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.
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.
As we approach our Green Building Showcase on the 25th, we will be releasing a series of project spotlights that will be shown at the event! Check out three from Gensler, Elkus Manfredi, and HDR.
Don’t forget to buy a ticket or register your board for the event!
Partners HealthCare: Submitted by Gensler
Energy consumption is expected to be 51% lower than comparable buildings in the region, and the campus is the first New England building certified as LEED Gold V4 BD+C.
Partners HealthCare approached its administrative campus as an opportunity to transform a brownfield site in an urban, mixed-use development into a healthy and environmentally-responsible campus that reflected its values as a healthcare industry leader. Each aspect of the design was carefully considered for its impact on employees, the community, and the environment. The resulting campus embodies Partners’ commitment to holistic wellness. Floor-to-ceiling windows deliver abundant natural light and offer views of a thoughtful landscape design that incorporates native planting and manages rainwater retention. Spacious staircases and sit-to-stand workstations encourage employee movement. Expansive roof terraces and accessible balconies provide easy access to fresh air, and the full-service cafeteria offers a wide variety of healthy choices.
The campus’ energy performance was also a priority for the project team. Energy consumption is expected to be 51% lower than comparable buildings in the region, and the campus is the first New England building certified as LEED Gold V4 BD+C. A 0.64-acre green roof absorbs water and lowers heat absorption. Atop the garage, an approximately 2-acre solar array offsets 40% of peak campus demand. To address long-term resiliency, the project team elevated the flood zone site by three feet and placed critical equipment on the roof.
In addition, this site was selected for its connectivity and access to public transportation. The campus entrance is less than 500 feet from an MBTA subway station, providing an easy link for employees and visitors. Bicycling is encouraged through on-site locker rooms and showers, parking for over 150 bicycles, and an easy connection to a nearby bike path network. The campus design also includes generous public outdoor spaces that further contribute to the community’s green space network.
Ink Block: Submitted by Elkus Manfredi
Siena’s exterior architecture is inspired by Italy’s famous Duomo di Siena – the cathedral of Siena
Siena joins Sepia as the next condominium project at Ink Block in the South End neighborhood of Boston. Siena is a collection of 76 new, luxury condominiums at the six-building, superbly located, urban mixed-use development. Siena combines high-style architecture and design with luxury amenities and access to a Whole Foods Market, restaurants, and shops.
Siena’s exterior architecture is inspired by Italy’s famous Duomo di Siena – the cathedral of Siena – which is marked by alternating horizontal white and green-black marble stripes. Interior common areas include a fitness center, library lounge, minibar, communal dining table, catering kitchen, lounge with fireplace, bike room, and sky lounge. The sky lounge includes an indoor area with a fireplace and a bar with a pass-through window to the exterior roof terrace, which in the warmer months offers additional seating, a firepit, and a grill station.
All six completed buildings at Ink Block have achieved LEED Gold status, and include more than 50 percent underground parking, bike racks for 15 percent of the residents, water-efficient landscaping, and low-flow fixtures. More than 75 percent of the construction waste was diverted from disposal and employed regionally sourced and green construction materials such as recycled structural steel, gypsum board, low-VOC paint, adhesives, and flooring.
Innovation Square [iSQ]: Submitted by HDR
The design intent for the two buildings is a contemporary interpretation of the established maritime “head-house and tail” vernacular.
Uniquely situated within Boston’s Marine Industrial Park, iSQ (Innovation Square) has emerged as the avant-garde micro life science cluster, a natural first choice to Cambridge’s saturated bio-pharmaceutical market. Combining contemporary design with planning to promote operational efficiencies, the project aims to attract global entrepreneurial companies with the goal of enhancing productivity, promoting collaboration and enabling transformational discoveries.
HDR helped develop the master plan for iSQ and is responsible for the shell and core design of both Phase 1 and Phase 2. The design intent for the two buildings is a contemporary interpretation of the established maritime “head-house and tail” vernacular. The new “head-house” has a chiseled glass expression where the C-suite resides, symbolizing the commitment to cultural transparency and the exchange of ideas. The “tail” has a highly articulated pre-cast concrete expression where lab research occurs.
In response to the vulnerability of the site to flooding due to increased rainfall events and storm surge, the ground floor elevation was raised 2’ above the current FEMA 100 year storm flood projections. The electric switchgear was raised an additional 1’ and the majority of mechanical and electrical systems were placed in the rooftop penthouse.
Phase 1 is designed to achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification. It incorporates a number of strategies to reduce energy and water use, reduce transportation emissions in accessing the site, manage stormwater, and create an environmentally responsible and healthy environment through conscientious materials selection. Construction completion of the Core and Shell is anticipated in February 2019.
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.
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