Excel Dryer partners with Boston Latin School and EcoImpact to develop groundbreaking sustainability course curriculum for students

Excel Dryer partners with Boston Latin School and EcoImpact to develop groundbreaking sustainability course curriculum for students

Massachusetts-based Excel Dryer has long expressed its commitment to environmental sustainability. One way to perpetuate that commitment is by educating students on greening initiatives and approaches to reducing their own carbon footprint.

In collaboration with Boston Latin School and EcoImpact Consulting, Excel Dryer developed a curriculum of study for grade school and high school students. In addition to real-world sustainability lessons, the innovative project offers hands-on experience in field research, energy auditing, project management and more. The curriculum features two worksheets for student use.

A leading purveyor of products that help facilities qualify for the most LEED® v4 Credits of any hand dryer, as well as Green Globes and other essential certifications, this initiative was an opportunity for Excel Dryer to demonstrate its commitment to furthering education on sustainability.

The perfect partner for Excel’s educational endeavor was a mere few hours east in Boston Latin School, a centuries-old yet forward-thinking secondary institution. Administrators and students at the school took part in developing the initial run of curriculum and provided feedback to fine-tune worksheets.

Students at Boston Latin School in the YouthCan Program recently completed the curriculum, through which they calculated the environmental and financial savings of switching from paper towels to high-speed, energy-efficient XLERATOR® Hand Dryers in two high-traffic restrooms.

The curriculum was just one of the many sustainability initiatives implemented by Boston Latin School in the recent past. The institution notably collaborated on plans for a Shared Green Roof and Community Learning Center, which would place vegetation areas, wildlife habitats, renewable energy installations and more on the school’s rooftop.

For more information about the course curriculum, visit exceldryer.com/greencurriculum.

Edge Conditions: Valuing the Marginal – A Living Shorelines Case Study

Edge Conditions: Valuing the Marginal – A Living Shorelines Case Study

Written by Aminah McNulty

The edge effect is one of the twelve principles of Permaculture Design, or the designing beneficial relationships. Originally termed as an ecological phenomenon, the edge effect describes the increase in biodiversity in a region where two adjacent ecosystems overlap. Species exist here from both ecosystems, as well as unique species adapted to this transition zone. We see this effect manifest throughout the built and natural environments, as well as our social and financial systems.

The edge effect is one of the twelve principles of Permaculture Design, or the designing beneficial relationships. Originally termed as an ecological phenomenon, the edge effect describes the increase in biodiversity in a region where two adjacent ecosystems overlap. Species exist here from both ecosystems, as well as unique species adapted to this transition zone. We see this effect manifest throughout the built and natural environments, as well as our social and financial systems. A state-funded project along the Massachusetts’ North Shore is a product of the edge effect. The project address both the deteriorating shoreline and the overlap of social groups and political organizations. It is likely that this project will support a living shoreline demonstration, making it the first state-funded project of its type to date. Living shorelines are a system of soft or “green” engineering that utilizes natural reinforcement and strategic plant communities to buffer and stabilize estuarine coasts. Through a system of partial seawall reconstruction, rock and coil log edge buffers and low and high tide wetland planting, our team hopes to build precedent for natural shoreline treatments in the face of rising sea levels and climate change.

*Image credit: Florida Living Shorelines

EPMA Summer Picnic Recap

EPMA Summer Picnic Recap

by Kelsey Margulies

EPMA’s Summer Picnic was a great success, gathering together young professionals from all backgrounds in the building industry. Guest speakers Lawrence Flicker, Steven Burke, and Michelle Moon joined us and lead discussions on integrating wellness into their everyday professional lives. Lawrence kicked off the afternoon with a group yoga session involving controlled breathing and coordinated body movements, easy to follow for both beginner and experienced yogis alike. Afterwards the group collected plates full of delicious food from Whole Heart Provisions and congregated to hear Steven’s experience as Sustainability Manager at Consigli Construction. Steve spoke about the challenges and responsibilities associated with his job, as well as his positive outlook on the construction industry’s continued efforts to include more wellness-centered activities. Michelle Moon then shared her passion for bicycle advocacy and improving bicycle infrastructure in Boston. As a dedicated cyclist herself, Michelle expressed the importance of getting as many people involved in the bicycle commuter lifestyle for increased awareness, as well as a few safety tips from her own experience.

Thank you to our event sponsor, Xquisite Landscaping for making this event possible.

Intern Spotlights: Meeting our 2018 Summer Extraordinaires

Ethan Vonderheide

Hi, I’m Ethan Vonderheide from Maine. Though not born there, It’s where I have my earliest memories. The connection to the wilderness of the region was always clear to me, there was a respect for the land, much of it untouched and wild. “Breathe easy you’re in Maine” was in a way, the statement that best characterizes the state for me, even though it was about tobacco-free public space. I see environmental care in the state as the main accelerator for my career and studies in sustainable design. As early as high school I decided that focusing on sustainability was not an option, but was a requirement for my future. I recently graduated from Wentworth Institute of Technology with a Masters degree in Architecture. My thesis topic, ecoLOGICAL Habitat, looked at using the integration of urban and natural ecologies as the generator of architectural form to reconnect people to their environments. My lasting question from this study year was if architecture could have a formal expression that reveals its connection to the ecosystem? I look forward to my time with the USGBC MA chapter to understand how leadership in the field of green building in Massachusetts is making a difference and hope to add value to the regenerative design and zero waste movements in my time here.


Dan Pham

My name is Dan Pham and I am the new intern at the USGBCMA. Since taking a graphic design course in high school, I have always enjoyed the creative and visual aspects of design. With this mindset, I studied at Wentworth Institute of Technology where I pursued my undergraduate and my master’s degree in architecture. During my thesis studies, I looked into how diverse communities can be better connected to create moments that celebrate diversity. In addition to my architecture background, I have also gained new knowledge and passion for lighting design and have worked lighting design firms to create beautiful but efficient lighting environments. From both education and in practice, I understood the importance of sustainability and its improvements in the quality of life in the built environment.  At the USGBCMA I am hoping to be able to utilize all of my experiences from the different fields to push for sustainability in building design and energy conservation. During my free time I enjoy tennis, photography and with my love for graphic design, pop culture, and video games, I am learning to become an illustrator.

 

Philmore Phillip  II

First generation born & raised in Boston, MA. Majority of my family is from the island of Antigua located in the West Indies or the Caribbean including both parents. As an Intern for the USGBC MA Chapter, I support a wide range of tasks from Technical Support, Data Management, Research Analysis as well as Event Management. I was introduced to sustainability from a book that was read to me as a kid. It was about a man who lived in one of the first sustainable homes ever built in his era. He harvested his own rainwater, grew his own food and was completely independent of the grid. Ever since then the thought of paying utilities makes me chuckle. While having a heated discussion in my Engineering class which I was studying at the time I realized what I was really most passionate about; although the field of sustainability and renewable energy were so new and underdeveloped that it was way ahead of its time, I felt like I had finally found my calling. So I took a chance and decided to start all over. Some people say that I “threw myself to the wolves”, little did they know that I would eventually come out leading the pack. My background now is in the Research and Development of Green Buildings, Renewable Energy and Sustainability. I hold a certification in Energy & Sustainability Management and am currently finishing up my undergraduate’s degree in Environmental Science and Master’s in Urban Planning and Community Development. I enjoy helping others and improving the lives of the people within my community which ultimately is my goal.

 

 

EPMA Meeting Recap: Resilience Through Public Art and Placemaking

EPMA Meeting Recap: Resilience Through Public Art and Placemaking

Written by Aliza Vaida
Every month at the USGBC Emerging professional meeting a member presents on a topic of choice. They are always diverse and fascinating. This week was no different.
Aliza Vaida did the short presentation:  Resilience Through Public Art and Placemaking. Her main focus was on the importance of collaboration throughout a community placemaking strategy. She revealed with case studies and statistics how public art and placemaking can be agents of change. And through community engagement, the benefits are significantly more lasting and impactful.
Aliza has put her passion for art and sustainable design to work through the non-profit NeighborwaysAliza is working with the City of Everett on street calming strategies. Neighborways works closely with the community to pick streets that will become part of a pedestrian and cycle-friendly network. An exciting piece of the Everett strategy will be a collaborative street calming mural.
As the presentation at the EPMA meeting came to a close the maps, pads of paper, markers, pens and color pencils came out. Aliza had the attendees break into two groups. First, they had to look at the map of Everett and draw out a network of streets they felt best-connected schools and the Northern Strand Bike Path. Once that was agreed upon they had to collaborate on a street mural. It was great to see all those creative juices flowing. Aliza suggested designing the mural in a way that avoided car tread as much as possible. Each group created a few designs and then brought them together into one master mural. Ocean themes reigned supreme! It was a fun night of learning and coloring!
Join us next month at our EPMA Committee Meeting on June 18, 2018 to hear about our upcoming events and volunteering opportunities, and hear from Ailsha Pegan about Renew Boston!
Charles River Cleanup

Charles River Cleanup

This Earth Day the EPMA Committee organized an event with the Waltham Land Trust to help with the Charles River Cleanup between Moody and Prospect Streets in Waltham. The event was part of the comprehensive annual cleanup of the Charles River that extends into The Esplanade, with the help of other organizations and groups in the various regions touched by the river bank.

The cleanup began at 9am with the meetup location at the Carter St. train station in Waltham, as our energetic volunteers showed up ready to go bright and early! It was a wonderful day, with nice sunshine and cool weather. We handed out the supplies; gloves, t-shirts, trash bags and started our route at Moody Street along the path up to Prospect Street. We encountered a couple other groups on our journey, as we picked up plastic bottles, aluminum cans, foam plates, and other debris left along the way. The level pathway was easy to walk around and allowed for easy pickup of trash, plenty of benches allowed for key points to leave our trash bags once full for the Waltham DCR truck to pick them up. It was all a good collaboration between everyone involved, and the further up the path we walked we came across less debris to pick up, so once we hit Prospect Street we doubled back to make sure we didn’t miss anything we could get rid of.

After our work was done we met up with the event coordinators at the nearby Shaw’s parking lot, here we returned the supplies we didn’t use and then headed towards the picnic area to enjoy some great pizza and snacks, well deserved after a nice day’s work! Here we met up with volunteers from other groups and enjoyed the nice gathering for a good cause. Thanks to everyone who took the time on such a nice day and thanks to the Waltham Land Trust for locating our group within their region and for all their support / organizing the event!