EPMA Presentation Recap: Shifting Company Policy and Culture Towards Sustainability

Written by Michael Orbank

Michael presents at the November 2019 Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts meeting
Michael presents at the November 2019 Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts meeting.

At this past USGBC EPMA meeting, I had the pleasure of discussing the work Commodore Builders is doing to move towards a more sustainable future. Commodore is a growing CM firm, and their rapid growth is continuing to innovate and deliver the best possible product for its clients, while balancing and improving the working life of its employees. Building a sustainable culture is pivotal in expanding successfully and ethically.

Through small sustainable steps, significant progress can be made. A big mistake many companies make is a “shock and awe” campaign which leaves employees and clients dazed and confused with the new changes. Taking small, incremental steps is pivotal in creating lasting change. Small steps Commodore has taken include forming a carbon committee, reviewing areas of improvement, and speaking honestly with both clients and employees about sustainable changes. In the competitive Boston construction market, Commodore has realized that sustainability must be a collaborative effort.

Earlier this year, Commodore introduced changes to their subcontractor contracts, mandating LED’s for temporary lights, and banning idling onsite. It is the hope that we can move to bigger, bolder moves while keeping education a priority to make sure that all involved parties understand why changes are being made and what the impact is. Just this past week, office wide composting was introduced with a focus on personal, hands on training to teach employees what can and cannot be composted. Going forward, Commodore hopes to improve their material sourcing, transition towards zero construction waste, and continue to provide employees with one of the best workplaces in Boston.  

Green Building Showcase 2019 Winners

Well, GBS ’19 sure was a blast!

We had an amazing time at Green Building Showcase 2019! From the hilarious opening skit performed by Jim Stanislaski, Jim Newman, Jill Pinsky, and Lindsey Machamer to Arrowstreet’s King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools & Community Complex 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 of the Year

King Open/Cambridge Street
Upper Schools & Community Complex
Submitted by Arrowstreet

Photo Credit: Robert Benson Photography

Project Team: William Rawn Associates, Architects and Arrowstreet Architecture & Design

King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex sets a new standard for school design and high-performing buildings. Completed in August 2019, it is designed as the first Net Zero Emissions school in Massachusetts and was the pilot for Cambridge’s Net Zero Action Plan, which defines Net Zero Emissions as an all-electric building with no on-site fossil fuel combustion and whose energy use is offset through renewables. The 270,000 sf

building includes an elementary school, middle school, school district administration, preschool, public library, public pool, and parking garage. The building was designed to push the envelope on net zero, occupant wellness, site impact, water use, and resilience. 

Despite heavy daily and year-round building use, the project is designed to perform at an EUI of 25 using several unique planning and user engagement strategies in addition to energy efficient systems. Building mechanical systems are groundsource heat pumps supplying radiant heating and cooling and displacement ventilation with demand control, providing improved thermal comfort and air quality. Other features include R-28 walls, R-40 roofs, daylight controls, LED lighting, and point-of-use hot water. Renewable energy is generated by roof, façade, and sunshade mounted PV and solar thermal hot water.

Water reduction is achieved through low-flow fixtures and rainwater capture resed for toilet flushing and irrigation.
In addition to thermal comfort and air quality, wellness is supported through daylighting, healthy materials, biophilic design, and enhanced acoustics. The classroom finishes are Red List free.

Site improvements include increasing infiltration by converting an acre of asphalt to vegetation. Resiliency features include an elevated first floor, cooling stations, and biodiesel generator.

The building is a unique example of a 21st century Learning Lab with constant feedback of fine-grained metering, prominently located science and technology labs as well as interior and exterior interactive displays about sustainable features.

Market Leader Award Series

SITE – MARKET LEADER

Xuhui Runway Park
by Sasaki

The Xuhui Runway Park is the award winner for Sites category. It employs diverse green infrastructure approaches including previous paving, inverted berms, ponds, subsurface storage, and robust plantings to reclaim an abandoned runway. They have created nature-rich and historically reverent haven in a dense metropolis by reusing materials in creative ways and maintaining the linear configuration of the space.


Judges Shawn Hesse, Betsy del Monte,
 and Jodi Smits Anderson

Photo Credit: Sasaki

Project Team: Sasaki

Xuhui Runway Park is an innovative urban revitalization project that breathes life into a unique piece of Shanghai’s history. Located in the Xuhui District, this 8.24-hectare site was formerly a runway for Longhua Airport, which had operated for over 80 years and was Shanghai’s only civilian airport until 1949. To reflect the site’s previous life, the park’s design scheme mimics the motion of a runway, creating diverse linear spaces for vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians by organizing the park and the street into one integrated runway system. While all the

spaces are linear in shape, diverse spatial experiences are created by applying different materials, scales, topography, and programs. In this way, the park serves as a runway of modern life, providing a space for recreation and respite from the surrounding city.

The Sasaki design team applied good practice into the park design, which greatly contributed to its Gold certification in September, 2019, marking the first SITES certified project in Mainland China.

The design preserves portions of the runway’s original concrete where feasible, including the reuse of broken concrete pieces to build paths, plazas, and resting areas. The historic aerodynamic and industrial sensibility of the site is also referenced through the use of lighting poles that recall the transmission of communication and airfield illumination of the airport. All lighting is refrained from the habitat area and nocturnal life.

INNOVATION – MARKET LEADER

New Science Center – Amherst College
Submitted by Payette

The New Science Center at Amherst College is the award winner for Innovation category due to the significant achievement in energy efficiency in a lab building, and the focused, creative approach to the thermal design of the building. Although sporting a significant glass wall, facing west, this wall is triple-paned thermally broken curtainwall system, is shielded by the more private west-reaching wings of the building, and it fronts the main circulation space which is impeccably designed for the support and access of the people and the control and use of airflow.

 

 Judges Alex Wilson, Tristen Roberts, and Jodi Smits Anderson

Photo Credit: Chuck Choi Photography

Project Team: Design Architect: PAYETTE;  Structural Engineer: LeMessurier Consultants; MEP Engineer: van Zelm Engineers; Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering; Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

The Amherst College New Science Center is a high intensity laboratory with one of the lowest energy footprints of its typology. The building employs several strategies contributing to energy efficiency including a high performance envelope, abundant natural light, low-energy HVAC chilled beams, fan-coil distribution systems,

optimized fume hood control strategies, demand control ventilation including laboratory spaces, high performance heat recovery with indirect evaporative cooling, and freezer heat recovery for domestic hot water. Indirect-direct evaporative cooling reduces the heating and cooling needed for the ventilation system to reduce peak loads in the laboratories. High performance triple-pane glazing, curtainwall and façade systems implement thermal breaks. Opaque, natural ventilation panels were used in the faculty offices to provide natural ventilation while maintaining thermal integrity of the triple-pane windows. The Commons’ roof monitors integrate architectural and mechanical elements that provide an overall comfort conditioning solution: chilled beams, radiant slabs, acoustic baffles and a photovoltaic array to generate onsite power.

HEALTH & WELLNESS – MARKET LEADER

Community Living Center
DCAMM Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
Submitted by Payette

The design of this facility, with excellent energy performance, natural ventilation, and connection to views and community spaces, is an exemplar of care for our veterans.

 

Judges Tristan Roberts, Bill Walsh, and Anne Hicks Harney

Photo Credit: Payette

Project Team: Design Architect: PAYETTE; Structural Engineer: Lim Consultants; MEP Engineer: BR+A Consulting Engineers; Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering; Landscape Architect: Studio 2112

Located atop Chelsea’s iconic Powder Horn Hill, the Community Living Center is a long–term care facility for Massachusetts’ veterans that creates a dramatic new urban landmark capped by its solar canopy and reaching outward to frame the horizon. Designed to harness panoramic views of downtown Boston and the harbor, the

transformative new facility will have 154 private rooms organized around shared community spaces and surrounded by generous courtyards.

The net zero hospital uses a performance-based approach to the building and systems design resulting in a building that is designed to use 63% less energy than a typical facility utilizing geothermal heating and cooling, extensive natural ventilation and a 0.5 megawatt rooftop–mounted solar array to meet state and federal fossil fuel reduction targets.

ENERGY & WATER EFFICIENCY – MARKET LEADER

Arthur L. Irving Institute for Energy and Society

Submitted by Goody Clancy

The Irving Institute demonstrates the art and science of sustainable design.  It is contextual, responding both to its place and interacting with the natural systems around it, resulting in resource conservation and promoting occupant wellbeing. The building breaths! What really made this project stand out is that the design addresses operational and embodied carbon, demonstrating the importance of each as we shift towards a carbon-free future.

 

Judges Jennifer Preston, Greg Mella, and Shawn Hesse

Photo Credit: Goody Clancy

Project Team: Architect: Goody Clancy; MEP/FP Engineer: van Zelm Engineers; Structural Engineer: LeMessurier; Civil Engineer: Engineering Ventures; Exterior Envelope: 3iVE; Sustainability: TransSolar; LEED: Steven Winter Associates; Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh; Lighting: HLB Lighting Design; Acoustic/AV/Vibration: Acentech; Code: Jensen Hughes; Cost Estimator: Faithful + Gould

This 51,000 GSF project, scheduled for completion in 2021, will be the first permanent home for the Irving Institute for Energy and Society. Its design

 

demonstrates and expresses the building’s high performance while creating a space for interdisciplinary research that focuses on advancing an affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy future for the benefit of society.

The institute is a hub of collaboration that brings together multiple different users: institute researchers, the Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business, the Campus Sustainability Office, the Feldberg Library, and students moving to and from Murdough Center. Program spaces include project and research labs, classrooms, a café, offices and workspaces, and collaboration spaces ranging from small conference rooms to large gathering spaces.

This project epitomizes the celebration of energy performance through design. From the exterior, the major focal element of the main façade is the large glass pavilion that anchors the building at the end of the Tuck Mall axis. The pavilion houses two major collaboration spaces for the Institute, and is wrapped in the double-skin glass façade, encapsulating all of the building’s passive and active strategies to minimize energy consumption, including automated windows, exterior automated shades, radiant ceiling panels, ceiling fans, dynamic lighting to display performance, glass cavity for ventilation exhaust with stack effect, and culminating in the thermal exhaust vent at the roof. From the interior, the building is organized around a central atrium that acts as a public living room for users to formally and informally coalesce; provides daylight to all the surrounding spaces through its skylight; serves as the natural ventilation exhaust path; and is heated and cooled with radiant floors. The design and client team have worked closely together to create a space that makes the invisible visible, fostering crucial research about humankind and energy.

RESILIENCE – MARKET LEADER

Boston Coastal Flood Resilience
Design Guidelines & Zoning Overlay District

Submitted by Utile

The Boston Coastal Flood Resilience Design Guidelines and  Zoning Overlay District was selected because it is far more than a resource for Boston; it is, hands-down, the most useful and broadly applicable resource on how to adapt coastal communities and buildings to flooding and rising sea levels that has been produced to date. The Guidelines are clearly a replicable tool for other cities. They are already being referred to in Washington, DC, and we expect many other coastal communities in the U.S. and worldwide will soon be benefiting from this material.

 

Judges Betsy del Monte, Alex Wilson, and Greg Mella

Photo Credit: Utile with the City of Boston and the Boston Planning and Development Agency

Project Team: Utile, Noble, Wickersham & Heart LLP, Kleinfelder, HDR, Offshoots

Utile led the development of the City of Boston’s first ever citywide zoning overlay district and design guidelines to promote resilience from coastal flood risk for existing buildings and new construction. The zoning overlay district extends over areas with a 1% chance of flooding in 207 at 40” of sea level rise and is a critical step in advancing the City of Boston’s Climate Ready Initiative.

Working with a team of experts, this multi-faceted project integrates a study in national

best practices, existing regulations, analysis of Boston’s built form, community input, and expertise in cutting-edge building technology to identify effective, consensus-driven revisions to the zoning code.

This project makes Boston one of the first few communities nationally to take a proactive approach toward promoting coastal flood resilience. It sets a higher standard for protection and compliance compared to existing federal regulations by choosing to adopt future projections as the new threshold for risk. The zoning overlay will not only require all new construction be resilient, it will also ensure that renovations to existing buildings are performed in compliance with these guidelines. Together the guidelines and zoning overlay create a robust armature to promote preparedness across a range of neighborhoods, building conditions, and communities. 

PEOPLE’S CHOICE – MARKET LEADER

New Science Center – Amherst College
Submitted by Payette

Photo Credit: Chuck Choi Photography

Project Team: Design Architect: PAYETTE;  Structural Engineer: LeMessurier Consultants; MEP Engineer: van Zelm Engineers; Civil Engineer: Nitsch Engineering; Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

The Amherst College New Science Center is a high intensity laboratory with one of the lowest energy footprints of its typology. The building employs several strategies contributing to energy efficiency including a high performance envelope, abundant natural light, low-energy HVAC chilled beams, fan-coil distribution systems, optimized fume hood control strategies,

demand control ventilation including laboratory spaces, high performance heat recovery with indirect evaporative cooling, and freezer heat recovery for domestic hot water. Indirect-direct evaporative cooling reduces the heating and cooling needed for the ventilation system to reduce peak loads in the laboratories. High performance triple-pane glazing, curtainwall and façade systems implement thermal breaks. Opaque, natural ventilation panels were used in the faculty offices to provide natural ventilation while maintaining thermal integrity of the triple-pane windows. The Commons’ roof monitors integrate architectural and mechanical elements that provide an overall comfort conditioning solution: chilled beams, radiant slabs, acoustic baffles and a photovoltaic array to generate onsite power.

Eversource/National Grid Energy Optimization Award

Boston University, Center for Computing and Data Science

Submitted by BR+A

We are proud to choose Boston University’s Center for Computing & Data Sciences as the recipient of the 2019 Eversource/National Grid Energy Optimization Award. This award goes to a project that has participated in the Mass Save New Construction Program, is designed to achieve significant energy reductions, is replicable, and shows leadership and innovation in whole building energy efficiency. Boston University’s Center for Computing & Data Sciences meets these criteria and more. BU’s talented design team created a low Energy Use Intensity (EUI), 19 story zero net emissions design in a dense urban environment, which used geothermal as a cornerstone of the design and took a holistic approach to driving down site energy across each end-use. Congratulations!

 

Eversource and National Grid

Photo Credit: BR+A

Project Team: KPMB Architects, BR+A, Haley & Aldrich, Richard Burck, Dot Dash, Transsolar, The Green Engineer, Nitsch Engineering, Soberman Engineering, Jensen Hughes, Entuitive + LeMessurier, Suffolk Construction 

The BU Center for Computing and Data Science will be a 345,000 square foot, 19 story building that will achieve Class D Zero Net Energy. The building has an anticipated EUI of approximately 40 kBtu/sf*yr and will rely on 100% renewable electricity, eliminating fossil fuel consumption. The building will include triple glazed windows, exterior shading, active chilled beams

supplied by fan powered boxes, dual-wheel DOAS, and a central heat pump chiller plant connected to thirty-one 1,500 foot deep closed-loop geothermal wells. Renewable energy will be sourced from on-campus solar and off-campus wind. This was achieved at a cost premium well below 1% of construction cost, compared to the business as usual case. Utility incentives and grants further reduce this premium. The payback period is estimated to be less than two years.

GBS ’19 Project Sneak Peak: One Post Office Square

As we approach our Green Building Showcase on the 23rd, we will be releasing a series of project spotlights that will be shown at the event! Check out one from our friends at GenslerDon’t forget to purchase a ticket for the event!

Green Revitalization: Reinvesting Embodied Energy for a Sustainable Future

Written by Jessica Santonastaso, Associate, Gensler

As advances in green technology bring us closer to the promise of a sustainable future, older buildings in our cities are at risk of getting left behind. Leaking facades, outdated mechanical systems and inefficient structural layouts often mean that older buildings become undesirable. Neighborhoods that were once the most prized lose their vitality as today’s tenants flock to new development in areas further afield. What if we could envision a future for our cities where the embodied energy latent in this aging building stock could be leveraged, as if recycled in place, to create a new generation of sustainable, high performance environments?

The revitalization of One Post Office Square in Boston provides an opportunity to deliver this kind of transformation. Adjacent to the Norman B. Leventhal park (a gem of revitalization in its own right that turned an above ground parking structure into a popular urban oasis), the 1980 precast tower was suffering from a functionally and aesthetically outdated envelope and aging mechanical systems. A multi floor vacancy in the building provided the ownership team with an opportunity to step in to execute a new vision for the property.

The ongoing occupancy of the building necessitates a multi-faceted approach to the design and phasing of the tower. Both overclad (new wall installed in front of existing precast) and reclad (new wall installed after the removal of precast panels) strategies are being employed to deliver a new state of the art triple glazed curtainwall to a building where some tenants are remaining in place with minimal disturbance while others are moving from old space to new. The existing ten level parking garage will be demolished, replaced with 6 levels of automated parking- an innovation that allows an equivalent number of cars to be parked in half the space of a traditionally parked garage- with new leasable space above. State of the art MEP systems, including 4 pipe active chilled beams, groundwater recharge and energy recovery systems round out the modernization.

We hope the new One Post Office Square will be the catalyst in bringing about a new vision for the city of Boston and beyond- one where existing infrastructure is reconfigured and added to rather than replaced, where the trace of time and the city’s history can be read in a new, environmentally responsible and forward-thinking built environment. 

A comparison of the One Post Office Square Tower before and after its revitilization.

2019 EPMA Green Building Bike Tour

Written By Jill Pinsky, EPMA Treasurer

The 2019 EPMA Green Building Bike Tour took off from the Roxbury Crossing station and covered over 9 miles of the woodsy, bike friendly, community-garden-covered neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.

Jamaica Plain is often referred to as the greenest neighborhood in Boston. “Green” in this case refers to the large area of parks and vegetation, including many emeralds in Boston’s Emerald Necklace. However, after the Green Building Bike Tour, one could argue that the “green” designation also refers to the high concentration of sustainable infrastructure projects and green buildings nestled throughout.

The bike tour followed the Southwest Corridor Park down Columbus Ave where we met with the Assistant Director of the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources.

Up next we rode to the Roxbury Community College (RCC) solar parking lot and geothermal well field where the group got to meet with Kevin Hepner, VP of Admin and Finance at RCC. Tour attendees learned how the Roxbury Pudding Stone, the rock formation that lies under a large portion of Jamaica Plain, is an excellent conductor for geothermal.

Next the tour attendees were delighted when after climbing Fort Ave Hill on their bikes, Evan Smith and Jay from Placetailor Architects had cookies and water waiting for them and educated the group on the details of their Passive House design strategies. Afterwards, Evan (a Fort Hill resident and president of Placetailor Architects) and Jay joined on their bicycles and rode along with the tour while pointing out the many energy positive and Certified Passive House projects in the Fort Hill area.  

Afterwards the group continued down the Southwest Corridor and visited Bikes not Bombs and toured the bike shop and learned about the community programs offered to promote bicycling as a safe and sustainable mode of transportation.

Next the group rode over to the Hernandez Elementary School to learn about the school’s stormwater infiltration system that was designed to integrate into the landscape and play area as well as spark curiosity and serve as an educational tool for the students. Frank Stone, a bike tour attendee and a Hernandez School alum, provided the tour.

Around lunchtime the tour stopped by the City Feed and Supply on Boylston Street and got to speak with Noah Bondy who manages the “Mini” Feed.

Next the group took a self-guided tour of the Old Oak Dojo, New England’s first Living Building Challenge Certified project. Tour attendees got to sit peacefully in the community space (made entirely of salvaged and re-purposed materials) as well as ride a rope swing over the Dojo’s abundant permaculture garden.

The last stop on the tour was the JP Branch of the Boston Public Library. Utile Architects designed many of the sustainable features of the new addition. One of the highlights of the addition is the digitally printed ceramic frit pattern applied to the large front facade, the pattern was created using an analysis of the sun path across the façade in order to provide optimal daylight as well as shade. The group happily stumbled upon an ice cream fundraiser being held in the lower level. Tour attendees were happy to come away with free ice cream and library books.

The ice cream was a much-needed fuel to energize riders for the final few stops of the tour as we rode through the vibrant Arnold Arboretum on our way to Turtle Swamp Brewery where we ended.

Thanks to Blue Bikes for donating the adventure passes and to all those who contributed to make this year’s bike tour a huge success!

Learn More About Massachusetts EV Charging Incentive Programs

Presented by ChargePoint

As the transportation of people and goods moves toward electrification, Massachusetts is offering some of the most generous utility and state electric vehicle (EV) charging incentives in the nation. Qualified commercial properties can take advantage of either Eversource’s $45 million EV Charging Program or National Grid’s $24 million EV Infrastructure Program. Both can then be paired with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) $3.5 million EV Charging Station Grant for even bigger savings. In this video, ChargePoint program experts walk you through how to navigate and leverage them in your EV charging strategy.

EPMA Summer Picnic 2019

Written By Kavita Karmarkar

EPMA members enjoy refreshments at SW Corridor Park.

This past Thursday August 1st 2019, EPMA-ers gathered at the SW Corridor Park for an evening of good food and knowledge. Swapnil, one of our volunteers, did a fantastic job organizing the event complete with sumptuous food from Whole Heart Provisions and lawn games.

The highlight of the evening was getting to know the work done by David Meshoulam and his organization ‘Speak for the Trees’. David has been an educator for the past 15 years and is passionate about having new generations understand the deep links between science, culture, and nature. The main mission of Speak for the Trees is to improve the size and health of the urban tree canopy in the Greater Boston Area. They undertake various efforts for advocacy and outreach, but one of their main initiatives is to map, measure, and account for every street tree in the Boston area with the Tree Urban Teen Corps program (TUTC). For this, they properly train their “volun-trees” (that’s a good one) to identify and measure all attributes of the trees. They use their own software, ‘OpenTreeMap’, where anyone can see the street tree cover in their neighborhood, if it has been mapped. For anyone interested in participating in this and many other activities they do, please see their website https://www.sfttbos.org/. Two of our volunteers got a glimpse of the unique characteristics of the trees around us and how to correctly identify them. 

Thank you to David and all the people who made it to the event.

EPMA would like to say thank you to Pare Corporation who generously sponsored this event. Lindsey Machamer was representing Pare Corporation. Pare corporation understands the value of urban open space and trees from the substantial effect they can have on stormwater management. Pare is working with some local sewer authorities to plan green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) in available public open space. GSI can help to improve water quality by removing pollutants from stormwater, reducing flows into the combined sewer system, and mitigating flooding impacts.