Emily Kingston's blog

Thank you from the Greening Committee - see you at Greenbuild!

By Emily Kingston on 11/3/2017

Greenbuild Boston is just next week – we are so excited to network with colleagues, learn from the experts, and celebrate all of the hard work USGBC MA’s Greenbuild Host Committee put in since first coming together in LA last year!


Over the past few months, the Greening Committee has been hard at work compiling information for your reference to make your stay in Boston more environmentally responsible. If you haven’t already, check out our Greening Greenbuild map with information on travel, restaurants, and hotels here.


In an effort to support (okay, brag about) the City of Boston’s leadership in climate adaptation and preparedness, which you can learn more about here and here, we also created 2-page resiliency assessments for all 17 Greenbuild hotels. You can download those at the link below to learn more about specific risks each hotel faces and resources from the City to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. With the help of Linnean Solutions, the Greening Committee wants to help educate and inform the hospitality industry in Boston and get the message and findings described in Climate Ready Boston out to that critical industry. In addition to creating the 2-pagers, the Greening Committee has also coordinated a meeting and presentation with Boston Green Tourism, which will bring Greenbuild hotels together in early December to learn from the experts about Climate Ready Boston and resilient design solutions that will help improve the built environment and our preparedness to the imposing risks of climate change.


Thanks for following along with our Greening efforts over the past year. Please walk, bike, or carpool when in town this week. Check out our amazing local food and vegetarian offerings. And applaud your hotel for their commitment to sustainability!


See you soon,

Christina McPike, WinnCompanies and Samira Ahmadi, enviENERGY Studio    


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Welcome Gensler as our Newest Sponsor!

By Emily Kingston on 10/27/2017

We are honored to announce Gensler as our newest Green Level sponsor.

Gensler's goal is to promote broader awareness about the environmental impact that buildings have on the world, and contribute to conversations about the leadership role that the architecture, engineering and construction industries can play in global efforts to answer the challenges posed by climate change.

Impact by Design 2017 is Gensler’s second annual publication analyzing the sustainable performance of their work. In it, they provide a comprehensive look at the energy performance and the carbon impact of their design work, a broad analysis of how new innovations in design, engineering, and technology are improving the sustainable footprint of the global built environment, and recently completed projects that exemplify sustainable design in action, while noting specific strategies or design aspects that have made noticeable differences.

Gensler projects that push the boundaries of sustainable performance include PartnersHealthCare, Etsy Headquarters, Gensler New York offices, and the International Interior Design Association. Some of the strategies implemented with the greatest opportunity to make an impact are tree canopy shading, LED lighting, real-time performance modeling, Energy Star appliances, and demand response appliances.

Welcome to our sponsoring partner community, Gensler. We are proud to have you as a partner and look forward to accomplishing great things together.

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Welcome Finegold Alexander Architects as our New Sponsor!

By Emily Kingston on 10/25/2017

We are honored to announce Finegold Alexander Architecture as our newest Advocate Level sponsor.

The success of Finegold Alexander Architects' projects results from their proven ability to balance the goal of design excellence within the realistic parameters of budget and schedule. Throughout the planning stages of a project, a variety of architectural concepts are fully explored in relation to aesthetics, function, site and environmental issues, engineering requirements, energy conservation, accessibility, cost, and schedule. 

When focusing on sustainability, Finegold Alexander Architects embraces the opportunity to develop sustainable energy sources and with the common sense of new planning and design creates spaces in a holistic approach to energy conservation. Interior finishes, materials and natural/artificial lighting are among initiatives that they can suggest and include to reduce energy use.

Welcome to our sponsoring partner community, Finegold Alexander Architecture. We are proud to have you as a partner and look forward to accomplishing great things together.

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Stantec leading sustainability in Boston

By Elizabeth King, Stantec on 10/16/2017

Stantec is a process driven firm and we believe that sustainability goes well beyond the building’s footprint. Sustainability considers stewardship of the physical, social and financial health of an institution within the broader context of its environment and community.  Our design ideas are embedded with energy efficient principles in mind—from the orientation of the building masses to building technologies—we take advantage of both building systems and client engagement to help build a sustainable future. 
Designed in hyper-collaboration with Massachusetts College of Art and Design students, professors, staff, alumni, and trustees, the MassART “Tree House” Residence Hall has become a landmark in the Boston skyline. The 21-story residence hall for 476 freshmen includes a café, living room, health center, communal kitchen, game room, laundry room, fitness center, and 17 floors of residential semi-suites with a lounge or a workroom on each floor. Inspired by Gustav Klimt’s 1909, ‘Tree of Life’ painting, the building is designed to promote healthy lifestyles, sustainable practices, and to culturally connect to its vibrant surrounding community of art and the Colleges of the Fenway.  The MassART “Tree House” is LEED Gold Certified.

The Eddy is a highly sustainable, mixed-use building located along the waterfront in East Boston. Standing 17 stories tall, the building consists of 259 apartment units, a suite of amenities, restaurant space and unrivaled views of the Boston skyline. Numerous site improvements reinforce the building’s connection to the water which offers recreational opportunities as well as transportation alternatives to East Boston residents. The development of The Eddy extended the Harborwalk, creating nearly one acre of publicly accessible waterfront space as well as open space used for community events.  By leveraging the natural assets of this unique site, a host of benefits are now available for the East Boston community to enjoy. The Eddy is LEED Gold Certified.

Special author: Elizabeth King, Associate at Stantec

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Getting Smart about Sustainability

By VHB – Kari Hewitt, Director of Sustainability, and Steve Anderson, Director of Applied Technologies on 10/5/2017

As professionals operating in the sustainability and applied technology space, we are no strangers to buzz words, nor to the perception that our work is part of a passing trend. It may be easy to pass off the concept of “smart cities” as the latest of such trendy phrases. What is a “smart city” anyway? Why is everyone talking about “big data” and “internet of things”? Isn’t all this smart technology just for the privileged anyway?

It is fair to be skeptical and cautious. However, imagine a community where we are able to connect all citizens to the internet. Imagine a building stock powered by a smart grid and meters that can respond to changes in demand and inform building managers and homeowners instantly of leaks or inefficiencies. Sensors that know when to light up a street or sidewalk for passing pedestrians or that can inform citizens and public health officials when air quality is poor. Smart waste receptacles powered by solar energy that tell haulers when they need to be emptied. A transportation network enabled with real time data and smart payment options to allow users to make smart and healthy choices about how to get to work or school.

We strongly believe that the cities that are leading the way on sustainability and resiliency are also leading the way on smart cities. And this is because their leaders recognize that these pathways are inextricably linked—innovation, sustainability, and resiliency are a necessity for cities to manage growing populations, remain economically competitive, and to advance solutions to global climate change challenges. They also recognize that city government exists to provide services to its citizens and that they need to be thoughtful about the user's perspective - using technology to better meet the needs of all citizens. Smart City technologies have the potential to:

  • Improve health and well-being
  • Enhance mobility
  • Boost economic development
  • Reduce disparities/inequities
  • Improve facility management
  • Improve safety, emergency response, and cyber security
  • Promote efficiency and environmental stewardship
  • Enhance transparency
  • Enhance resiliency
  • Measure & report on performance

A key tenet of sustainable planning, design, and management of buildings and communities comes down to effective decision-making. When people are armed with real-time information that they can compare to historic patterns, they are able to make smart decisions, and see if those decisions are actually making a difference. Smart Cities technologies have the ability to arm governments, businesses, and citizens with information to make their communities thrive.

Find VHB on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Welcome Consulate General of Canada as our New Sponsor!

By Emily Kingston on 10/2/2017

We are honored to announce Consulate General of Canada as our newest Advocate Level sponsor.

The Consulate General of Canada in Boston provides useful support to over 60 Canadian companies from a variety of industries including biotech, manufacturing, security, and building products. Their office connects Canadian companies to the New England states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Welcome to our sponsoring partner community, Consulate General of Canada in Boston. We are proud to have you as a partner and look forward to accomplishing great things together.

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Careers in Sustainability Panel at Northeastern

By Emily Kingston on 9/21/2017

We had a great turnout on September 19th for the Careers in Sustainability Panel at Northeastern. Co-hosted by the NU Energy Systems SocietyUSGBC MA’s Emerging Professionals, and the USGBC MA Greenbuild Volunteer committee, the event generated some great conversation from six stellar sustainability professionals.

Our panelists included: Alex Testa, Structural Engineer at Silman; Ryan Montoni, Project Manager at The Green Engineer; Blake Jackson, Sustainability Design Leader at Stantec; Lindsey Machamer, Senior Engineer at Pare Corporation; and John Gravelin, Project Manager at Linnean Solutions. The panel was expertly moderated by EPMA’s co-chair Aminah McNulty, Marketing Coordinator for Brown, Richardson + Rowe.

The panelists shared their unique experiences and varied career paths to their current position, the things they wish they knew when they started out, and tips for networking your way to your dream job. 

Join us for more events like this one including: How to Network at Greenbuild coming up on October 26th at Boston University and consider registering today as a volunteer at Greenbuild to take advantage of some incredible sustainability career opportunities.


Students and Emerging Professionals: It's time for Greenbuild!

By Emily Kingston on 9/19/2017

Are you....

  • Passionate about green buildings?
  • Interested in pursuing a career in a green building related field?
  • Looking to network with the best and brightest in the green building industry?
  • A full-time student or emerging professional age 25 or under?

Then join your peers and volunteer at Greenbuild (the largest green building conference in the world) in Boston this November 8-9, 2017! Volunteer responsibilities include administrative people management, recycling logistics, and other supportive roles. By clocking in an 8-hour volunteer shift, volunteers will be able to

  • Receive a FREE 3-day pass
  • Network with green building leaders and professionals
  • Connect with students and emerging professionals across the nation
  • Attend Greenbuild sessions featuring renowned speakers with a passion for sustainability
  • See the latest and greatest products and services in the Expo hall

Can’t wait till November and want to hang out with green building enthusiasts now? Then join us at one of our upcoming events!

9/21/17 – September Greenbuild Mixer with JLL

9/29/17 – Northeastern’s Energy Conference

10/10/17 – Greenbuild Volunteer Meeting

10/16/17 – Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts Monthly Meeting

10/26/17 – How to Network at Greenbuild and Build Your Career in Sustainability  

Project Spotlight: Subaru of New England Corporate Headquarters & Distribution Center

By Emily Kingston on 9/19/2017

This project brought together corporate offices, a warehouse and distribution center for vehicle parts, and a training center for mechanics under one roof in a new, state-of-the-art LEED Platinum facility.  A commitment to sustainability is a key focus of the Subaru brand, one that factors in to every level of the company’s business model.  For the client—the exclusive distributor of Subaru vehicles and parts for the six New England states—a LEED Platinum facility was the goal from project kick-off.  As a result, the project team was able to utilize a holistic approach to sustainability, bringing LEED practices into planning, design, and construction processes from the start.


The program consisted of a new 165,000 SF corporate headquarters, employee training, warehouse, and distribution center in Norwood, MA.  At 86 points, the project has been certified LEED Platinum, and is the highest rated NC v2009 LEED project over 100,000 SF in Massachusetts, and is one of highest-rated projects of its kind in the United States.  Sustainable features include:

  • Photovoltaic array providing 228,500 kWh/ year (20% of the building’s energy needs)
  • Site utilizes rainwater collection and drought resistant landscaping
  • Over 30% of the building materials used were sourced within 500 miles of the site
  • Chilled beam HVAC system reduces the building’s energy use by 40%
  • LED lighting throughout and skylights for daylighting significantly reduce electricity usage
  • White roof assembly reduces the heat-island effect
  • High-efficiency plumbing fixtures are projected to reduce the facility’s water usage by 41%

The design and construction team worked hard to ensure that the project met the client’s goals, while paying careful attention to the $30 million budget and completing construction within 15 months.  


See more photos here: http://www.grlarchitects.com/subaru-of-new-england/


*for new construction, v2009


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ICON Architecture : “Did you know?”

By Emily Kingston on 9/18/2017

Did you know that ICON Architecture designed the first Multi-Family Passive House in Massachusetts?

Located on South Boston’s historic waterfront, The Distillery North is not only the first of its kind in Massachusetts, but is also the largest mixed-use Passive House in New England. Occupying a city block between Dorchester Street and H Street in South Boston, the project site was once a rum distillery connected to the Boston Harbor through working canals. The 5-story building now provides 28 ultra-sustainable units as the first phase of a multi-staged development. The Distillery North enhances the vibrant community with ground floor commercial space, a café, and a roof deck with sweeping views of the city.

The Distillery North achieves a total Primary Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of 22.4 kBTU/sf/year, or an incredible 82% reduction of over the baseline estimate of 124.8 kBTU/sf/year for a midrise apartment building using ASHRAE 2013. It achieved a score of 98 LEED points, 8 points above Platinum under the LEED for Homes Midrise Version 3 Rating System. ICON Architecture is already developing its next Passive House projects, and looks forward to spreading this ultra-sustainable design method across New England. For more information – please visit ICON on the web at www.iconarch.com.

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