EPMA Charles River Cleanup 2019

EPMA Charles River Cleanup 2019

by Kavita Karmarkar

Every year for Earth Day, the Charles River Watershed Association mobilizes an average 3000 Bostonians to organize the annual Charles River Cleanup, which stretches from the downtown Boston up to Milford/Hopkinton in the suburbs. It is a part of the nationwide ‘National Rivers Cleanup’ organized by American Rivers – a national advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and conserving rivers. Now in its 20th year, the Charles River Cleanup has had tremendous success in the past, winning the ‘Most pounds of trash collected’ award for collecting about 100,000 pounds of trash and the ‘Most volunteers mobilized’ award last year.

This year, the EPMA committee, along with other organizations, were tasked with cleaning up the riverbank at Lederman Park, next to the Massachusetts General Hospital. Located in the heart of Boston, this park is heavily used by the community and easily accessible by public transport.

EPMA members posing with the trash they collected from the Charles River.

The day started with all volunteers meeting up at the riverbank by 9.00 am. The volunteers signed in and were given gloves and trash bags to start. We scoured the area for anything that did not belong, picking up cigarette stubs, metal pieces, coffee cups, straws, plastic, and paper. A lot of the trash going into the river often ends up entangled and collected within the rip-rap stones. The volunteers had to climb down on the rip-rap to collect trash from the crevices, which made the work harder, but even more fulfilling. The Charles River Clean Up Boat made an appearance and collected trash at various spots in the river. After about 3 hours of work, the results were starting to show as the area looked cleaner.

These events offer a great opportunity to give back to the river and to mother Earth, while meeting like-minded people who share our passion. The EPMA team wishes to thank all volunteers who showed up on this cold, windy, Saturday morning to make a difference.

Eversource and National Grid Launch Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Programs

Electrical vehicle (EV) owners will experience one less obstacle as they hit the road in Massachusetts thanks to Eversource and National Grid. During the Building Tech Forum, the two companies discussed their EV charging infrastructure offerings.

The goal of the statewide initiative is to facilitate the installation of more than 4,000 new charging stations by paying for the electrical infrastructure improvements needed beyond the meter to support EV chargers, an expense of thousands of dollars traditionally borne by the site owner. Eversource has a goal of 3,500 chargers by 2020, and National Grid has a goal of 600 chargers in their Massachusetts service territory by 2020.

“It’s forecasted that by 2030 there will be nearly 600 electric vehicle models,” said James Cater, Eversource. “One of the leading deterrents to adoption, though, is ‘range anxiety,’ or the fear of being stranded without a charging station nearby. With the EV charging infrastructure programs, both companies, Eversource and National Grid, are working with businesses and municipalities across the state to increase public charging access and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by installing electric vehicle service equipment.”

How does the initiative work?

Building owners, managers, or operators apply to become site hosts. Once approved, Eversource and National Grid, cover all of the infrastructure costs and implementation needed to install the charging stations – which generally accounts for 50-90 percent of total costs associated with installing EV charging stations.  The site host is then responsible for purchasing and installing the charging stations. However, some site hosts take advantage of Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program Grants to offset or completely cover the costs of the charging stations.

If a site is within an eligible Environmental Justice Community, the companies will also pay for the chargers and their installation. Both Eversource and National Grid have earmarked 10 percent of sites to be in Environmental Justice Communities.

Who is an ideal site host?

Businesses or municipalities with large parking areas or where people are likely to be parked for a while such as public parking spaces, apartment complexes, places of employment, universities, and hospitals are ideal site hosts. The initiative also supports the installation of a limited number of Level III “DC Fast” chargers along travel corridors.

Are new construction projects eligible?

Yes! Planning for EV charging access at the construction phase of a new building makes it easier to make the needed electrical infrastructure improvements and counts toward LEED v4 Green Building certification.

For more information about EV charging stations and how to become a site host, please visit Eversource.com or NationalGrid.com

EPMA Presentation Recap: Bringing Sustainability to Life

Written by Jonathan Carey

At our recent Emerging Professionals meeting, we were treated to a presentation by Roland Jenkins called “Bringing Sustainability to Life.”  Roland Jenkins is currently an Assistant Project Manager of B.W. Kennedy & Company located in Arlington, Massachusetts and his presentation was on the LEED certification for the lab and biotech facility located on 828 Winter Street in Waltham. 

The featured facility is a 144,000 sq. ft. core and shell building specifically designed for life science and would be attached to a four-tier parking garage covering over 155,000 sq. ft. that would seat over 500 cars total.

For the construction, a submittal process was necessary.  The submittal process helps with the procurement of building materials. There was also the need for monitoring of the job site operations in order to conduct site reports, which would all go towards compliance confirmation of the construction phase. All of these steps were tracked and documented throughout the procedure.

The final phase involved the LEED verification and certification.  A compilation of LEED documents were compiled together for the final steps.  All of these documents would be used for the final project that was submitted to GBCI, who would conduct their final review decisions.  Once the decisions were made, a final LEED certification was implemented for the building through an end-user program.

At the end of the day, the new lab and biotech facility scored a total of 51/110 for LEED certification requirements.  Thus, the building earned a Silver LEED certification overall.  Roland explained how the building met the National Grid and Eversource requirements for energy conservation and through the MEP energy modeling and reductions, they were able to provide significant rebates to the clients.  Other than that, there were also considerable energy savings over the life of the building itself.

Some of the value engineering that took place helped reduce equipment components and defer equipment installs was well.  Some of the other plans that were in place included the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), Construction Waste Management Plan, and the Indoor Air Quality Plan.  All of these factors were considered when utilizing the LEED certification model for the new lab and biotech facility on 828 Winter Street.

Thanks again to Roland Jenkins for the informative presentation on the new life sciences building in Waltham.  It was great to see the building earn a silver LEED certification for sustainability.

EPMA February Presentation Recap: Battery storage is the path to a 100% renewable energy future

EPMA February Presentation Recap: Battery storage is the path to a 100% renewable energy future

Written by Aliza Vaida

February’s EPMA presentation delve into the key terms and concepts necessary to understand battery storage and how battery storage is vital for renewables, like solar and wind, to become the dominant energy source for the world.

The first part of the presentation reviewed the key metrics and economics to understand and consider when thinking about battery storage coupled with solar energy for the residential and commercial market. When looking into a storage solution, one needs to consider how much energy the battery can discharge, how long it will last and other key elements. Besides having a lot of new concepts to consider, another challenge with battery storage today is that it is quite expensive, ranging from $10,000-$20,000 for residential, and usually only lasts around 10 years. There are benefits to getting battery storage today, like if you live in storm prone areas or have time-of-use rate plans. In general however, battery technologies are just too expensive for most people.

But times are changing! Battery storage is expected to drop significantly over the next 10 years making it a possibility for more home owners, businesses and utilities. Currently solar only works when the sun is shining, when batteries become the norm the world will be come a much more resilient place. We will be able to power the built environment with renewables during the day and fill up the storage as well. And then during the night hours batteries will be able to power the built environment, closing the loop. Storage will allow redundancy so resiliency within our current energy grid. Imagine a world where if the grid goes down because of a natural disaster, key institutions like hospitals, fire departments and schools, can link up together and still be powered by solar plus storage. Individual’s homes will be able to be islanded off from the grid, because of solar plus storage, allowing autonomy during a grid failure as well.  Storage is the piece that will enable a clean energy future.

EPMA Presentation Recap: Water Management and Resilient Communities

EPMA Presentation Recap: Water Management and Resilient Communities

Written by Kara Slocum

The presentation focused on different aspects of water management and its importance in Sasaki design of the built environment. This brief intro into water management featured two case studies which highlight Sasaki’s cross-disciplinary and analytic approach within different development types and design phases.

The Sarasota Bayfront Master Plan guides future improvements to a 53 acre waterfront park as a cultural and economic legacy for the region while ensuring open, public access to the Bayfront. The sites program and design were developed in parallel with a detailed analysis of sea level rise and storm surge. By applying this analysis to concept level planning, we could root our design decisions in resilient thinking.

The Hoosic River Flood Chute Revitalization is a concept plan to address the existing, but aging, concrete chutes that protect North Adams, MA from historic flooding. The Sasaki team worked to examine how to restore the river, enhance public access to the water’s edge, and rethink the flood protection strategy. The restoration strategies celebrate the Hoosic River, while maintaining or exceeding the existing level of flood protection.

The EPMA group was active with questions and eager to understand how water plays a role in design. We were able to connect, collaborate, and explore on the topic of water and the importance of resilient 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]