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Emerson's 80 Boylston St Building Gets Fresh New LEED Look

By USGBC MA Chapter on

Starting last month, 80 Boylston St was taken offline as a dorm for Emerson College and began an estimated 2-year renovation plan. Suffolk Construction was selected to complete the historic renovation of Emerson College’s Little Building. The Little Building was originally built as an office building in 1917 (100 years ago!) and was then converted to a dormitory and dining hall in 1995. The building consists of ornate cast stone on the Boylston and Tremont Street façades and brick masonry on the other two façades.




This incredible renovation is targeting LEED gold upon completion. A major component of the project scope includes replacing the exterior façade with high-performing architectural precast concrete. The existing conditions of this ornate façade are being replicated using VDC and 3D Laser Scanning technologies to preserve and replicate the historic nature of the building. Additionally, there will be major interior renovations on floors 2 through 12 and the construction of a new 13th floor located behind a 14-foot parapet. Interior renovations include new common rooms, student social spaces, and updates to the 450-seat dining facility. The building is currently 238,955 gross square feet and, upon completion, will increase to 275,900 square feet. The renovations and addition will result in an increase in the number of students the building can accommodate: from 750 to 1,044 student residents. Look forward to seeing this beautiful new building to be completed in Fall of 2019 located in the heart of our city downtown by the Boston Common!

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E+ and Net-Positive Development Seminar

By USGBC MA Chapter on

Did you know Boston is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050? John Dalzell, Sr. Architect for Sustainable Development, gave a fascinating presentation this morning on E+ and Net-Positive Development that will help us get to this prestigious goal. We had a packed room with both new and familiar faces all eager to hear what's new with Net Zero Building operations in Massachusetts. The USGBC MA is devoted to bringing together practitioners, engineers, and architects alike in order to move forward with net-zero planning in our state. We heard of many various examples this morning of projects that were successful in constructing net energy positive buildings such as the Highland Park projects.

In order to achieve net -zero, the key aspects of the building to focus on are the envelope, the orientation, site, and the mechanical systems. The envelope must be air tight and incorporate 12 to 14-inch walls so that the temperature inside is stable throughout the day. Even if there was a power outage, a tight envelope would secure the building with one to two degrees of temperature variation without heating or cooling. Proactive testing such as the blower door test is done during construction phases to check the air tightness and ensure that there is no leakage. The orientation of the building is also a very important aspect because the use of solar panels is the predominant energy source. Net-zero buildings must be oriented so as to maximize the slope of the solar panels to the south side and allow for south facing recess windows with overhang. The windows themselves are also important to have with triple-pane glass for best insulation. Mechanical systems for net-zero buildings will most likely be smaller highly efficient mini split systems. These compact systems contribute to the building's efficiency by heating and cooling individual rooms while they are being occupied compared to a larger central system that requires more time and energy to heat/cool larger spaces. In addition to the mechanical systems, orientation, and envelope efficiency features such as low-flow water fixtures, air source heat pumps, taped sheathing, and passive ventilation all contribute to the zero net energy of the high-performing building.

A huge take away that John left with us this morning is that a building team must work together efficiently on new projects in order for them to be the best they can be. Achieving a net-zero or net-positive building is not a difficult nor expensive task if a team is designing, constructing, and working smart on the building's features and communicate well on all of the several sustainable aspects that make the building high-performing. Performance monitoring is critical throughout every stage of construction to evaluate how a building is holding up to the desired outcome.

We cannot thank John Dalzell enough for sharing with and inspiring our community to push forward with net-zero and net-positive projects. Boston, a national leader in green building, is promoting the next generation of high performance deep green buildings. The E+ Green Building Program demonstrates the feasibility of regenerative multi-unit residential buildings and brings energy and environmentally positive homes to Boston’s neighborhoods. Stay updated with the USGBC MA for more news on the net-zero movement!


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Congratulations to the 2017 Green Building Showcase Winning Projects

By USGBC MA Chapter on

Pictured Above: Andrea Love - USGBC MA Board Chair, Zach Pursley - Stantec, Judy Nitsch - Nitsch Engineering, Jefferson Poole - Goody Clancy, Molly Meyer - Omni Ecosystems, Dan Arons - Perkins Eastman, Madeline Burns - Architerra, Josh Rollins - Suffolk, Douglas Flandro - Cambridge 7 Associates, Nathan Butt - Sasaki, Celis Brisbin - USGBC MA Acting Executive Director 

Congratulations to everyone who won an award at our 2017 Green Building Showcase! The Building of the Year Award is our most prestigious award given to a project that goes above and beyond in sustainable features and shows expletory design and innovation. We choose five professional judges to overlook the entries for this award and choose the most deserving winner. The eight Market Leadership Awards are given to projects that show excellence in specific categories. These awards were voted on through an online survey by all of our community members that attended the Showcase. Thank you to everyone who submitted a project and to all of those who voted for them! 


Building of the Year went to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School by Perkins Eastman. The design, targeting LEED for Schools Platinum, was recognized not only for its impressive, significant list of sustainable features, but also for its altruistic impact on education and the immediate surrounding community. The MLK School stood out among the other exemplary green buildings in the contest, demonstrating the impact that a sustainable design from a forward-thinking firm can have in a major city.

Health/Wellness Award went to Roux Center for the Environment at Bowdoin College submitted by Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc. This project is the on track to achieve LEED Platinum certification and will act as a teaching lab for sustainable and innovative construction technologies.





Site Award went to The Eddy submitted by Gerding Edlen. Standing 17 stories tall, the Eddy consists of 259 apartment units, a suite of amenity spaces, a restaurant and unrivaled views of the Boston Skyline from East Boston.





Water Efficiency Award went to the UMass Amherst Buildings submitted by Nitsch Engineering. UMass Amherst won this through showing how they integrate stormwater into the landscape as part of their sustainable practices.






Energy Efficiency Award went to Bristol Community College's John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building submitted by Sasaki. The John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building is shared resource space occupied by multiple disciplines within the Sciences and Health Professions disciplines at Bristol Community College.










Social Equity Award went to Omni Green Roof Farm submitted by Omni Ecosystems. In addition to managing stormwater, lessening noise, extending roof life, improving air quality, and other typical green roof benefits, farmed Omni Green Roofs are viable spaces for food, fellowship, and employment.






Beauty Award went to Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center for Executive Education at Harvard Business School submitted by Goody Clancy. This new building will become the new “front door” to the Executive Education precinct with a commitment to executive education, welcomes and orients participants, and providing space for learning, socializing, dining and networking.







Resilience Award went to the project Resilient Futures: Boston Living with Water International Competition submitted by Architerra. Taking top honors in the Boston Living with Water Competition, this proposal for a thriving, mixed-use district was among 50 submissions that envisioned a resilient future adapted for 2100 climate conditions and rising seas.





Materials Award went to UMass Amherst Design Building submitted by Suffolk. This landmark project targeting LEED Gold provides significant momentum for proponents of modern wood construction across the nation and the world.


These projects inspire all of us in the green building industry and here at the USGBC MA, we are amazed at how much can be accomplished in just one year. Stay up to date with our blogs and content to read up on #moregreenbuildings in Massachusetts.

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Madison Park High School Green Building Tech Club

By USGBC MA Chapter on

As part of the Road to Greenbuild, the USGBC MA has begun a legacy project at Madison Park High School called the Green Building Tech Club. The after school program starting in September will run 3-5pm once a week and introduce and prepare the underrepresented community at the vocational high school to "green economy" careers in facilities management. Students involved will be engaged with presentations from various local professionals, a trip to the Expo Hall at Greenbuild 2017, tours of high-performance green buildings in our area, as well as mentorship from Wentworth Institute of Technology Environmental Collaborative. 

Over 30 students came out to the informational session last week and 15 signed up to be apart of the club when they return to school in the Fall. Almost 50% of the interested students were female and 90% of all students at the high school are people of color. All of the students were interested in the jobs and internships that will come from the participation in this program. It is our hope that the legacy of this club at Madison Park will be a catalyst for developing green building programs in curriculums of vocational schools throughout the Commonwealth. 

The idea for the Green Building Tech Club came from a need to build awareness of the 'green economy' career opportunities and to encourage young people to explore these options that they might not have otherwise considered. The USGBC Massachusettes Chapter wants students to be interested in pursuing careers in the trades with a specific eye towards sustainability. We cannot thank Madison Park High School administration and faculty enough for being excited and in full support of this new club for their students. 

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Throwback Thursday to the 2015 Green Building Showcase

By USGBC MA Chapter on

With the 2017 Annual Green Building Showcase coming up on June 15th, we want to look back and reflect on our past achievements. In 2015, we changed the name of the annual event from the LEED Building Showcase to the Green Building Showcase we all know it as today in order to welcome all building certifications like WELL or the Living Building Challenge.

Our Green Building Showcase from 2015 was such a memorable night of celebrating our community! Over 150 people and 45 project boards filled at our 2015 Showcase hosted at Harvard's LEED Gold art museum facility at 32 Quincy Street - the Calderwood Courtyard.

We are always impressed with the award winners each and every year! In 2015, Architerra won the Innovation in Green Design award, for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Headquarters in Westborough MA. This was an outstanding net-zero energy building that to this day demonstrates the Commonwealth's commitment to these better buildings. The big Green Building of the Year Award went to The Green Engineer for their work on the Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary in Boylston MA. 

We hope to see everyone that is a part of our community on June 15th at Northeastern University's ISEC building for the biggest Showcase yet!


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FXFOWLE PassivHaus Seminar

By USGBC MA Chapter on

FXFOWLE joined the USGBC MA community on May 19th, 2017 for an invigorating presentation on their latest study showing that it is viable to design high-rise residential buildings to the Passivhaus Standard. FXFOWLE is an architectural, planning, and interior design firm in New York City with a global practice. The firm recently completed 888 Boylston Street, a LEED Platinum office building in Back Bay, Boston, and are currently constructing Ames Street Residences, a residential tower in Kendall Square, Cambridge, designed in collaboration with Stantec. 

The morning seminar was presented by three partners and principals from FXFOWLE: John Schuyler, Ilana Judah, and Gustavo Rodriguez. It featured an introduction to the Passivhaus Standard, which is based on the concept of using simple, direct, and primarily architectural solutions with mixed-use building designs to create ultra-low energy buildings. The firm covered how this standard is applicable to higher education and residential projects, and the relevant case studies involved. Common approaches were identified that can be used to apply Passivhaus to a broad range of high-rise residential building designs.

The presented study also addressed an industry-wide lack of familiarity with Passivhaus and dispels misperceptions about its applicability. The study aimed to determine how the construction industry can become more energy efficient when considering how high-performance envelopes contribute to architectural sustainability.

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Welcome Jen Cole: Communications Intern for Summer 2017

By USGBC MA Chapter on

Updating our Staff Roster: we have a new full-time intern at USGBC MA.

Jen Cole will be assisting our team with communications, grant development, and event logistics. She comes to us from having participated in the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center's College Intern Program, and we are really excited to have her on board. She recently finished her 3rd year at Emerson College where she was awarded the Sustainability Advancement Award for her work as the Living Green Resident Assistant and Producer of the annual Green Gala show bringing together environmental awareness and the arts. She has a passion for sustainability and great energy for her work. 

Welcome, Jen!

My name is Jen Cole, my role at USGBC MA Chapter is a communications and technical associate. I’m looking forward to working closely with everyone in the green building community. 

My primary focus will be working on co-managing logistics for small and large events, grant writing, evolving communication, and program operations. I am on track to obtain a B.S. in Communication Studies with dual minors in Environmental and Non-profit Studies, from Emerson College.

I was born in Connecticut and was brought up in a small town called Colchester. I was inspired both by my parents and the vast amount of nature around me growing up to protect the earth and work for a better more sustainable future. 

In the past, I had the opportunity to work with the Emerson College Sustainability Committee. My work included advocacy, outreach and event planning. I have just started my path in the non-profit world and hope to take on leadership roles as I move forward. I could not be happier to be here making a difference through improving the built environment of Boston and Massachusetts. 

I am thrilled to meet and work with everyone, on the USGBC MA mission. 

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