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November 2017


Annual Green Supplement 2017-2018

East Elevation of the Environmental Learning Center at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, Mass. / Rendering by Maclay Architects / page 6

Mass Audubon Breaks Ground on an Environmental Learning Center INDUSTRY EXPERT ARTICLES

Eleanor Hoyt



Antonia Ciaverella

Melissa Roy


Blake Jackson


Brett Van Beever


Alana Spencer


Scott Turner



Elizabeth Merzigia


Annual Green Supplement


Publisher’s Message

November 2017

Perspective Future of Green Building An interview with Jim Newman by James Robe

by Anastasia Barnes I am proud to be working in an industry that is at the forefront of providing solutions for the on-going challenges to our environment. The A/E/C industry is meeting its social responsibilities head on by implementing strategies that help us reach our goal of living more carbon neutral lives. Tenants want to live in healthier environments. We all want to feel comfortable that our workplaces have been built responsibly! Now, more than ever, we are faced with the consequences of climate change. Ice melts more rapidly. Hurricanes intensify in strength. Wild fires grow in size, and water levels rise faster than scientists can predict.

Currently, our nation’s population is over 323 million. The human species will continue to populate, and we’ll build more houses and roads and buildings. All of this growth is tough for one planet to take. This year’s supplement touches upon the variety of ways our industry is doing its part. We have some really interesting pieces: articles from a facility manager that heads up sustainable initiatives to a president of a textile cleaning and restoration company. I am certain you’ll enjoy this year’s supplement. Thanks for reading!

In the commonwealth, we have a couple of both advantages and disadvantages that drive the market. One of the advantages we have is a very supportive regulatory environment that is moving all of the built environment towards greener, more environmentally sensitive outcomes. We also export architecture. There are more architects than can work on projects locally, so we are actually a net exporter of design — a big exporter. So things that happen here are exported to other places. Some of the disadvantages are that even with a very supportive market, it’s a relatively conservative practice space. Engineering and architecture practice in the Massachusetts area is not super progressive in general. I think that what is happening with green building now is it is becoming ubiquitous within standard design. It is not the realm of leaders at this point, it is the realm of everybody, and so you see it in all of the regular engineering and architecture firms in the area who are at the least bit engaged. Green building has a lot more reach than in the past. I think that, in the future, there will be two or three primary movers which emerge out of the general green building movement. One of these is a focus on health and healthy places. This is important to how people live and how people work, and how to improve health. Residential developers have figured this out, and they see value in creating more healthy developments. The second mover is the net zero movement. I think that the industry, as well as consumers have finally gotten it into their heads that we can make our buildings close to net zero, and even

Jim Newman

net positive. What we are seeing now is that communities are engaging with the idea of net zero communities, housing developments are engaging with the idea of net zero housing at a large scale, and municipalities are legislating net zero towns. This will be transformative. It is going to take a while for it to take hold in the mainstream, but it is already taking hold for the leading practitioners. The third mover is that the social structures that have underpinned how development is done are being called into question, which sharpens the game. The resilience movement is part of that. Equity efforts are part of that. I think there are a lot of forces that are pushing people who participate in, regulate, and consume the built environment to rethink what they are trying to do. So, I think there is a real opportunity for us, both as practitioners and as an organization to help move these issues forward. We have a lot of opportunities as a chapter, to really help move the market in ways that are pretty substantial. James Robe is the outreach and communication manager at USGBC MA. Jim Newman is a founding USGBC MA board member and the founder and principal at Linnean Solutions.

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Boxborough, MA – altE, a New England supplier of solar panels and solar power equipment, is powering ahead to provide alternative energy assistance in Puerto Rico and other areas hit hardest by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Jose. altE is donating an off-grid solarpower system — 3,300-watt solar-panel array, hybrid solar inverter, and batteries, with a retail value of $15,000 — to Family Medical Clinic de Cedros in Puerto Rico, which is currently without electricity and clean water. The system will power the most critical functions of this medical clinic, which is located near San Juan. altE is working with an installer, the nonprofit SonLight Power of Fairfield, Ohio. altE also has been working with

altE’s John Laflamme, who builds the prewired solar power systems

other organizations, offering free design and expertise with heavily discounted equipment. altE has contacted many of the major solar equipment manufacturers on obtaining discounted equipment from them to help with relief efforts.

November 2017



Annual Green Supplement


November 2017

Supporting Healthy Indoor Air Quality

by Eleanor Hoyt Healthy buildings support happy people. As sustainable building practices advance, consideration for how a building can affect human health continues to grow. An essential piece of a healthy building is the quality of its indoor air. In fact, studies have shown that poor air quality not only affects health but can also influence productivity and cognitive function. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a common air pollutant sourced from a variety of building products that have the potential to cause both short-term and long-term adverse health effects. Understanding VOC emissions and how to control them can lead to a healthier environment for occupants. Getting to the source In older buildings, infiltration is a significant contributor to indoor air movement, often unintentionally


supplementing designed ventilation rates, and playing a role in flushing VOCs from indoor spaces. But as new building envelopes get tighter in a push toward energy conservation, VOCs and other airborne contaminants tend to persist. While increasing ventilation rates is an effective solution to reduce the presence of airborne VOCs, it can also be costly. A cheaper and easier solution is to tackle VOCs at the source. Many common building materials contribute to VOC concentrations in the air, including carpets, paints, wall panels, adhesives, and furniture. Choosing products that have been tested for VOC emissions is a simple way to improve indoor air quality. In 2004, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released “California Specification 01350,” outlining a standard testing method to evaluate VOC emissions from indoor air sources. Finding the right products While the CDPH 01350 standard is not a law, it has become a widely accepted guide from which many material certification systems develop their criteria. Utilizing low-VOC emissions materials can help keep harmful concentrations in the air

to a minimum and help keep building occupants healthy. Many certification programs exist, but the following systems use part or all of the CDPH 01350 standard to certify building products with low VOC emissions: • LEED Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Credits. • WELL Building Standard. • The Living Building Challenge. • Business and Institutional Furniture Sustainability Standard (BIFMA). • Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label Plus (GLP). • Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) Indoor Advantage Gold. • Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) Floorscore. • GREENGUARD Children & Schools. Final thoughts VOC emissions testing is a developing area within the world of indoor air quality, and there is still no fool-proof way to ensure harmful VOC concentrations are kept out of buildings. A few things to keep in mind: • Not all VOCs are equal. There are many different types of VOCs, and only some of them are tested for in current analytical methods. Similarly, some VOC emissions certification programs

base their criteria on the estimated concentration of total volatile organic compounds (TVOC). But while some VOCs are hazardous, others are harmless. As such, the TVOC value says little about potential health effects. • Typical scenarios might not be the best fit. Predicted indoor VOC concentrations are modeled using prescribed scenarios for an office or classroom environment, but the parameters used for these scenarios might not match the conditions of a specific building. A modeled concentration from the lab can be inaccurate due to actual variations in ventilation rates and the amount of a material present in a room. • Improved indoor air starts early. Controlling the source of VOCs in indoor spaces by managing building materials is a cost-effective solution to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Evaluating materials early in the design process and tailoring concentration models to specific indoor conditions can have a significant impact on the health of our indoor environment. Eleanor Hoyt is a sustainability analyst at Linnean Solutions.

Annual Green Supplement

November 2017


EASTERN NEW ENGLAND SETS ITS SITES ON QUALITY AND SAFETY IN ELECTRICAL AND TELECOM CONSTRUCTION. NECA and IBEW set the standard for excellence in electrical, telecom, and renewable energy projects throughout Eastern New England.

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

MFA Boston, The Art of the Americas Wing

Center for Life Science, Boston, MA

New Balance World Headquarters, Boston, MA

Dana-Farber Yawkey Center

UMass Boston Integrated Sciences Complex

In the world of construction, quality and safety are critical to every project. Which is why leading architects, general contractors, building owners, and facility managers throughout Eastern New England rely on the skilled union electricians of Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the professional electrical contractors of the Greater Boston Chapter of the National

Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). For more than a century, IBEW and NECA have literally helped build our region. From our most cherished historical sites and renowned educational institutions, to major transportation projects, leading technology companies, community schools, and libraries, our landmarks shed light on a century of electrical construction unsurpassed in quality.

Take a close look at just a few of the recently completed projects by NECA Greater Boston Chapter members. It will tell you where to turn for the highest standards in electrical, telecom, and renewable energy construction. Rely on the power of quality electrical work. Call 877-NECA-IBEW for a complete directory of NECA Greater Boston Chapter Members, or visit us at www.bostonneca.org

The future of renewable energy and green buildings is here.


(877)NECA-IBEW (632-2423)



Annual Green Supplement


November 2017

Mass Audubon Breaks Ground Environmental Learning Center at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary

East Elevation of the Environmental Learning Center at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln, Mass. / Rendering by Maclay Architects

Chapman team and Mass Audubon staff celebrate groundbreaking at Mass Audubon.

Lincoln, MA – Chapman Construction/ Design recently broke ground on an Environmental Learning Center at Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln. Designed and built to achieve net zero certification, through the International Living Futures Institute, the building must produce as much renewable energy as it consumes on an annual basis. The project team includes: architect, Maclay Architects; construction manager, Chapman Construction/Design; structural engineer, Engineering Ventures; civil engineer, Samiotes Consultants Inc.; MEP/FP engineer, Engineering Services

of Vermont; landscape architect, CBA Landscape Architects; and energy consultant, Energy Balance Inc. In 2014, Mass Audubon instituted a net zero green building standard for all its future buildings, and the Environmental Learning Center is a great example of its commitment to green building. To achieve net zero status, the building will include a 42 kW photovoltaic rooftop array, which will produce enough electricity to power both the Environmental Learning Center as well as several other buildings on the property. The super-insulated building will have an R60 roof, R40 walls, and R20 below-slab.

In addition, triple-glazed, dual low-e coated windows will greatly reduce the heating and cooling loads. The tightly air sealed building envelope will be tested by depressurization and will exceed code air leakage by 300%. To accomplish this, the building envelope will have a continuous air barrier that will eliminate exfiltration and infiltration through the floor, walls, and roof. The building’s HVAC design utilizes heat recovery ventilation units to provide fresh air and air source heat pumps to accommodate the reduced heating and cooling loads. The project is slated for completion spring of 2018.

Additional sustainable strategies will include: • Rainwater gardens to manage storm water. • Daylighting to reduce the need for artificial lighting. • Products with low or no volatile organic compounds, to ensure indoor air quality. • Sustainable materials, locally sourced when possible. • Native plantings to attract wildlife. • Removal of invasive plans.

Sustainable Action: The Roles of Design, Behavior, and Thought

by Antonia Ciaverella and Melissa Roy

The role of design As builders of a sustainable future, our mission is to inspire and protect; to leave the world in a better place than we find it now. Embracing a collaborative, evidencebased approach, we envision a future that is better by design. We ask big questions about our role as environmental stewards and advocates for human health and wellness. Questions such as, “How can the built environment change the course of lifestyle-related chronic disease?” or, “How can we engage the surroundings to help patients recover quickly and holistically?” As sustainability focuses around the individual, there is an exciting


movement to bring together design and health. Designers are ambassadors of positive change through their design decisions, and an increased focus is placed on biology and behavior. The WELL Building Standard exemplifies this approach. Developed with the latest medical research and peer-reviewed by scientists, practitioners, and medical professionals, the standard presents seven concepts (air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, mind) in support of health and wellness. While this is important work, it is only part of our mission — the other is to inspire. We do this by recognizing three factors: culture, education, and aesthetics. Buildings are important cultural symbols that communicate our values. They are nonverbal representations of our core beliefs, and sustainable buildings in particular should espouse broader concepts than the baseline of designing to be green. Sustainable buildings should be educational experiences, and we should ask ourselves if the sustainable features are effective communicators. In a recent

study, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, discovered that visitors will often point to signage depicting sustainable systems rather than the systems themselves when asked to identify the sustainable features in a building. Finally, sustainable buildings should be aesthetically pleasing. In the same study, when participants were asked to rank the building’s appearance, they gave a negative review. Upon learning it was a sustainable building, several participants reversed their answer. While people tend to feel good by associating themselves with a sustainable building, this is certainly no argument for bland aesthetics, especially when creativity, productivity, and health outcomes have been tied to aesthetic qualities in buildings. The role of behavior As designers, we can do all these things to the best of our ability and still face the wild card that is human behavior. We humans are delightfully perplexing, and sometimes this means that we

do not engage with the built environment as planned. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Groningen, this is suggested to be a product of our self-identity. They discovered that if you remind people of past environmentally friendly behavior and provide positive feedback, an environmental self-image can be strengthened and sustainable action can be reinforced. While creating an environmental self-image is one component of sustainable behavior, our biology also allows for an external motivator for sustainability — altruism and empathy that translates to action. The role of thought We know that our biology helps us reach out in social support, but to what extent? Research suggests that a higher level of altruism is associated with environmental concern and lower egotistical values, but it also illustrates that environmental concern is increased by future thinking. That being said, a collaborative study at Nipissing University and Victoria University of Wellington warns against sustainable discussions continued to page 14

Annual Green Supplement

November 2017


Northeastern University Makes the Grade with Energy Efficiency Boston – Northeastern University teamed up with Eversource Energy during the construction of its Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) on Columbus Avenue in Boston — a sixstory facility featuring 234,000sf of lab and classroom space — to enhance its energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Eversource collaborated with architecture firm Payette, engineering firm Arup, and general contractor Suffolk Construction to bring ISEC to life and add the following measures: • High-performance fume hoods to reduce supply fan speeds while maintaining the desired temperature and safety for students in the labs. • Airflow controls that reduce lab ventilation rates when labs are detected to be unoccupied. • A cascade air system that takes conditioned air from its offices and atrium and transfers the air to the labs to save energy and costs. • Exterior sun-shading aluminum fins to maximize daylight while minimizing heat gain, providing a comfort boost for students and faculty inside. All of this energy-efficient technology will result in avoiding significant greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of taking 152 cars off the road or not burning 768,000 pounds of coal. ISEC is currently tracking for LEED

Northeastern University’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex

Gold certification, featured as part of the Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Boston, as a U.S. Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter tour of the building. “Northeastern’s focus on sustainability inspires its research students to tackle significant global challenges of our time. The work done at ISEC is essential to help meet this goal, and it’s much more powerful when it’s done in a green, energy-efficient space,” said Eversource

vice president of energy efficiency Tilak Subrahmanian. “ISEC’s innovative design embodies the university’s growing ambition and commitment to scientific advances.” Subrahmanian explained that the work with Northeastern University will ultimately help the city of Boston reach its climate and sustainability goals and is part of Eversource’s Green Labs Initiative — an effort to improve lab safety, performance, and energy efficiency.

Celis Brisbin from the U.S. Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter explained, “ISEC is a fantastic example of institutional environmental leadership and industry-leading design. We are inspired to think about lives that this building will intersect with — the tens of thousands of students who will pass through it each year, and how they can build on our mission.”

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Annual Green Supplement


November 2017

The Emergence of Health-Focused Rating Systems WELL and Fitwel meet growing demand for healthy workplaces OUR HEALTH IMPACT CATEGORIES: Each strategy within the scorecard is linked by scientific evidence to at least one of Fitwell’s seven Health Impact Categories.

by Blake Jackson More choices for building owners, developers, and designers, when it comes to the world of sustainable buildings, are emerging in the marketplace. Until recently, Leadership in Energy and Environmental and Design (LEED), was the rating system of choice. For years, it’s been the lingua franca of sustainable design, providing a common language within which various design and construction disciplines, students, and even the public can use to engage in a dialogue around holistic aspects of sustainability. Today, LEED exists within an ecosystem of rating systems representing a spectrum of sustainability outcomes, both single-attribute (focusing on energy, such as Passive House) or multi-attribute (holistically focused such as the Living Building Challenge). Now, two multi-attribute health-focused rating systems — WELL and Fitwel — each representing a spectrum of health outcomes applicable to the built environment, are gaining interest and traction WELL was the first health-focused rating system (2015), followed by Fitwel (2016). While debuting in the market at the same time, they both had been under independent development for almost a decade. Both systems’ value comes from taking evidence-based design research, which typically resides in peer-reviewed journals and not within purview of design practice, and turning this body of knowledge into actionable design strategies that more positively impact the built environment for the benefit of the end users’ health. Like the original version of LEED, both systems are written for application to workplace with the intent that each can be adapted to various building typologies. Both systems have several overlapping themes, including provisions for making healthier food choices, limiting sedentary lifestyles, and for the design and construction of amenities to improve indoor and outdoor environments while promoting health. The WELL standard calls continual for onsite performance verification Of the two, WELL is more stringent and most comprehensive, offering far more long-term value for projects pursuing it because it is a long-term commitment requiring recertification to maintain. The administrative cost for registration and


Fitwel’s 7 Health Impact Categories

certification is higher than LEED, which can be a point of contention for some clients. One factor behind the higher cost is that certification is based on an onsite performance verification, performed by a certified WELL assessor, starting one-year post-occupancy and continuing every three years thereafter to maintain certification. While a cost, the WELL assessor serves as a resource to support the team throughout the life of the project. WELL requires many preconditions, which like LEED’s prerequisites, are all-or-nothing requirements to qualify for certification and occur across all WELL concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. Fitwel drives down rating system certification cost Fitwell takes a leaner approach, applicable for mass market penetration. First, it costs substantially less than WELL and LEED, promoting a maximum registration and certification cost of $7,000 per project. It also requires no prerequisites or preconditions, meaning a project simply needs to accrue 90 or more of 144 possible points for entry-level certification across any of the 12 sections: location, building access, outdoor spaces, entrances and ground floor, indoor environment, vending machines and snack bars, workplaces, shared spaces, water supply, stairwells, cafeterias and prepared food retails, and emergency procedures. Certification is one-time only, awarded upon approval of uploaded information to their online database with a four- to six-week turnaround time by the Center for Active Design. Certainly, both certifications can fit within the market: WELL is better suited for mission-driven clients, while Fitwel is poised to offer fitness for all. Each is designed to work in conjunction with other ratings systems, so they can be applied together, not to compete for

market share (note: both LEED and WELL are governed by the GBCI). While LEED, and similar systems, have historically focused on efficiency, the new health-based standards put people first, which is something all licensed design professionals are required to do and

which has reinvigorated the sustainability conversation with greater focus on more tangible, palpable everyday aspects of user experience. Blake Jackson, AIA, is an architect and sustainability design leader at Stantec in Boston.

PHIUS N.E. Award Winners

Elm Place, Milton, Vt.

Seattle, WA – PHIUS awarded the finalists of the 2017 Passive Projects Competition during the annual Design Awards ceremony at the 12th Annual North American Passive House Conference in September. This juried competition recognizes exemplary fully certified passive building projects of all types and climate zones. Winners in New England included: Best Overall Project Winner: Elm Place, Milton, Vt. The program was to develop 30 affordable residences on the first project in the town of Milton’s newly designated downtown, pedestrian-friendly core. CPHC: Chris West, Eco-Houses of Vt.; Architect: Duncan•Wisniewski Architecture; Structural: Hardy Structural Engineering; MEP: Engineering Services of Vermont; PHIUS+ rater: Karen Bushey, CPHC, Efficiency Vermont.

Passive Lodge at Silver Lake, Conn.

Commercial–Honorable Mention: Passive Lodge at Silver Lake, Conn. The project is the retrofit of an existing camp dormitory for a nonprofit organization. CPHC: James Hartford; Architect: James Hartford, River Architects; Builder: Benjamin Bogie, Built to Last LLC.; PHIUS+ rater and verifier: Troy Hodas, CPHC, Spruce Mountain; Owner’s rep and project manager: Greg Arifian.

Annual Green Supplement

November 2017


Cleaner Carpets, Healthier Buildings

A regular carpet maintenance program improves a building’s indoor air quality.

by Brett Van Beever The indoor air quality (IAQ) of a building has a major impact on the health and comfort of building occupants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks IAQ as one of the top five environmental health risks of our time, causing an estimated $100 billion to be spent in North America each year on healthcare, absenteeism, lost production time, and weakened revenue. The EPA also estimates nearly 30% of buildings suffer from poor IAQ. With advanced construction methods creating tighter building envelopes and modern HVAC systems operating on cycles to reduce energy, it is crucial to safeguard the health of building occupants. Along with the use of low-emitting materials and properly functioning HVAC systems, carpet cleaning can improve IAQ and increase productivity by minimizing employee sick days.

Maintaining carpet to create a healthier workplace Microorganisms, dust mites, allergens, and mold spores have been identified as major contributors to poor IAQ. Carpet acts as a sponge, holding these harmful particles deep in the fibers. To keep IAQ healthy, a maintenance program that cleans carpet on a regular basis is recommended. Routine carpet maintenance reduces the number of particulates and microorganisms, preventing exposure and improving working conditions. Not all maintenance programs are equal though. Dry cleaning technology is the better option Cleaning with dry, nontoxic polymers that are gentle on carpet fibers and more efficient at removing soil and dirt is the preferred method for carpet cleaning. Trained technicians assess the carpets and apply a premist to emulsify and suspend particles. Next, dry polymer is applied and agitated into the fibers with specialized equipment. This loosens the dirt and particulates which adhere to the polymer. The dry polymer, along with dirt, pollutants, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are then safely extracted with strong industrial vacuums, eliminating 99% of these harmful particles.

Traditional hot water extraction methods typically shorten the lifespan of the carpet by weakening the carpet fibers and leaving behind detergent residue that further contributes to the accumulation of dirt, allergens, and other harmful particles. Additionally, damp carpet creates a breeding ground for bacteria and microbial growth. It also increases the potential for workplace injuries due to slips and falls from wet floors. Because it requires a longer dry time, it may also result in costly company downtime. Dry cleaning also: • Reduces carbon footprint. The use of sustainable dry polymers, along with lower demands on electricity and water, makes dry-based carpet cleaning methods an environmentally friendly choice. Wet-based methods require 319% more energy as well as 99.5% more water, requiring 50 gallons of water per 10,000sf of carpet. • Lowers operating expenses. Dry-based methods have proven to extend the life of the carpet, resulting in less carpet in landfills and reduced operating expenses. With dry-based cleaning, property managers report replacing carpets during an office redesign rather than due to dirty or worn conditions. The tremendous capital savings gained

by each additional year of maintaining rather than replacing the carpet could result in thousands of dollars in reduced costs. In most cases, this covers the cost of maintenance over its life cycle. • Contributes to LEED points. The significant reduction in energy and water consumption of dry-based carpet maintenance programs and the use of sustainable green products can contribute to points in the Indoor Environmental Quality bracket of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Existing Buildings (LEED-EB), which specifies that green cleaning must be practiced in buildings seeking certification and requires a prerequisite green cleaning policy. The Carpet and Rug Institute certifies professionals who operate a safe and effective deep cleaning system and can help qualify for earning LEEDEB points.Sustainable materials are in use at nearly 80% of businesses. However, many fail to realize that the maintenance of these green materials has a great impact on the environment. Caring for carpets with dry polymer-based technology is an environmentally responsible and resource-efficient solution for protecting your building and the health of its occupants Brett Van Beever is president of ECOlogic, Charleston MA, a commercial carpet and textile cleaning and restoration company.


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Annual Green Supplement


November 2017

Design with Health and Wellness in Mind mainly focused on the environment, SITES does contain a section of design metrics that address the human health attributes of site design. There are eight categories, and the human health and well-being category focuses on reconnection of humans to nature; enhanced physical, mental, and social well-being; education that promotes understanding of natural systems, value of landscapes; encouraging cultural integrity and regional identity; and community involvement and advocacy. • LEED a veteran of green building standards, focuses on the environment with portions dedicated to health and well-being within two credit categories. Materials and resources promotes the selection of healthy materials, and indoor air quality addresses air quality, acoustical and thermal comfort, and low emitting material selection.

by Alana Spencer We spend 90% of our lives indoors. N-i-n-e-t-y percent. Now, take notice of your current surroundings. Think about the following topics: cleanliness of the air coming in through the vents; paints, sealants, and adhesives used within the space; potentially harmful ingredients you are breathing in; contaminants in the water you are currently drinking; the temperature of your location; proximity to natural light and the outdoors throughout the day; your production level. Are you happy after reflection? If not . . . Welcome to the age of wellness. With the emergence of health as a driver in planning, design, construction, and operations, sustainable design is ushering in new frameworks and requirements to address and measure wellness-promoting features and strategies. As we spend a large portion of our lives in the workplace, commercial and corporate interior spaces are focusing


One Seaport Square, Boston, MA / Elkus Manfredi Architects

on wellness to retain and attract talent while increasing productivity. Founded on the basis of scientific and medical research, frameworks such as WELL and Fitwel are dedicated to health. Although other systems such as LEED, SITES, and Living Building Challenge have certain

features that address health, they mainly focus on the environment. There are similarities within each rating system, focused on health and wellness. Here are the highlights. • The WELL Building Standard is focused exclusively on the health and well-being of building occupants. It’s grounded in evidence-based research that demonstrates the connection between the buildings/spaces and health and wellness impacts on us as occupants. Its preconditions and optimizations cover improved indoor air quality; enhanced water quality; promotion of healthy eating habits; lighting/surroundings to improve energy, mood, and productivity; encouragement of physical activity in daily life; distraction-free, productive, and comfortable indoor environment; and mental/emotional health. • Fitwel is also focused solely on health and well-being of building occupants. Labeled as “the cost-effective, highimpact, and health-promoting building certification,” Fitwel offers a unique approach to health and wellness. Its health impact categories address community health; instilling feelings of well-being; increased physical activity; reducing morbidity and absenteeism; providing healthy food options; supporting social equality for vulnerable populations; and promoting occupant safety. • SITES targets sustainable land design and development. Used by landscape architects, designers, engineers, architects, developers, and policy makers, SITES offers a comprehensive rating system which acknowledges that people are a part of, not apart from, the environment. While

As we spend a large portion of our lives in the workplace, commercial and corporate interior spaces are focusing on wellness to retain and attract talent while increasing productivity. Living Building Challenge, like LEED, focuses on the environmental impact of the building, but its requirements are more robust. There are several parts that address health and wellness. These include healthy interior environment; restricted materials; universal access to nature; and art and design for human delight. In order to successfully deliver highperformance design with integrated health and wellness features, there are best practices that must be considered at the beginning of each project. These include initial feasibility analysis to determine what is achievable for the project space and its budget; early integration of all consultants to align at the onset; dedicated energy and water road map assessment; and addressing a construction masterplan in design. Overall, during this push towards wellness, we’ll witness commercial and corporate interior projects taking a closer look into design and construction with a focus on the health and well-being of occupants. It’s new age. Alana Spencer, LEED AP BD+C, sustainability leader, out of Vanderweil’s Boston office.

November 2017


At the forefront of installing some of the largest solar and alternative energy solutions in the Northeast. RECENT PROJECTS:

Palmer Solar Field, Palmer, MA

Bird Machine Company, Walpole, MA

This 6 megawatt site sits atop an abandoned airfield strip, comprised of eight types of modules, two types of racking and two types of inverters, located in Palmer, MA. Three arrays in total, the sheer cliff separating the top and bottom of the site was just one challenge our crews had to undergo. This site is one of the largest solar fields in the state and was completed two weeks ahead of schedule… 21,000 modules and all.

Founded in the early 1900’s the Bird Machine Company were early proprietors in the pulp and paper industry. Fast forward almost 100 years and now the site is host to a massive 4.5 megawatt field of clean power. Perched behind Ruckaduck pond in Walpole, Massachusetts this site was a challenge for all involved. From driving piles through decades old pavement to the wetland and contaminated soil issues abound, Florence finished the project with a “clean sheet.”

Single Axis Tracking System, Vineland, NJ

Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey, Franklin, MA

Unlike most solar arrays which have a “fixed tilt” this impressive project is a “Single Axis tracking system.” Motorized to incrementally follow the sun throughout the day and maximize the angle of incidence or simply put the modules position themselves to harness more sunlight. Just before sunset the modules reset themselves and await the sunrise.

This installation is one of the largest utility scale projects in the Northeast with over 20,000 modules covering almost 40 acres of land. Built on the land of the nuns of Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey the array offsets nearly 80% of the town buildings and schools.

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GNHCC Achieves Energy Savings

Structure Tone Survey Shows Wellness is Growing Green Building Survey shows wellness is growing and resilience is waning, but cost still a major barrier to all.

Conference room lighting

New Haven, CT – Taking care of business is their motto. The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce (GNHCC) is leading their community of entrepreneurs by example, participating in energy efficiency programs to help ensure their facilities are running at peak performance. “This program is so easy and efficient, it is unbelievable. We wish we participated sooner. Utility bills, like health insurance costs, are necessities that we have to pay for, but if we can reduce them somehow, that money can be used in so many ways to help businesses in the region,” said GNHCC president Anthony Rescigno. United Illuminating (UI), a subsidiary of AVANGRID, Inc., helped in determining the Small Business Energy Advantage program would be the best fit for their facility to maximize cost savings. GNHCC was able to reduce energy costs

and improve lighting for their entire office. Roughly 256 LED fixtures were installed during this project, including linear, recessed, and exit sign lights. The GNHCC is projected to save an estimated $5,169 annually through the lighting upgrades. According to Rescigno, the energy savings realized will also benefit employees and lower maintenance costs. Rescigno said that they are already experiencing the savings, which has helped “greatly reduce” their energy bills. The energy program initiative chosen has a short payback of 2.5 years, after which upgrades will continue to save the GNHCC money. While they have no plans to perform any other energy upgrades immediately, Rescigno said that the Chamber would like to consider more energy efficiency opportunities to save in operating costs.

November 2017

New York, NY – A recent survey conducted by construction management firm Structure Tone finds that green building is still a major market differentiator, and employee wellness is increasingly important to tenants. However, for the second year in a row, cost remains a major barrier. Now in its second year, the anonymous survey was sent to a select group of senior corporate real estate and facilities management professionals to take a snapshot of sustainability in practice across the commercial real estate community. Questions centered on participants’ opinions on thirdparty certification systems like LEED, challenges to building green, and the newer pressures of wellness and climate change in the built environment. In comparison to last year’s results, the 2017 responses, collected informally and not as a scientific sampling, indicate that while some things have changed, others have not: • Sustainability is here to stay. This year, zero respondents (0%) consider green building a fad. However, cost was overwhelmingly still seen as the No. 1 barrier to adopting truly sustainable building practices. • Wellness has arrived. Over 80% of respondents consider employee wellness essential to their retention and recruitment. More than 50% reported they plan to seek external expertise to incorporate wellness into their buildings. • LEED is still king. 62% percent of

respondents agreed that LEED is a valuable market differentiator, up 9% from last year. The expectation of LEED certification from employees and management for the surveyed firms also went up by nearly 20% from last year. • The industry’s concerns over the effects of climate change and resiliency seem to be waning. This year, 17% fewer respondents reported seeking resilience expertise for their projects.

“This year’s survey results show us that while the real estate industry’s general position on sustainability has remained largely the same as last year, attitudes are starting to shift when it comes to certain aspects,” says Jennifer Taranto, Structure Tone’s director of sustainability. “This year’s survey results show us that while the real estate industry’s general position on sustainability has remained largely the same as last year, attitudes are starting to shift when it comes to certain aspects,” says Jennifer Taranto, Structure Tone’s director of sustainability. “Wellness is certainly coming to the forefront, and resilience, at least in the private sector, seems to have taken a back seat. Last year there was also a concern that when LEEDv4, a more stringent version of LEED, was implemented, many owners would simply stop pursuing certification. But our results show that’s simply not the case.”

TRUE Zero Waste Rating System Washington, D.C. – Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), an organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally, recently unveiled Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE), the new brand identity for its zero waste rating system. TRUE helps businesses and facilities define, pursue, and achieve their zero waste goals through project certification and professional credentialing. According to the EPA, the average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash each day. TRUE is a whole systems approach that helps organizations understand how materials flow through their facilities and identify redesign


opportunities so that all products are reused. TRUE-certified projects meet a minimum of 90% waste diversion for 12 months from landfills, incinerators (waste-to-energy), or the environment. TRUE is administered by GBCI and serves as a complement to the LEED green building rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). “By driving the adoption of green practices at all levels of business, we significantly impact greenhouse gases, manage risk, and improve the health and wellbeing of employees and the community,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. “By closing the loop on waste, organizations can become more resource

efficient, discover potential new revenue streams, and save money. TRUE delivers the business case for addressing waste.” Currently, there are 88 TRUE-certified facilities around the world. TRUE focuses on helping businesses, industrial sectors, and schools quantify their performance and find additional ways to move toward zero waste. Microsoft, Tesla, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Nature’s Path, Earth Friendly Products, Raytheon, Cintas, and Northrop Grumman, among others, have facilities certified under the program. The TRUE Zero Waste certification, previously administered by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, was acquired by GBCI in 2016. “Our goal is to help develop a zero waste economy for all that delivers financial, environmental, and social

benefits,” said Stephanie Barger, director, TRUE Zero Waste program. “The TRUE team is working with organizations across industries to help set benchmarks, track performance, educate employees, and deliver innovative solutions that move them closer to zero waste.” GBCI rating systems, like TRUE and LEED, are committed to driving the adoption of green business practices that foster global competitiveness and enhance environmental performance and human health benefits. From waste to responsible land development to sustainable power systems, GBCI rating systems work across all sectors, applying rigorous standards that verify performance and encourage sustainable practices that are economically, environmentally, and socially responsible.

Annual Green Supplement

November 2017


Growing Green: Trends Infrastructure

by Scott Turner Green infrastructure (GI) is growing! With climate change reshaping our communities, and extreme weather events occurring more frequently, GI solutions have become a stronger component of any resilience plan. We have seen the frequency and amount of GI projects grow exponentially in older American cities on the East Coast, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. The reasons to implement GI solutions are as varied as the projects on which they are applied. In many cases, the proliferation of GI is in response to a regulatory requirement or consent decree that requires cleaner or smaller urban stormwater discharges to surrounding water bodies. In some cases, especially in older cities, GI is used to reduce the amount of combined sewer overflows to water bodies. In other cases, a project owner may want to proactively address sustainability and resilience concerns and act as an environmental steward to improve the community in which they live. Engneers, planners, landscape architects, and other stormwater professionals endorse GI because of the combination of benefits they provide. Historically, traditional stormwater management systems would collect and convey stormwater away from its source using “grey infrastructure” such as catch basins, drain manholes, underground piping, and downstream detention basins. By moving stormwater away from the source, this had the unintended consequence of creating downstream impacts such as flooding and erosion. GI, on the other hand, collects stormwater close to the source of its

Nitsch led a multi-disciplinary team to design a high-performance, urban, residential, stormwater streetscape retrofit on Kennedy Street in Washington, D.C. This project was the pilot for future GI projects in the District and serves as a model to help address their combined sewer overflow. The project includes the design of 33 GI best management practices in one city block, which are under construction now.

generation and infiltrates it into the ground using best management practices such as bioretention basins, porous pavement, and other infiltration facilities. These practices are typically sized for the smaller storm events (1-1.5 inch rainfall) that are experienced approximately 90% of the time, effectively infiltrating the majority of rainfall, reducing the strain on existing grey infrastructure, and buffering the impacts of damaging weather. The nature of GI facilities, which typically integrates trees, shrubs, and other vegetation, has positive social, environmental, and economic impacts as well. The park-like nature of many GI facilities helps to promote relaxation and positive well-being. More plantings help to mitigate urban heat island impacts. Depending on the design of each facility, GI facilities can also provide recreational benefits. In addition, GI projects have been shown to encourage economic development in communities and neighborhoods. With all of these benefits, GI has become more commonplace and is now used by a wider range of property

owners, on both the public and private side. As these techniques and strategies become more commonplace, there is a growing comfort with the operations and maintenance aspects. In fact, a National Green Infrastructure Certification Program has been developed by the Water Environment Federation and DC Water to certify green infrastructure construction, inspection, and maintenance. This program is currently being incorporated

into DC Water’s first large-scale GI implementation. As public, private, and institutional owners continue to work with engineers and planners to successfully design, build, and maintain GI facilities, we expect that GI programs will continue to expand through the United States. Scott Turner, PE, AICP, LEED AP ND, is director of planning, Nitsch Engineering.

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November 2017

Multiply the Savings and Benefits with Energy Upgrades In Multi-Family Communities

by Elizabeth Merzigian Most homeowners today are implementing greener practices to contribute to the well-being of the environment, as well as to save money on their energy expenses. When a property management firm that oversees thousands of housing units starts to incorporate sustainability initiatives, however, those benefits and savings really start to add up. Many property management firms have found that implementing sustainable practices can be very beneficial, especially when they commit the time, organization and energy. For property management firms interested in making a big impact, the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge is worth a closer look. Started in 2012, the challenge is based on the

idea of encouraging property managers to cut energy intensity in their buildings portfolio-wide by 20% over a 10-year period. Peabody Properties joined the Better Buildings Challenge in 2014, and has committed to a 20% reduction in energy use by 2022, with over 10 million square feet in housing participating and 281 utility property accounts. By researching and capitalizing on utility and statefunded energy conservation programs, we have already received funding in excess of $13.9 million, realized an estimated energy savings throughout the portfolio of over $3 million annually, and have improved more than 7,500 units of affordable residential housing through energy retrofits. Massachusetts is a model state when it comes to the energy efficiency programs it offers. In fact, for the seventh consecutive year, the Commonwealth was recently named the most energy efficient state in the nation by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). One of the great programs offered by Massachusetts is the Low Income Multi Family Energy Retrofit Program

81 Wyman Street Targets LEED Silver

(LEAN). Eligibility requirements include that the project is for one or more multifamily (5+ units) residential buildings, at least 50% of the development households have income at or below 60% of the area median income, and that the site is served by a specific energy supplier.

...for the seventh consecutive year, the Commonwealth was recently named the most energy efficient state in the nation by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) One example of a community that benefited through the LEAN Program is Peabody Properties’ Julia Martin House in Jamaica Plain. In September 2015, this 56-unit community underwent a gas retrofit. The Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), which locally administers the LEAN Program, provided 100% of the cost for a new boiler system ($102,963), resulting in a total gas consumption reduction of 34% and shaving $6,086 from the gas bill. Another example is the heating retrofit project which took place in 2015 at Peabody Properties’ managed Braintree Village Apartments (built in 1972). The project benefited from $990,000 in funding through RISE Engineering & National Grid. As a result of this project, 47-year-old equipment was brought inside the buildings and off rooftops,

and 27 new high-efficiency Lochinvar® boilers (wall-mounted, 285,000 BTU/ hour) were installed. Additionally, new indirect water heaters were placed at each location, high-efficiency pumps replaced outdated ones, and separate domestic hot water was added. These improvements resulted in a site energy reduction of 42%. Although the LEAN Program does not cover water upgrades, many avenues to address water savings exist. Some easy in-house upgrades to consider include installing efficient low-flow showerheads, aerators, and irrigation meters. Property managers looking to make changes should explore local funding programs, no matter where they’re located. Develop relationships with overseers of these programs and ask lots of questions. Also, be ready to say “yes!” without hesitation based on time of year or program timelines. Try to be proactive with resident engagement and listen to their concerns. If there appears to be a possible lack of enthusiasm, try and ride out the “shock and awe” associated with a new system, as, before you know it, they too will be able to appreciate the better equipment supplying energy to their apartment homes. Finally, capture changes in net operating income at the time of a refinance to further fund conservation projects – and keep the savings coming! Elizabeth Merzigian is facilities manager – sustainability initiatives for Peabody Properties, Inc.

Sustainable Action: The Roles of Design, Behavior, and Thought continued from page 6

Rendering of 81 Wyman St. / Vision 3 Architects

Waltham, MA – Hobbs Brook Management LLC has begun a full interior renovation of 81 Wyman Street in Waltham. Plans are to reposition the space, located in the heart of Waltham’s technology corridor, into a modern, amenity-rich Class A office building. The highly sustainable building, which will feature an abundance of natural light, LED lighting, and all new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems built to high standards for sustainability and efficiency, is targeting LEED Silver certification. Designed by Providence-based Vision 3 Architects, 81 Wyman is slated for base-building completion in the summer of 2018 and will be available for either a single tenant or multiple tenants. Members of the project team include Columbia Construction Company, con-


struction manager; Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, structural engineer; and Cosentini Associates, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering. Originally built in 1989, the revitalized property is expected to attract highcaliber tenants with open floor plates, floor-to-ceiling windows, and elegant glass entries. 81 Wyman Street is conveniently situated within the Hobbs Brook Office Park less than 30 minutes from Boston. As part of the office park, tenants will enjoy access to onsite management; Hobbs Brook Park fitness center; Forefront Center for meetings and conferences; 24×7 security; shuttle to Alewife MBTA station; MBTA bus service to Watertown Square; and area hotels and restaurants. 81 Wyman also offers surface parking for 244 cars and dramatic views with highway exposure.

framed solely in terms of a future-centric world view, for example, the notion that we are preserving our planet for our children’s children. This seems to conflict with what we know about altruism. The authors state that while a future-centric approach has value, it needs to be paired with a minimization of immediate concerns. To understand the reason why, we need to appreciate the difference between abstract and concrete thought. By posing the future-centric world view, we are requiring abstract thought which answers the question “why?” This is more difficult than thinking about concrete concerns, such as cost, which answers the question “how?” and is associated with immediacy. We tend to focus more on immediate concerns that are often personal, rather than adopting superordinate goals in which groups work together for a group reward. The research shows that reduced immediate concerns will allow more future-centric thought and sustainable behavior. All we have to do is minimize immediate barriers by illustrating that we

can overcome these obstacles. We, the builders of a sustainable future, have a powerful mission to inspire and protect. As sustainability begins to focus on the individual in addition to collective health, wellness, and resource preservation, we need to ask even bigger questions. We need to take our responsibility as ambassadors of positive change seriously and work collaboratively towards a future that is better by design. I’d like to close by igniting our capacity for altruism and abstract thought with a quote from the poet Mary Oliver, “Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.” Antonia Ciaverella, WELL AP, EDAC, LEED AP BD+C, is an architectural designer at Tecton Architects. Melissa Roy is the director of business development at Tecton Architects. Tecton Architects is celebrating 30 years as an active member of the Construction Institute.

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November 2017


Bring energy efficient solutions to your clients, cut ownership costs. Get solutions at ngrid.com/pronet That’s business on the grid.

FOR ELIGIBLE PROJECTS within National Grid’s electric and/or gas service territories in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. National Grid does not guarantee savings. Savings and energy efficiency experiences may vary. Terms and conditions apply. In Rhode Island: These programs are funded by the energy efficiency charge on all customers’ utility bills, in accordance with Rhode Island law. ©2017 National Grid USA Service Company, Inc.


November 2017


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High-Pofile's Annual Green Supplement 2017-2018  

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