By Grey Lee
I had a chance to introduce myself to the 15 or so attendees, describe a bit about the Chapter, where we are in terms of cultivating our community, building our capacity, and advocating for green building friendly state and local regulations.
One of the main points we discussed was the Coming of the Casinos to the state. Julie Taylor, of Noble & Wickersham, provided a great overview of the collaboration between AIA, MA, BSA, and ACEC. She was holding the draft white paper for the Gaming Commission regarding design standards and an outlined design review process, which the commission had asked them to produce. This was a follow-up to the “Promoting Sustainability and Strengthening Communities: Design Excellence for Massachusetts Casinos” forum held on December 12th last year (which many USGBC MA members attended).
Julie reviewed the State's charge to the Commission and how design professionals can help weigh in on the casinos. Many in attendance hoped that the process would result in casinos that could support sustainability goals for their host communities. I asked Julie what would be the one priority that peer associations could push for and she said getting renewable energy into these casinos, since they really will be energy hogs one way or another. You can read more about the forum here, and stay tuned to John Nunnari (ED of the Mass. AIA) who chimed in considerably with Julie, as he is also one of the white paper authors, to keep track of this process.
We also heard from Carolyn Sarno from the NEEP (Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership) speaking a bit about the base building code and also the stretch code for the state. It sounds like a lot of things were waiting for the recent fall's election and now we are just stuck in bureaucratic backlog. It may be one thing our Chapter could specifically advocate for, which would be asserting for the stretch code and demanding the state issue appropriate regulations for green communities, as per Green Communities Act of 2008.
I look forward to promoting good green policy at the state and local levels! Let me know what you'd like to see us move forward on. The USGBC (national) has a great list to work on, but we need to think locally, strategically, and creatively to help move the levers of influence throughout Massachusetts.
See you soon! – Grey
PS – the image on the right side of the photo is what? It's probably obvious, even if it looks like some kind of mini-monster from this angle…