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More Than 24,000 Attendees and 700 Exhibitors Convened for Greenbuild and ABX 2017

By Informa Exhibitions U.S. on 11/17/2017

Today, Informa Exhibitions, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Boston Society of Architects/AIA announced the results of the 2017 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo and the Architecture Boston Expo, held last week at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, Massachusetts. The week-long events included an overall attendance of 24,731 and 703 exhibiting companies participating in 169,000 square feet of exhibit and display space on the trade show floor.

The Greenbuild-ABX education programs cumulatively featured more than 300 sessions, tours, summits and workshops in the robust education program and throughout the week, with nearly 100 sold out sessions. Attendees of each show were eligible to attend education sessions at both events.

“This year, we celebrated ‘Together in Boston’ to aptly describe the communal spirit of the week and the co-location between Greenbuild and ABX that formed the mega-event last week. We are so grateful to our community of attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and partners who brought such energy, excitement, and momentum to this year’s event," said Lindsay Roberts, Greenbuild group director, Informa Exhibitions. “It was an incredibly successful week celebrating the entire building and design community as well as the green building movement in the beautiful, historic setting of Boston.”

Greenbuild-ABX 2017 featured several key events, such as:

  • Plenary, which featured the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton
  • Celebration, held at the Boston Museum of Science, with a special concert by The Revivalists
  • Closing Plenary, which concluded the week with American astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson  
  • Combined Summit Closing Plenary with Bill McDonough, who spoke on advancing sustainable communities through the Cradle to Cradle© mission
  • Master speakers Scot Horst, CEO of Arc Skoru; Dr. John Warner, President and Chief Technology Officer of Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry; and Stephanie Meeks, CEO, National Trust for Historic Preservation
  • USGBC Leadership Awards Luncheon, which annually recognizes outstanding efforts to advance green building design and construction
  • Communities & Affordable Homes Summit, WaterBuild Summit and International Summit
  • Women in Green Power Breakfast, which celebrated the strength of our democracy and women’s role in shaping change
  • Women in Design Symposium, a day-long event that encourages success and leadership for women in the design community
  • Greenbuild Legacy Project, the creation of a Green Building Tech Program at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Boston
  • Eleven alumni events hosted by area universities and associations
  • Happy Hour in the Hall, which provided a lively atmosphere for networking

“The theme for this year’s Greenbuild was “All In,” which encompasses the breadth of the sustainability and green building movement and the commitment we feel to our community, to our mission, and to our world,” said Kate Hurst, senior vice president, Conferences & Events, USGBC. “With Greenbuild’s platform expanding to India and China in addition to Boston in 2017, we are growing our green building knowledge and shared expertise across continents—while scaling the breadth and reach of global market transformation for the built environment.”

Attendees also spent significant time discovering and enjoying the historical city of Boston. The USGBC Massachusetts community led the official host committee of Greenbuild 2017 with 30 tours throughout the week, exploring sustainable sites, prominent local universities, commercial buildings and the seaport.

The expo hall again showcased the leading products and services available to professionals within the sustainable building industry and had several notable areas, including:

  • World’s only Net Zero Zone, a 9,000 square foot pavilion powered by alternative power collected on-site at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
  • Five new content-specific Applied Learning Areas which featured extended Q&A from sessions in the education program, exhibitor-led lunch & learns and whitepaper discussions
  • Seven sponsored Education Labs with CE accredited education on the show floor
  • 212 exhibitors who scored a 75 or higher on the Greenbuild Mandatory Exhibitor Greening Guidelines Survey, including overall winners
  • Design Technology Throwdown, where teams of 4 competed against each other to design the best solution to a mutual design problem
  • Immersive Visualization, an interactive A/R and V/R display that featured over 10 companies
  • Learning Stage which featured free presentations every hour
  • The Quad, an annual social space exhibition area
  • Open Architecture Collaborative, which featured images and models of projects from the Boston chapter and hosted 2 interactive sessions on the show floor
  • MakeTank demonstration pavilion
  • Central Park landscape pavilion, which featured a charging pelaton and allowed attendees to charge their phone by riding stationary bicycles
  • Braindate lounge that allowed all participants to connect and meet face to face on specific topics of their choice

Josiah Stevenson FAIA, principal at Leers Weinzapfel Associates and 2017 BSA President noted:

“Every year during ABX, the BSA/AIA looks forward to learning the unexpected from interesting seminars, speaking face to face with product reps and running into seldom seen old friends. This year ABX was especially exciting because we co-located with Greenbuild. We were delighted to share the quest for design excellence and the power of knowledge with our Greenbuild colleagues during our time ‘Together in Boston’.”

Greenbuild 2018 is scheduled for Nov. 14-16 at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill. More information can be found at greenbuildexpo.com. The Call for Proposals and Reviewers for Greenbuild 2017 is now open and the deadline to submit a proposal is Jan. 5, 2018.

ABX 2018 is scheduled for Nov. 28-29 at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston, MA. More information can be found at abexpo.com. The Call for Proposals for ABX 2018 will open Dec. 1 and the deadline to submit a proposal is Mar. 31, 2018.

A Message from USGBCMA:

I attended Greenbuild for the first time ever this past week and was amazed by the seeming ease and professionalism an event hosting 25,000 people could operate with. But it is important to remember that behind the success of Greenbuild is a small army of people whom throughout months of preparation are able to pull together a seamless integration of volunteers, outreach, sustainability, tours, and even the fostering of the future generation of green building practitioners. Their efforts underpin the success of the event and even the success of the green building industry in Boston. 

We owe special thanks to Judy Nitsch of Nitsch Engineering, who was recognized for her efforts at our Local Chapter Welcome Party and lead the host committee efforts. 

Jessie Miller of Opterra and Andrew Breiter-Wu of Breiter Planet spearheaded the volunteer's effort, gathering roughly 350 student volunteers from the local community and abroad.

Todd Isherwood of the Green Project Manager and Christina McPike of Winn Development lead the Greening of Greenbuild project, which aimed to promote sustainability through all aspects of the conference. The Greening Committee also aimed to educate Greenbuild 2017 attendees on recycling and waste management by equipping student volunteers with the appropriate background knowledge and expertise.

Kate Bubriski of Arrowstreet and Mike Browne of Advanced Building Analysis lead the Local Partners and Regional Outreach Committee. The goal of Local Partners & Regional Outreach Committee is to create and strengthen relationships with local and regional governments, educational and cultural institutions and nonprofit organizations to ensure Greenbuild 2017 is an amazing and lasting experience for all.

Jenn Taranto of Structure Tone and Cynthia Curtis of JLL lead the Ambassadors Committee, which ensured that USGBC (National) and USGBC MA were connected to the region’s sustainability VIPs, cultivates relationships, and delivered sponsorships for Greenbuild and Chapter-related Greenbuild activities.

Beyond the expo hall at Greenbuild, many tours occurred in the background of the entire event, showcasing Boston to the international audience. The arrangement of tours was managed by Jana Silsby of Perkins Eastman and Jeremy Caron of DCAMM, whom we owe a debt of gratitude. 

Before Greenbuild we also hosted a Local Chapter Welcome Party, and all proceeds from this event went to our Legacy Project. The Legacy Project to foster growth in the green building sector by providing internships to the students of the Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in green building relevant jobs. Paul Gusmini of the Federal Reserve Bank and Kristen Fritsch of Elkus Manfredi Architects made this possible through the constant commitment to the program and fostering the next generation of students. 

Lastly, we would like to thank Co-Chair Bryan Koop of Boston Properties and Co-Chair Agent Ben Myers of Boston Properties for their support and work within the Greenbuild Host Committee.

Undoubtedly there are many others that have contributed to making Greenbuild possible that we may not have mentioned, and we recognize that with an event so impactful to Boston, many people worked tirelessly to make this happen. The experience was incredible to all of us at USGBC MA, and we are eager to help continue to foster the momentum and passion we saw at Greenbuild. 

All in: A Recap of Greenbuild 2017 in Boston

By Jim Stanislaski, AIA, LEED BD+C Senior Associate, Gensler on 11/16/2017

I witnessed a lot of hugging. In my career, I’ve been to varied conferences - serious meetings of people presenting projects from behind the security of that black hotel tablecloth fabric and fake woodgrain podium. Suits and polished shoes trying to get that pesky embedded video to play. While these are the reliable immutables at every conference, Greenbuild always feels different to me.

In November, more than 20,000 people came to Boston to attend Greenbuild and Architecture Boston Expo (ABX). It had the feel of a family reunion, seeing past and present friends and collaborators and meeting new family members. It’s a tribe in the most convivial and life-passion sense, hence the rampant hugging. With dangling conference lanyards akimbo, we catch-up and scheme about our little piece of The Mission.

The theme this year was “ALL IN” − which is meant to reinforce the commitment and optimism needed to confront climate change head-on. The global green movement is literally saving lives and is unstoppable. This commitment means every project, every day, starting with you and me.

My conference highlight was hearing President Bill Clinton’s plenary along those same themes. It was a sincere pep talk of sorts, from a man with decades of global environmental and political perspective. He underscored how we are the lucky ones, to be “present at the creation” of a whole new green economy. Playing to the local crowd, he referenced Harvard professor and legendary environmentalist, naturalist, biologist and author E.O. Wilson. Echoing Wilson’s work, President Clinton cited that the most successful organisms on earth that collaborate are honeybees, termites, ants, and humans. While there is a lot of work to do, we need to celebrate the fact that millions of people are cooperating to solve global problems. Scientists, entrepreneurs, teachers, and designers are sharing and collaborating like never before.  

The leadership force of women was also evident throughout the conference. While there were sessions like the Women in Design Symposium highlighting the specific achievements of women, it was more organic than that. At the risk of singling out one of the several deserving USGBC Leadership Award winners, please google Dorothy Stoneman. As the poverty-cycle busting founder of YouthBuild, she is my new personal hero. Judy Nitsch is a well-known local advocate for women in the engineering professions and was a tireless organizer for Boston support of a successful Greenbuild. Mary Ann Lazarus (Chair of National AIA Committee on the Environment) and Dr. S. Atyia Martin (City of Boston Chief Resilience Officer) and Gensler’s own Kirsten Richie were other women leading by example at Greenbuild−and too many others to list here. In their keynotes, Bill Clinton and the perpetually-smiling USGBC President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam cited the debt we owe to women leaders. In the recent best-selling book Drawdown, Paul Hawken notes that “climate change is not gender neutral”. Educating and empowering women and girls around the world is among the top imperatives that will have the most impact on the climate crisis.

Gensler had a strong showing at Greenbuild again this year, with David Briefel presenting healthy materials and biophilia lessons from the Living Building Challenge petal certification of Etsy’s Headquarters in Brooklyn. Len Sciarra outlined important changes to ASHRAE 90.1, and Kirsten Richie reviewed how to guide healthy and safe building material decisions. Amanda Langweil was a behind the scenes volunteer helping to select speakers and review session topics. I was particularly proud of our Boston based team of young designers who won the “Quad” competition to create a Sustainable Social space. Gensler took first place among 60 competition entries with an inventive wood structure built on the ABX floor.

I attended Greenbuild when it was in Boston in 2008, and it is interesting to see how far we have come in those nine years. Among the most notable aspects of many of the sessions was the evolving role technology and big data (of course) within the broader green building movement. The number of websites, databases, and online tools have exploded, and each is trying for the tri-partite holy grail of reliability, scalability, and user-friendliness. Smart cities, health and wellness, materials transparency, and transportation are being transformed by easy access to free data.  

Another recognizable thread in the conference was Net Zero energy, water, and waste. Nine years ago we heard Net Zero goals and intentions. Now we are seeing the built projects and the data, still with some nagging asterisks that will hopefully disappear as the data fidelity and transparency improves. It left me wondering what the landscape will be in another nine years as machine learning and artificial intelligence help us solve the world’s most complex problems.  

Noted astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson closed the conference with a predictable cosmic view. He talked about light hitting the earth in various ways, from the urban heat island effect on city roofs to sunsets in the canyons of New York City and the arches of Stonehenge. Dr. Tyson noted our “atmosphere thickness is to earth, as the skin is to an apple” and our everyday actions matter. He ended with the photograph of earth from the Cassini spacecraft as a “pale blue dot,” noting that the entirety of human existence as we know it - all the generations, wars, elections and triumphs occurred wholly on this spec in the universe.

This left me encouraged in our future, reminding me that despite the noise and political disagreements, there are millions of people who are ALL IN, like me. It’s personal and it’s real. We need to collaborate more than ever before and even if you’re not a hugger or aren’t sure where to start- that’s OK- there’s room for everyone in this movement and on this pale blue dot.


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RGBC Meeting with Rick Nortz

By USGBC MA Communications on 11/15/2017

The Residential Green Building Committee gathered on November 13th, 2017. We had a guest presentation from Rick Nortz, Manager of the Utility and Efficiency Program at Mitsubishi Electric.

Rick gave an overview of advantages of ductless vs. ducted heat pumps and dove into the health and environmental benefits of such appliances. Rick explained that just as we saw the switch from incandescent light bulbs to CFLs, we will now experience ductless heat pump swaps as the next low hanging fruit to increase efficiency in our buildings.

Generally speaking, a heat pump absorbs heat from outside and discharges it inside, as opposed to an air conditioner which reverses the process by absorbing the heat inside and discharging it outside. With a ductless heat pump, it actually acts as both a heating and cooling unit. The distinction between ductless and ducted heat pumps has to do with the refrigerant distribution. Dispersing the refrigerant through thin pipes with a ductless solution can be more efficient than through ductwork. With ductless systems, you can distribute heating or cooling to different zones within a building, without having to supply the same temperature throughout the entire building, thus improving efficiency. Of course, if the building already has ductwork, it makes the most sense to swap in a ducted heat pump, but for new homes without ductwork, ductless air pumps are highly recommended.

As heat pumps use electricity for the refrigerant distribution, Rick explained that some places consider heat pumps to be a form of renewable energy, and especially if the building already pulls from a renewable energy source such as solar PV.

Mitsubishi is a market leader as a supplier of both ductless and ducted heat pumps, and particularly, the Cold Climate Heat Pumps. Rick explained the evolution of heat pump operations, as they formerly only functioned up to 32 deg. F with the need for backup heating, and now they operate at -13 deg. F. These Cold Climate Heat Pumps are commonly deployed as the primary heating system while keeping the existing heat in the home as a secondary source. However, they can be the primary source depending on how much heat the building needs.

We all learned a lot from Rick’s presentation. Please join us at our monthly chapter meetings to hear more from experts in the green building space, and get a chance to mingle with like-minded individuals! See you next time!

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How To Network At Greenbuild Event Recap

By USGBC MA Communications on 11/7/2017

With Greenbuild approaching, the USGBC BU chapter thought it would be helpful to enlighten students and volunteers on how to network and navigate the conference world. Our recent event, “How to Network at Greenbuild and Build Your Career in Sustainability,” brought together USGBC Students, the Emerging Professional group of the USGBC MA chapter, and students from the Boston area. Throughout the night, improvisation coach Marcus Hunter, walked us through what it looks like to network with confidence and start and sustain organic conversations. Check out our quick recap below:



  • Maintain eye contact when conversing
  • Make a point of learning the names of people you engage with
  • Make business cards
  • Create a LinkedIn account
  • Dress professionally
  • Ask questions that draw out your conversations and show interest
  • Know what sessions you’d like to attend


  • Hand out your resume in the place of a business card
  • Talk over the person you’re speaking with
  • Fidget while in conversation
  • Talk solely about yourself


Make a point of reaching out to people in roles that you are interested in pursuing
Specify where you met the person you’re following up with and how their work aligns with your goals
Ask for an informational interview or more general info on how to pursue certain avenues
Connect with other volunteers and stay in touch
Attend Emerging Professionals meetings with the USGBC MA chapter

How to Network PDF


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New Balance HQ Earns LEED Platinum Certification

By USGBC MA Communications on 11/3/2017

New Balance, the athletic shoe and sports gear company, earned LEED Platinum certification for its new world headquarters in Boston, MA where natural stone played a vibrant role in defining its sustainability and engagement with the local community. Part of the larger Boston Landing project revitalizing a former industrial area and stockyard, the 475,000 sf mixed-use design offers a blend of retail space, offices, restaurants and a state-of-the-art sports complex - there’s even an ice skating rink that has attracted the Bruins, dubbing it the Warrior Ice Arena.  Natural stone contributed to the project’s enhancement of Boston’s urban heritage, situating it within the fabric of its lasting tradition of using granite in urban landscaping and the built environment, but with a fresh new take on the material. Quarried in nearby Riviere-a-Pierre, Quebec by premier quarrier of world renowned North American natural stones, Polycor provided two granites for the design. Titanium Pearl and Saint Sebastien granite, both quarried and produced within a 500-mile radius helped the project earned MR Credits 5.1 & 5.2 for Regional Materials. The local granite was employed in a variety of different finishes for interesting textures in the pavers, wall veneer cladding, column bases, stairs, planters and curbs.

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By Melissa Caldwell on 10/31/2017

I just finished reading “If Only Green Homes Could be Sold like Breakfast Cereal”, a blog from Martin Holladay’s “Musings of an Energy Nerd”. Although a seemingly big stretch from marketing boxed cereal to a green home, Martin says the bottom line is all about acknowledging what’s important to the shopper, and their level of interest in whatever the marketer is using to sell the item or service. Holladay noticed that some sweet sugary cereals are sold, touting their ‘g of fiber in every serving’. In this instance, the shopper knows what a “g” is and that the grams of fiber content justifies the purchase. Sure, why not! I can eat this mostly non-nutritive cereal and still do something good for myself. Go figure. So, the quandary for us as sustainable builders is, if shoppers are savvy enough to know what a “g” is on a cereal box, can’t we assume they would know what HERS ratings, LEED and ENERGY STAR certification are and what a sustainable home means to your energy savings? No, we can’t! What we and others have found is that home owners don’t care so much about green and/or sustainable, but more about COMFORT!

Wright Builders has been known for more than 20 years for its commitment to and execution of green and sustainable building; the use of energy efficient systems including state of the art minisplits, triple glazed windows, double stud walls, HERS ratings below code minimum, ENERGY STAR and LEED Certification. That’s all well and good, but what Holladay and others are asking is, what about the comfort! According to Dr. Helen Ryding, only governments care about energy efficiency; homeowners care about comfort. And said differently by the author of “People Don’t Care about Energy Efficiency”, Leland Teschler says “Energy efficiency just isn’t a priority for the vast majority of consumers.” ‘People are concerned about the predictable matters like the aesthetics of their homes and comfort.” Here’s that word again. C-o- m-f- o-r- t! Okay, we can do this. We can talk about comfort first, then sustainable construction and weave the 2 together using any of our sustainable building attributes. Triple glazed windows as an example, now more often used in new green home construction and required in zones 7-8. With these windows comfort equals reduced sound transmission, excellent resistance to condensation problems, decreased relative heat loss resulting in positively impacting your energy bills, security enhancement, as the thicker area will be harder to break in if someone wants to do some property damage, greater energy savings when compared to regular and double glazed windows, and in certain circumstances, installing triple glazed windows is equivalent to upgrading walls and ceilings from R-20 to R-40. That’s all about year-round comfort when heating or cooling.

Comfort in a sustainably built home comes in many flavors and connecting the dots between comfort and sustainably built is easy. Lower indoor room temperature fluctuation; low operating costs achieved through ENREGY STAR compliance, low HERS rating and state-of- the-art building envelope design, and satisfaction of knowing that a long-term investment, enjoyed every day is also treading as light as possible on the planet. That all spells C-O- M-F- O-R- T. Here’s an idea: Have your marketing materials show beautiful interiors, with lounging happy home owners, comfortable in their new home as a Nor’ Easter blows through! With their double stud walls and R-35 wall insulation and triple glazing with a U .17, the windows aren’t moving and the curtains aren’t blowing in the breeze! And when the power goes out, knowing their home is minimally vulnerable during power outages as these homes hold their temperature for an extended period of time is just another plus. We’re looking forward to winter! How about you?

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Sustainability Performance Management - LEED Certification through the Arc Platform

By Donny Goris-Kolb, Environmental Planner, VHB on 10/27/2017

For many it has become almost cliché – the adage, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” However, it’s extremely relevant for effective and sustainable management of buildings, campuses, and entire communities. At VHB, we’ve been exploring the best ways to support our clients’ efforts to manage their buildings and operations, and to communicate performance, not only to the public, but also to operators and decision-makers. After all, sustainable management really comes down to effective decision-making, which is only possible when armed with the best available data. The Arc platform, introduced in 2016 and maintained by Arc Skoru Inc. (an organization created by the Green Business Certification, Inc. [GBCI]), is a novel approach to the implementation of LEED for existing buildings with plans to expand to other green building rating systems, protocols, and guidelines such as

GRESB, WELL, PEER, SITES, and Parksmart. It represents a concerted effort by United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and GBCI to broaden the reach of LEED and related principles and practices, as the platform’s target audience includes not only projects looking to achieve LEED certification or recertification, but also non-certified projects whose owners/operators would like to make and measure incremental sustainability improvements, as well as cities and communities looking to provide enhanced quality of life. The digital platform streamlines LEED Operations + Maintenance (O+M) recertification for existing LEED-certified projects by focusing on performance data across five key subcategories: Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation, and Human Experience. For non-LEED certified projects wishing to pursue initial certification under LEED v4 O+M, the platform simplifies the process through the “Performance Score to LEED certification pilot credit.” This alternative pathway reduces the requirements for certification by requesting the same performance data as required for recertification, along with satisfying a limited number of prerequisites and optional credits.

Arc represents a recognition by USGBC and GBCI that data management and analysis are integral components of a project’s sustainability, and that transparency is an essential part of such efforts. The platform provides projects with the ability to measure its sustainability improvements through continuous data uploads, real-time analysis, and web-based reporting. Leveraging its growing database of performance data, Arc provides projects with the ability to compare their performance to that of its peers locally and globally, and to share that data with its stakeholders through the Arc interface. Cities and communities can now also take advantage of Arc with the LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities pilot certification programs built directly into the platform. For the first time, cities, communities, neighborhoods, districts, townships, and counties can be LEED-certified. Within Arc, these entities can set goals, implement system-recommended strategies to meet those goals, and track their progress through key metrics and shared performance data, including greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy consumption.

VHB has worked with cities, airports, transportation agencies, and building owners on sustainability management for years. And we understand there is no single platform or solution that will meet everyone’s needs in the same way. What we consistently find to be most important in sustainability management is the ability to maintain a clear view of the program’s primary goals, which are to manage resources effectively, improve efficiencies, make people’s jobs easier, and manage data effectively to inform smart decision-making. We aim to connect our clients to the best available tools and resources to achieve these goals, and also have developed some custom tools to support such efforts where appropriate. At the end of the day, what is most exciting about Arc and similar programs is to see how big data and web-based management capabilities are expanding to help our clients to provide better services to their customers or citizens and improve their sustainability performance.

Find VHB on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.​


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Greenbuild Mixer with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

By USGBC MA Communications on 10/27/2017

On October 26th, we gathered together at the headquarters of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for our final Greenbuild Mixer. Over 80 members of Boston's green building community joined together at the beautiful venue for drinks and networking before Greenbuild. Our very own Celis Brisbin gave an opening speech welcoming everyone and thanking Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for sponsoring the event. During his speech, Celis addressed various topics such as Greenbuild and our Local Chapter Welcome Party, which will be held on November 7th.

Krystle Thomsen of BCBSMA gave a fascinating talk about the various design aspects of 101 Huntington Avenue, the headquarters of BCBSMA near the Prudential Center. One topic she touched on about the building was the amount of natural sunlight employees have access to, as well as the re-design of their cafeteria, which included more open seating, LED lighting, TV screens, and pictures of greenery and natural landscapes.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts headquarters is the largest project in New England, and 12th largest in the nation, to be LEED® Platinum certified. The area includes several features to promote employee well-being such as a wellness center with yoga and meditation classes, flame retardant furniture, adjustable height desks for every associate, sustainable food options, compostable cafeteria wares, and open internal stairways. Attendees toured the 10th, 11th, and 12th floors, and learned about the ergonomic design feature in the office to make working there enjoyable, including electronic raisable desks and benches in cubicles to share ideas near.

Thank you again to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for opening your doors to the green building community!

Thoughtforms - Quality Houses for the Masses

By Mark Doughty, Thoughtforms Corp on 10/26/2017

Thoughtforms was formed in 1972 looking to create ‘quality homes for the masses.’ With events such as the Cuyahoga river fire capturing public attention, the definition of quality included sustainable and a community focus. In the 45 years since, the team has built their reputation crafting the highest quality homes and estates in the Boston area and has taken every opportunity to influence designs to incorporate elements of healthy homes and energy efficiency into projects. As sustainability has returned to the fore in recent years, Thoughtforms has had the opportunity to prominently embrace the builder’s role in the sustainability challenge. Recently, a number of projects have captured the attention of many. Examples include:

The Lincoln Farmhouse achieved 50% net positive results, LEED Platinum certification, Living Future Institute REVEAL certification, Fine Homebuilding Best Energy Smart Home 2017 and two Gold Prism awards from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston.

The West Acton Village Ecology project created a new solar-powered community space that strengthens people’s connection to their town and tangible (rather than virtual) social networks.

An energy retrofit, including envelope updates and solar power generation, of a post-and-beam farmhouse overlooking a pond west of Boston that revitalized the property and enabled the resumption of on-site food production.

Renovation of a hilltop home and establishment of extensive food production and storage capabilities, including permaculture landscape. This project notably included an extensive hillside solar array generating more than 135KwH

In addition to projects, Thoughtforms has engaged in other ways to enhance and educate the community. Key relationships and activities in this area include:

  • An alliance with the Forest Society of Maine that lead to the protection of an 81-acre inholding on the shore of Moosehead Lake
  • A seat on Massachusetts Audubon’s Design Review Advisory Committee which is currently working on a net-zero environmental Learning Center
  • Liaison work with the MIT Sloan Sustainability Initiative which develops the next generation of industry leaders

While some architects and builders have opted to only accept net-zero projects, Thoughtforms intentionally engages all architects and clients in an effort to influence, educate, and learn from the broader community.

See more at thoughtforms-corp.com.


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EPMA October Meeting with Breiter Planet Properties: Implementing Utility-Scale Solar Projects

By Anna McGinty, EPMA Committee on 10/24/2017

Fall has fallen upon the EPMA Committee! Last Monday night we kicked off the meeting with some delicious cider donuts and new members. The group discussed the past month’s events, including the Panel on Careers in Sustainability and BMC Rooftop Garden Tour, as well as upcoming activities and local events. On the horizon is the anticipated Greenbuild International Conference & Expo taking place in Boston from November 8th - 10th! With Greenbuild almost here, the EPMA committee is hosting a “How to Network at Greenbuild” event this Thursday, October 26th if you need to fine tune your networking skills!

Last week we were joined by Andrew Breiter-Wu, President and Sales Director of Breiter Planet Properties, for a presentation on his energy consulting firm, Breiter Planet Properties. Breiter Planet Properties helps clients implement commercial solar developments by working as a liaison with property owners, local government officials, and engineering firms. With operations all over the United States, the vision of Breiter Planet Properties is to accelerate renewable energy generation adoption by providing flexible options in roof and leasing, along with other services, to real estate owners. Consultants assists with the sales and procurement for solar development projects with projects typically ranging in size from 500 kW to 5+ MW.     

Although Breiter Planet Properties has run into challenges with uncertainty in the market due to the shifting political landscape and utility regulations, the emerging company is expanding throughout the United States and looking to tap into the Japanese market within the next two years. The work of consulting firms, such as Breiter Planet Properties, is paving the way for communities to lower their carbon emissions and transform into a low carbon economy to fight climate change to the benefit of all. Way to go Andrew!

Join us for next month’s presentation by Oliver Bautista of Turkel Design, who will explain the process of how a new single family dwelling is built using prefabricated wall panels; from it's initial schematic design phase all through construction of the panelized shell assembly.







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