The EMD project design promotes the use of stairs rather than elevators. It includes low-VOC emitting interior furnishings and finishes; high-efficiency LED and WELL-compliant interior lighting; planters full of natural vegetation indoors, and a strong visual connection to the outdoors. EMD does not provide any food or beverages containing trans. fats or a high sugar content (such as soda or junk food) within the facility or on campus, including vending machines. The facility passed the circadian lighting and IAQ performance tests required for WELL certification.

The design and construction team understood that every decision bore a definitive impact on the project’s ability to become a WELL certified building. In this regard, the project’s successful passing of the performance verification was an accomplishment not only for the design team, but also for the occupants – who moved into a space that was officially verified to have a healthy indoor environment.

Project Sagamore is currently pending LEED NC v2009 Gold certification. It is expected to achieve a 42% water use reduction, 30% energy cost reduction, and 82% reduction in construction waste. Project Bridgeway previously achieved LEED CI v2009 Platinum Certification.

Market Leader Award Series

SITE – MARKET LEADER

Everyone wants a home of their own.
by Utile, Inc.

The building design optimizes comfort, durability, and energy-efficiency by adopting the PHIUS+ 2015 Passive House standard specific to Atlanta’s climate.

This project imagines a 21st-century single-occupancy community by integrating a diverse and growing cross-section of the population that for a variety of reasons live alone; one that is equally attractive to those with few options to leave and those who can choose to live elsewhere.

The design is organized around different scales of open spaces that mediate the threshold between the privacy of the home and shared public realm. The Porch and Stoop units have shared, flexible “front yards” which support a range of uses from occupant-tended gardens to parking, and “backyards” which offer privacy and greener views to the constructed wetland on site. They allow unhindered pedestrian movement throughout acting as an extension of the semi-public realm.

Building design optimizes comfort, durability, and energy-efficiency by adopting the PHIUS+ 2015 Passive House standard specific to Atlanta’s climate. Buildings will be better adapted to climate change, be net-zero ready, and achieve significant energy savings. Community facilities do not rely on the municipal power grid during outages and emergency events, thus doubling up as spaces of refuge and allowing critical community services to stay fully operational in times of need.

The site design creates a responsible precedent for future development along emerging transit corridors by prioritizing sustainable transportation modes in an auto-dominant Atlanta. It accommodates a BRT stop on Metropolitan Ave servicing the proposed BRT connecting downtown to the airport. Community functions located at the project’s front-door provide amenities for the neighborhood, beyond the residents our project.

INNOVATION – MARKET LEADER

Chicago Riverwalk
Submitted by: Sasaki

The distinct programs and forms of each typological space allow for diverse experiences on the river ranging from dining opportunities to expansive public event programming to new amenities for human-powered craft.

In 2012, Sasaki, Ross Barney Architects, Alfred Benesch Engineers, Jacobs/Ryan Associates, and a broader technical consultant team, was tasked with creating a vision for the six blocks between State Street and Lake Street. Building off the previous studies of the river, the team’s plans provide a pedestrian connection along the river between the lake and the river’s confluence.

The task at hand was technically challenging. The design team, for instance, needed to work within a tight permit-mandated 25-foot-wide build-out area to expand the pedestrian program spaces and negotiate a series of under-bridge connections between blocks. Further, the design had to account for the river’s annual flood dynamics of nearly seven vertical feet.

Turning these challenges into opportunities, the team imagined new ways of thinking about this linear park. Rather than a path composed of 90-degree turns, the path was envisioned as a more independent system—one that, through changes in its shape and form, would drive a series of new programmatic connections to the river. With new connections that enrich and diversify life along the river, each block takes on the form and program of a different river-based typology.

As a new connected path system, the Chicago Riverwalk design provides both continuity and variety for a park visitor. The distinct programs and forms of each typological space allow for diverse experiences on the river ranging from dining opportunities to expansive public event programming to new amenities for human-powered craft. At the same time, design materials, details, and repeated forms provide visual cohesion along the entire length of the project. Paving, for instance, mirrors the contrasts of the existing context: A refined cut stone follows the elegant Beaux-Arts Wacker viaduct and bridgehouse architecture, while a more rugged precast plank flanks the lower elevations and underside of the exposed steel bridges.

HEALTH & WELLNESS – MARKET LEADER

EMD Serono SagaMORE
Submitted by: Ellenzweig & The Green Engineer

Project SagaMORE is currently pending LEED NC v2009 Gold certification. It is expected to achieve a 42% water use reduction, 30% energy cost reduction, and 82% reduction in construction waste.

Project SagaMORE is a 30,000 SF expansion of EMD Serono’s R&D campus in Billerica and was designed to enhance EMD’s progressive work culture through employee engagement, wellbeing, technology, and biophilic design. The project’s design challenge was to expand and improve upon the existing, 24,000 SF office building (Project Bridgeway) to produce a unified solution, while achieving both WELL and LEED NC certification. Both the existing office (Project Bridgeway) and annex (Project SagaMORE) have jointly achieved WELL Gold certification for New & Existing Construction from the International Well Building Institute (IWBI). It is the 1st New & Existing Building WELL Certified Gold project in the US and only the 2 in the World.

The EMD project design promotes the use of stairs rather than elevators. It includes low-VOC emitting interior furnishings and finishes; high-efficiency LED and WELL-compliant interior lighting; planters full of natural vegetation indoors, and a strong visual connection to the outdoors. EMD provides occupants with WELL compliant food service. It does not provide any food or beverages, within the facility or its campus, that contain trans. fats or that have a high sugar content (such as soda or junk food) in excess of the WELL standard’s requirements. The facility passed the circadian lighting and IAQ performance tests required for WELL certification. The design and construction team understood that every decision bore a definitive impact on the project’s ability to become a WELL certified building. In this regard, the project’s successful passing of the performance verification was an accomplishment not only for the design team, but also for the occupants – who moved into a space that was officially verified to have a healthy indoor environment.

Project SagaMORE is currently pending LEED NC v2009 Gold certification. It is expected to achieve a 42% water use reduction, 30% energy cost reduction, and 82% reduction in construction waste. Project Bridgeway previously achieved LEED CI v2009 Platinum Certification.

ENERGY & WATER EFFICIENCY – MARKET LEADER

6 Industrial Way Office Park
Submitted by: Touloukian Touloukian Inc

The office building structure includes innovative Cross Laminated Timbers; the first of its kind in New England.

Designed as a three-story office space, this 16-acre site reverses the conventional, inwardly focused commercial building by implementing a flexible floor plan and indoor/outdoor program that advances human health and wellness. The office building structure includes innovative Cross Laminated Timbers; the first of its kind in New England. Lumber cut from the site is harvested and brought to local sawmills to create the material for the CLT structural panels which have lower embodied carbon than traditional steel construction. Structural wood bays provide tenants an open floor plan with large, uninterrupted views to the outdoors. Tenants are brought together at the ground level to a full cafeteria that faces a large lawn space with outdoor seating.

RESILIENCE – MARKET LEADER

181 Coleridge Ave Residences
Submitted by: Touloukian Touloukian Inc

The site features a central courtyard which helps elevate the building access points above the FEMA floodplains and gently slopes down towards the waterfront using native plantings and rain gardens to help control the on-site storm water.

Located in East Boston, this new multi-family residential development faces many challenges as a waterfront site already affected by the rising coastal tides surrounding the Boston Harbor. The project focuses on resiliency planning and Chapter 91 public spaces for the growing neighborhood showing how both requirements can be designed to benefit each other. In addition to the 19 residential units, the site features a central courtyard which helps elevate the building access points above the FEMA floodplains and gently slopes down towards the waterfront using native plantings and rain gardens to help control the on-site storm water. Amenities include a dry flood proofed underground parking garage, access to the “urban beach,” and public kayak storage. An independent townhouse to the residential side of the site helps bridge the small-scale residential street language into the larger and modernly detailed development abutting large public spaces of the beach and parkway.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE – MARKET LEADER

Northeastern University
Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex
Submitted by: Payette

 A parametric model was developed alongside custom compositing software to allow the team to perform iterative simulations accurately predicting solar performance of the screen, optimizing the profile, form and performance of the sunshade system.

Constructed on an urban brownfield site consisting of an existing surface parking lot set between two garages, the ISEC represents the completion of the first phase of the newly planned 660,000 SF academic precinct. Dynamic movement systems permeate the project, expand a campus and bridge two Boston neighborhoods. This cutting-edge research facility defines a new academic and social hub for students and allows Northeastern University to compete as a premier research institution.

Aggressive targets and an integrated approach to sustainability were embedded in the project from the planning stages throughout the design process, impacting everything from the programmatic organization of the building to the design of the building enclosure, including its signature “solar veil.” A parametric model was developed alongside custom compositing software to allow the team to perform iterative simulations accurately predicting solar performance of the screen, optimizing the profile, form and performance of the sunshade system. This workflow was used to tune the system performance feeding directly into the building energy model, allowing the engineers to correctly size equipment, which provided 33% energy savings over code.

Eversource Energy Optimization Award

Bentley University Ice Arena
Submitted by Suffolk and Bentley University

The Bentley Arena not only enhances student life on campus, but serves as a “living laboratory” connecting the classroom to the built environment.

Bentley University’s new state-of-the-art multipurpose arena, this facility is home to Bentley’s NCAA Division I men’s hockey team and the setting for university events such as career fairs, concerts, high-profile speakers and alumni gatherings. The venue, designed by Architectural Resources Cambridge and built by Suffolk Construction, marks Bentley’s rise as a modern, nationally-recognized business university.

The Bentley Arena not only enhances student life on campus, but serves as a “living laboratory” connecting the classroom to the built environment. Students studying business and sustainability are analyzing the arena’s energy usage data and the impact of the rooftop solar array on the university’s greenhouse gas emissions and operating budget; students studying media technology operate the video control room; and marketing students are engaged in graphic design development for the arena’s jumbo-tron.

The LEED Platinum certified building boasts a 500KW rooftop solar array which provides the standalone ice arena with 40% of its annual electricity needs. A state-of-the art heat reclamation loop captures waste heat from the ice making equipment and uses it in domestic hot water and space heating systems throughout the building. LED lighting is present throughout the building and a large amount of window glazing allows much more natural light into the space than is typically seen in arenas. The combination of energy efficient technology and onsite renewable energy has resulted in the Bentley arena emitting 50% fewer climate-change causing greenhouse gases per year as compared to similar ice arenas.

Arena visitors enjoy views to the outside from all of the public areas in the building and a specially cut window on the building’s west side provides a view to the adjacent wetlands. This special window is accompanied by a sign educating building visitors on the importance of the wetland area both as a natural habitat and in stormwater management for Bentley’s campus.

Low-flow plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals reduce the buildings plumbing water use by 48%. Native and adaptive plant species including a meadow planted with local wildflower species on the north side of building eliminate the need for irrigation.

The Bentley Arena is a sustainable investment in the future of Bentley, providing a gathering place to welcome the entire Bentley community for many years to come and enhancing the place-based student experience that is the hallmark of a Bentley education.