Passive House Trainings Are Filling Fast!

Passive House Trainings Are Filling Fast!

If the new MA Stretch Code released at the end of last year has sent you and others at your firm into a hurried frenzy to become trained on Passive House concepts or even become certified Passive House professionals, you’re not alone. Passive House courses are filling up faster than ever, and we’re here to help you achieve your Passive House training needs.

BE+ works with Phius, Passive House Network, and Passive House Massachusetts to offer relevant Passive House trainings to architects, engineers, contractors, and all building professionals (and we offer Express Program funding for Massachusetts attendees). Below is a list of our current and upcoming Passive House trainings. Registration has filled for some of these courses, but you can fill out our Training Interest Form to get on our outreach list when future sessions of these courses are scheduled.

We strongly encourage you to register for these courses on the BE+ website as early as possible to guarantee the best odds of securing your seat.

Certified Passive House Designer (PHI) Training registration closed
September 6th start date | $2,295

Passive House 201: Technical Aspects of Design & Construction
September 26th | $175

Phius Certified Builder (CPHB) Training
October 2nd start date | $1,550

Certified Passive House Consultant CPHC® Training (Phius) registration closed, course full
December 4th start date | $2,100

Phius Certified Rater Training registration coming soon
December 4th start date | $750

Certified Passive House Consultant CPHC® Training (Phius) registration coming soon
January 22nd start date | $2,100

Certified Passive House Consultant CPHC® Training (Phius) registration coming soon
March 4th start date | $2,100

Phius Certified Verifier Training registration coming soon
TBD | $750

Passive House 101: An Introduction to Passive Buildings registration coming soon
TBD | $175

These trainings are open to professionals both in and outside of Massachusetts, and there are a variety of incentives available to fund your training costs. If you work for a company with 100 or fewer Massachusetts employees, you can be reimbursed for training costs under the Workforce Training Fund Express Grant Program. NOTE: You must register through BE+ to be eligible for Express Grant Funding.

CPHC UPDATE: BE+ Certified Passive House Consultant CPHC® Training registration pages now align with Phius’ Phase II live session start dates. Please register as early as possible for the live session of your choosing, as the CPHC course has been filling extremely quickly recently. When BE+ closes registration for any CPHC courses on our website, this indicates that the live session is full.

Reach out to BE+ with additional questions about any of the trainings or the Express Grant Program!

Cracking the Massachusetts Energy Codes

Cracking the Massachusetts Energy Codes

The following post was provided by Dimella Shaffer.


Four heads are better than one.

On December 23rd, 2022, the clock started ticking for the architectural community when the DOER released a final version of the updated Massachusetts Stretch Code and the new Specialized Opt-in Code. Knowing that the changes would be significant, various taskforces were created by Alison Nash of Sasaki. A “Decision Tree” taskforce was established in January, and includes Sustainable Design Leaders, Gabrielle Aitcheson of ICON, Suni Dillard of HMFH, Lauren Gunther of DiMella Shaffer, and DiAnn Tufts of PCA.

The Sustainable Design Leaders is a national peer network group through BuildingGreen, which facilitates connections amongst the most passionate sustainability advocates. Given that each of our offices has expertise in various project types, we were able to bring different perspectives to the table. Over the course of five months, the group dissected the new energy code language, and each leader took on mapping the trees and branches of each compliance path, while also providing QAQC. Additionally, review comments were incorporated from the greater Architecture, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) community.

The result of our analysis is the creation of (2) decision trees and (8) decision tree branches.

MAIN DECISION TREE: New Construction

New Construction Branches:
» Small Residential, less than 12,000 SF
» Low-Rise Multifamily, greater than 12,000 SF
» Mid + High-Rise Commercial Multifamily
» Small Commercial, less than 20,000 SF
» Large Commercial, Low Ventilation
» Large Commercial, High Ventilation

MAIN DECISION TREE: Existing Construction

Existing Branches:
» Existing Low-Rise Residential
» Existing Commercial + Multifamily

Decision Trees + Branches

Changing systems need a roadmap.

Below is an outline of the overall concept, how to navigate the decision trees, and what to pay attention to.

Here’s what the decision trees do:

• Broadly show the difference between the Base Energy Code, Stretch Code, and the Specialized Opt-in Code.
• Act as a quick reference to identify key decisions and options for paths to compliance.
• Reference code sections related to each path.
• Provide “fun facts” to help guide the process.

Here’s what the decision trees do not do:

• Do not explain what is in each referenced code section.
• Do not provide every referenced code section.
• Do not provide definitions for all terms used through the paths.
• Do not include other codes or ordinances.
• Do not guarantee alignment with the Authorities Having Jurisdiction (code officials).

How the decision trees work:

• Start with the New Construction or Existing construction decision trees and answer the questions to determine which branch to follow.
• Use the branch to determine the appropriate path or path options for your project.
• The identified path is the starting point to communicate with all those involved in the project and confirm interpretation with code officials.

What to pay attention to:

• Know what Code is being used by the municipality; refer to map blog post.
• One “Use” and/or “Existing Building Scope” at a time.
• Cross reference with the “Municipal Fossil Fuel Free Building Demonstration Program” and other relevant ordinances.
• All optional pathways are indicated even if the pathway would not be typically used.
• Our focus is on understanding the intent of the code, not a specific interpretation.
• All buildings in MA Stretch Code communities, including buildings under 100,000 square feet, are required to follow the Stretch Code. This also includes existing • and low-rise residential buildings.
• The decision trees and branches are for educational purposes. *
• Updates will occur from time to time, but the link will remain the same. Note the version date in the file name and on individual pages.


We need to learn to crawl before we can walk.

We approached the decision trees and branches as foundational. The ability to provide graphically, easy to understand diagrams for design teams, clients, contractors, and code officials has been paramount for effectively communicating complex (and ground-breaking) energy codes.

Our goal is to continue outreach to the greater community. The “COTE: DOER Critical Stretch Code Series”, led by Alison Nash and Lara Pfadt provides incredibly insightful presentations from various experts in the field, and this past March, Suni Dillard and I presented the existing construction decision trees and branches to the BSA/Committee on the Environment (COTE) community.

Post contributors include Gabrielle Aitcheson of ICON, Suni Dillard of HMFH, Lauren Gunther of DiMella Shaffer, and DiAnn Tufts of PCA. Please reach out to any of us if you would like to learn more about the decision trees.

We aim for the community to spend less time understanding the changes, and more time applying the energy code. The information contained herein is for educational purposes only but does not guarantee accuracy of the information as it relates to State energy codes or other local and regional energy and sustainability requirements, or the interpretation and application of those requirements. Please consult official documentation from State and Local agencies as applicable.  

Passive House Trainings Are Filling Fast!

Major Updates to MA Workforce Training Fund Program

Commonwealth Corporation Revises Express Grant and General Grant Programs

Since many of you in Massachusetts use Express Grant funding for your trainings, we wanted to let you know about recent changes to the MA Workforce Training Fund Program requirements. Due to continued increases in participation and in order to serve more clients, the Commonwealth Corporation has made the following adjustments to the Express Grant and General Grant programs, effective July 10, 2023:

1. The maximum amount of a General Program grant will decrease from $250,000 to $200,000 per two-year grant award. This is in addition to the re-implementation of the one-year waiting period between General Program grants.
2. The maximum amount of Express Program reimbursement that a business may receive for approved training courses will decrease from $30,000 to $20,000 per calendar year.
3. Employers with over 100 Massachusetts employees will no longer be eligible to receive Express Program grants and will be encouraged to submit General Program applications.
4. Employers may only participate in either the Express or General Program at one time.

Grant Applications received prior to July 10, 2023, will be included under the previous grant limits ($250,000 / $30,000).

Please note that BE+ public trainings are open to everyone, inside and outside of MA, with or without grant funding.

We welcome you to participate in our trainings and value your feedback. Please review our Training Priority List and fill out our Training Interest Form to let us know which courses you are interested in attending and also to provide feedback that would assist us in helping you meet your training needs.

Welcome Summer 2023 Interns!

Join us in welcoming our Summer 2023 interns Haya Adleh, Alex Basulto, and Lila McNamee! We are so excited to have them on board for the summer to strengthen the BE+ community and advance our mission to drive the sustainable and regenerative design, construction, and operation of the built environment. They have already brought so much exciting interests, passions, and skills to the table, and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.

Spencer Gorma

Haya Adleh

My name is Haya Adleh and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to intern with BE+ and delve into the world of the green building industry! Currently, I am pursuing a dual BA/MA degree in Economics with a specific focus on development and sustainability. I had the privilege of studying International Relations abroad in Geneva, Switzerland, and recently completed another enriching study abroad experience in Madrid, Spain. My particular interest lies in the ongoing shift towards clean energy and sustainability, and I am passionate about making this transition accessible to all individuals. I eagerly look forward to expanding my understanding of how we can preserve our built environment and actively contribute to its educational initiatives.

Alex Basulto

Hello! My name is Alex and I am very excited to be participating in BE+’s targeted summer internship to learn more about the different ways in which we can adapt to be in a more sustainable and efficient built environment. I am currently a rising junior at Wentworth Institute of Technology studying in the Bachelor of Science for Architecture Program. Although the type of work that the BE+ team does is not directly correlated with what I am studying, it is a great opportunity to learn about the different ways in which companies and organizations are pushing to be in sustainable practices. After my internship with BE+, the knowledge that I will have obtained will be of great use for my design development and will aid me to think in a perspective that I did not use before. I am looking forward to contributing to the various projects and events that the BE+ team will do and I’m excited to see a different aspect of buildings that I have not yet studied while in college.

Gwynn Klumpenaar
Spencer Gorma

Lila McNamee

Hello! My name is Lila McNamee and I am so excited to be interning with BE+ this summer. Since graduating this spring from Clark University with a degree in economics and a concentration in ethics and public policy, I have begun pursuing my Master’s in Public Administration, also at Clark University. During my time with BE+, I will be assisting with marketing and outreach as well as our education initiatives. I am very interested in both areas of this community and am excited to learn more about the built environment and those who are working to make it sustainable!

Congratulations to BE+ 2023 Sustainability Scavenger Hunt Winners!

Congratulations to BE+ 2023 Sustainability Scavenger Hunt Winners!

You are AMAZING!

This year was such a special Scavenger Hunt year because of YOU. We were blown away by the impact you all made with the 2023 mission submissions. It was heartwarming to see the good you all did for your community. This ranged from park cleanups and clothing donations to food pantry volunteering and so much more!

Of the 37 participating teams, 10 teams completed all of the 14 daily missions, but three teams stood out above the rest with exemplary submissions.

17 days - 1673 submissions

Huge congratulations to the first place winner, Team Artemis, from Arrowstreet. Kate Bubriski, Kathleen Chainey, Andrea Brue, and Jillian Lydon, truly expressed themselves in each submission, and we enjoyed keeping up with them during this year’s hunt! 

We had so much fun presenting the awards and prizes at the April 27th Earth Day Celebration at Cisco Brewers in Boston. We honored the top 3 teams, along with prizes for Top Submission, Top Individual, Community Impact, and more. 

We would also like to highlight the amount of teams we had from all around. Thank you for joining us from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and even Dublin!

Here is the full list of winners:

Top Team: Artemis (Arrowstreet)

The winning team received $400, 4 BE+ event entries, 4 BE+ memberships, 4 tickets to a Red Sox game, 1 team building event from Let’s Roam, and 4 Cisco’s gift bags.

Second Place Team: 3 Lines of Work (Linnean Solutions)

The winning team received 4 BE+ memberships, 4 pairs of Sea Grass sunglasses from Zeal Optics, and 2 date night and 2 family pack events from Let’s Roam.

Third Place Team 1: AST Dreamers (Arrowstreet)

The winning team received 4 bundles of CleanCult products (including hand soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent dispensers with refills for each bottle) and 4 Klean Kanteen water bottles.

Third Place Team 2: Green Dream Team (enviENERGY)

The winning team received 4 Klean Kanteen water bottles, 4 Bootstrap Compost vouchers for 1 month of service, and 2 gift bags from the Ministry of Supply.

Top Submission: EMigrants (Elkus Manfredi)
for high quality and creative submissions

The winning team received 4 reusable digital cameras from Lumentation and vouchers to have the photos developed and scanned, and 4 Cotopaxi backpacks.

Top Individual: Emeline Gaujac, May the forest B with you (PCA)

for completing almost all of the community impact missions even in the pouring rain 

The winner received a BE+ membership, a voucher for 2 free standard size box deliveries from Boston Organics, a voucher for 2 free meals and 1 free side from Chipotle, and Lil Bucks seasoning.

Crowd Favorite: IncoGREENo, Team FunGals (CMTA)

The winning team received 2 totes and 2 wallets from Nisolo, and Lil Bucks products.

Community Impact: Don’t Stop BeLEAFing (PCA)

The winning team received 4 $75 gift certificates to HiBAR, 4 annual memberships to Thrive Market, and Lil Bucks products.

Sponsored Awards

Bluebikes’ I’m Blue mission: AST Dreamers (Arrowstreet)

I’m Blue, 100 Points
Bluebikes offers 4,000+ bicycles around the Greater Boston area to help residents access healthier and more sustainable modes of transportation. Record a teammate on a Bluebikes bike (or any blue bike if you are outside of the Boston area) singing or bopping along to the song “I’m Blue” by Eiffel 65. 

The winning team received 4 annual memberships to Bluebikes, Bee’s Wrap lunch pack reusable wax wraps, 4 phone stands from ChopValue and 4 keychains from ChopValue.

Mitsubishi Electric HVAC Rap mission: LEEDers (NUSBO/Northeastern)

HVAC Rap, 50 Points
Mitsubishi Electric uses high efficiency heat pumps for commercial-scale decarbonization and electrification of HVAC/Ventilation/Domestic Hot Water Systems! Write and perform a short rap explaining what heat pumps are, the benefits of this innovation, and why we are all so excited to use them!

The winning team received 4 Buff CoolNet UV neck wraps and 4 $25 gift certificates to Marathon Sports.

Daikin Ice Bucket Challenge mission: EMigrants (Elkus Manfredi)

Ice Bucket Challenge, 150 Points
Daikin is currently advocating for policy change on the use of their R-32 next generation refrigerant that improves efficiency, reduces electricity consumption, and has a dramatically lower global warming potential. Show your love for cooling the planet by uploading a video of you or a teammate having a bucket of ice water dumped on them while explaining why you think we should make the leap to R-32.

The winning team received 4 $25 gift certificates to Saloniki Greek and 2 bundles of Lil Bucks products.

Thank you to our Event Sponsors!

Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US
Seaport by WS

Thank you to our generous Prize Donors!

Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi
Elkus Manfredi

We had so much fun with this year’s Scavenger Hunt that we already know we’re doing it all over again next year! Stay tuned to the event page for details on our 4th annual Sustainability Scavenger Hunt as they unfold. If you’re interested in sponsoring or participating, reach out to

HMFH Architects Implements Material Transparency Initiative at Bristol‐Plymouth

HMFH Architects Implements Material Transparency Initiative at Bristol‐Plymouth

The following post was provided by HMFH Architects.

In 2019 HMFH Architects signed on to the AIA Materials Pledge. Signing this pledge demonstrates our commitment to the ecosystem, human, climate, and social health along with equity and the circular economy when selecting products that go into the schools we design. Building on this commitment, HMFH is collaborating with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) to develop a new standard for material transparency in K-12 public schools. Currently in design, the new Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School is serving as the pilot project for this program.

A healthy interior environment is foundational to a child’s education—by the time a student graduates high school, they will have spent more than 15,000 hours in a school, which is the second longest indoor exposure time after their home.¹ Therefore, it is essential that educational facilities provide the best possible environments to support student wellness, growth, and development. A key piece of this is understanding the impact of building materials on health and well being.

Drawing from over 50 years of experience designing K-12 public schools, HMFH is researching and vetting hundreds of materials to develop a baseline list of products that contribute to a healthy learning environment and are optimized for K-12 school architecture. The intent of this research is twofold: first, to provide a list of building materials to serve as a reference point for future projects, and second, to push manufacturers to disclose the chemical makeup of their materials and ultimately eliminate chemicals of concern in those products.

Based on the goal of identifying and specifying materials that fully disclose ingredient and manufacturing information, the Bristol-Plymouth team selected the Declare label standard and is prioritizing products that are free of LBC Red List chemicals. Declare is a certification for manufacturers to provide information on the chemical makeup of their products and compliance with standards such as the Living Building Challenge (LBC) Red List and LBC Watch List, which limit materials, chemicals, and elements harmful to human health and the environment.³

Focusing first on touch surfaces in K-12 schools—which encompass materials from furniture to door hardware—the Bristol-Plymouth team looked at commonly used products to confirm they do not contain harmful ingredients. The research showed many products do already meet the desired standard, but for those that do not, HMFH’s designers investigated non-toxic equivalent products that meet the same standards for function, durability, and accessibility. The materials and manufacturers vetted through this research are being used to develop a comprehensive list of touch surface materials that targets LBC Red List Free products (and Declared products where Red List Free is not feasible) for all HMFH projects moving forward.

The Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School will be a model for healthy schools in Massachusetts, establishing product standards for MSBA-funded schools. Our goal is to eliminate chemicals of concern from school building materials to ensure that all students across the State have access to healthy interior environments.

Decarbonizing Laboratory Design

Decarbonizing Laboratory Design

The following post was provided by Bala Consulting Engineers.

Energy intense labs present owners, developers, and designers alike with a unique challenge to balance functional lab design with new emissions reduction requirements and energy codes. Decarbonization of the building sector is being accelerated in New England by Boston’s BERDO 2.0 and new DOER Massachusetts Energy Codes which pose stringent building emissions limits and highly efficient energy standards. Now more than ever, converting offices to lab spaces requires new, more innovative, and future-focused design strategies.

Office to Lab Considerations and Challenges

Reducing operational carbon emissions in tandem with the conversion of an existing building into a lab requires a highly technical analysis as well as an understanding of laboratory and energy-efficient system options.  Bala Consulting Engineers understands the challenges of office-to-lab conversions and has resolved a variety of them on a recent office-to-lab conversion at 51 Melcher, where we are integrating strategies to decarbonize this laboratory design.

51 Melcher Street Decarbonization Strategies and Solutions

51 Melcher is an office-to-lab conversion project located in Boston’s Fort Point District. The existing building totals 9-stories and approximately 100,000 SF, with approximately 60% being converted to lab space and 40% staying as office space.

To meet future BERDO 2.0 emissions standards and requirements from Boston’s Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), Bala’s engineering design utilized system reuse where possible and highly efficient all-electric systems. While working with the owner, architect, and CM, Bala came up with a flexible approach to support future lab requirements and meet emissions/energy targets while also reducing the need for seismic upgrades.

Efficient Design Solutions

In the early phases of design, a series of energy models were performed to analyze the existing façade. Improvements to the exterior wall thermal performance were identified, yielding a significant reduction in energy consumption. A more efficient, and tighter façade resulted in reduced heating and cooling loads.

Integrating energy recovery from laboratory exhaust air systems and fume hoods was another effective project approach. Building heating and cooling systems were downsized due to energy recovery systems reducing the peak heating and cooling demands.

Reuse and Integration of Existing Infrastructure

Bala analyzed existing building infrastructure – a natural gas-fired system – for potential reuse alongside integrating new all-electric systems. Midway through the project design, the BPDA expressed that the project needed to reduce its fossil fuel usage by 90%. To significantly reduce fossil fuel usage, our team pivoted to use primarily all-electric heating and cooling systems.

This system approach demonstrated an annual fossil fuel use of only 3% for 51 Melcher – used as a backup in case of extreme temperature swings. The reuse of some existing building infrastructure, including the existing cooling tower and associated condenser water pipework, also decreased the embodied carbon of the project. Reusing existing systems eliminates carbon that would have been produced from manufacturing, transporting, installing, maintaining new systems, and disposing of the old building materials.

All-Electric Design Solutions

Air Source heat pump (ASHP) technology is the prevailing system we are incorporating into the building design for heating and cooling. Our project team’s final design incorporated a combination of air-cooled and water-cooled heat pump equipment for the building’s heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. The ASHPs provide heating/cooling for the main AHUs.

BERDO 2.0 Analysis

To ensure future readiness for 51 Melcher, Bala conducted an analysis to compare four design scenarios against long-term BERDO 2.0 emissions limits. We provided an analysis for the following design options:


  •  The ASHRAE 90.1-2013 baseline HVAC system
  • The original proposed design:  reuse of existing fossil fuel system
  • A carbon-neutral design with the use of district steam.
  • This has been split into two emissions projections as district steam can have an
    environmental impact if not produced from “clean” renewable energy sources.
  • An all-electric design

The first year of non-compliance with the BERDO 2.0 emissions limits has been circled for each of the design scenarios. The slope of these lines is dependent upon the grid decarbonizing over time and the proportion of electricity use versus natural gas or steam use.

Our analysis does not consider future potential upgrades, nor does it consider potentially more drastic grid decarbonization. It’s important to note that both of these factors will affect future compliance with BERDO emissions limits.

Developing a Future-focused and Adaptive Approach

To make decarbonization a reality, design teams should approach lab projects strategically. As seen with our 51 Melcher project, optimal strategies come from analyzing existing infrastructure and determining which systems can be reused and what needs to be supplemented to meet program requirements.

Bala is continuing to invest in internal research and development to identify forward-thinking, sustainable solutions.  With holistic evaluation and planning among architects, owners, CMs, design professionals, and manufacturers, decarbonized laboratory design that delivers sustainability, cost- effectiveness, flexibility, scalability, and overall value is possible.

Boston Leads Way Towards Green Buildings For All

Boston Leads Way Towards Green Buildings For All

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced on Thursday that Boston intends to adopt the state’s new specialized opt-in stretch energy code for new construction and major renovations. She also announced a new $10 million Large Building Green Energy Retrofits Program using American Rescue Plan funds to provide up to $50,000 per unit for deep energy retrofits for income-restricted affordable housing buildings with 15 or more units. These two big announcements demonstrate the city’s leadership greening both new buildings and existing buildings.

“Building a Green New Deal city means improving on our existing infrastructure as well as investing in future resilient development,” said Mayor Wu. “This new green building code will help ensure that we set the foundation for healthy, resilient growth throughout our neighborhoods.”

BE+ Executive Director Meredith Elbaum was invited to attend the press conference at the Brian Honan Apartments in Allston-Brighton, and Mayor Wu thanked Built Environment Plus, along with Passive House Massachusetts, the Sierra Club, and others who have advanced the decarbonization of Boston’s built environment.

“It was amazing to witness,” Elbaum said of her experience at the press conference. “Seeing Boston’s top leadership saying exactly what we’ve been saying for so many years, and seeing such meaningful action towards making healthy green buildings the standard for every resident in the city regardless of socio-economic status, it was kind of surreal.”

“To advance Boston’s Green New Deal, we are tackling building decarbonization from all different angles, using all of the tools at our disposal,” said Green New Deal Director Oliver Sellers-Garcia. “By both adapting existing buildings and setting new energy standards for new buildings, we are taking an all of government approach to reducing emissions in more buildings to ensure our climate’s health and our city’s quality of life.”

“The adoption of the state’s Specialized Stretch Energy Code is an important part of Boston’s work to decarbonize our buildings and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space.“ I’m grateful to be a part of a Green New Deal City where we prioritize affordable housing in our decarbonization work.”

Read the City’s press release here

Read the City’s RFP for its Large Building Green Energy Retrofits Program here.


Workforce Training Grants Driving Sustainability

Workforce Training Grants Driving Sustainability

Congratulations to all three Workforce Training General Grant consortiums that concluded in 2022: Prellwitz Chilinski Associates and HMFH Architects; Gensler and Arup; and Payette Associates and Saam Architecture. These three grants represent approximately $510,000 grant dollars used to provide over 1,100 hours of training for 630 unique individuals in our industry. And the results were impressive.

Built Environment Plus (BE+) participates in the Commonwealth Corporation’s Workforce Training Fund General Grant Program to improve the continuing education opportunities available to building industry professionals. The General Grant Program awards approved consortiums (companies that partner to apply for the grant) the opportunity to take up to $250,000 worth of training over a two year period. BE+ partners with companies in the AEC (architecture, engineering, construction) industry to develop a curriculum and apply for the grant and then we administer the grant once awarded.

In 2022, we administered four Workforce Training Fund General Grants, consisting of nine AEC firms who worked together in four consortiums. Three of the consortiums concluded their grant period in late 2022, and the fourth will complete their grant period in July of this year. Each of the three grants is made up of a consortium of two or three AEC firms of varying sizes.

As the grant administrator, BE+ curated a list of diverse trainings to enable the consortiums to develop their staffs’ skills in sustainability, leadership and management, and technology. By collaborating with instructors across 38 organizations, the training we provided for the three consortiums that concluded in 2022  covered topics ranging from green building rating systems and high performance building technologies to energy modeling, embodied carbon software, communication, and effective team building skills. All in all, 242 trainings were held with a total enrollment of 2,700.

The education provided through the grant courses advanced our teams’ knowledge and reinforced our firmwide culture of continuous improvement and learning.  The courses offered real-world education that contributed to talent attraction and retention, project wins, and competitiveness in a changing marketplace.

–Gensler Boston Office, 2020-2022 BE+ Workforce Training General Grant Consortium Partner

“As a result of the trainings, Saam’s productivity and performance has improved in numerous areas. For example, staff utilization for construction administration on LEED projects increased by 50%. Additionally, many of the staff now use Excel in much more efficient and advanced ways, allowing us to produce report graphics at a higher level.” 

–Saam Architecture, 2019-2022 BE+ Workforce Training General Grant Consortium Partner

BE+ would like to congratulate these firms for their successes and for all the hard work they completed over the past few years to offer training sessions to their staff. We look forward to collaborating with them in the future. Over the course of the grant, the consortiums tracked progress made at their individual firms in the form of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Below are examples of achievements that firms were able to celebrate at the end of their two-year grant period:


    • Completed 13 green building certified projects between 2020 and 2022.
    • 10% improvement in pEUI (predicted energy use reduction) across projects firmwide.
    • Increased the use of in-house energy modeling, daylighting, and sustainable material assessments on projects by 30%.
    • 50% increase in LEED Accredited Professionals on staff
    • 15% increase in the number of projects performing life-cycle assessments (LCAs).
    • Increased the number of energy modelers on staff by 50%
    • 35% increase in the number of projects using Revit
    • Increased the project win rate by 11% due to improved project performance and client relationship building. 
    • Achieved a 25% increase in the win rate of public projects due to improved leadership and management skills
    • Achieved a 50% increase in the staff utilization rate for construction administration on LEED projects.

BE+ would also like to thank all of the instructors we partner with who provide hours upon hours of high quality, informative, and engaging trainings. Needless to say, the past few years have been an adjustment for all of us, and we are proud to have worked through the challenges with all of our partner firms and instructors to be able to continue to provide trainings.

In 2023, we look forward to reporting back to you the results of a General Grant currently underway that ends in July, with a consortium consisting of DiMella Shaffer, Leers Weinzapfel Associates, and BR+A Consulting Engineers. We also look forward to announcing new General Grant consortium partners soon whose grant period will start later this spring, and we plan to submit two more General Grant applications later this year.

Participating in the General Grant Program is an effective way to provide valuable skills to your firm’s staff across all departments and experience levels. Additionally, BE+ offers public trainings which are open to anyone to take and are eligible for Workforce Training Fund Express Grant funding for Massachusetts firms. Review our Upcoming Course List and register for some trainings! Review our 2023 Training Priority List  and complete the BE+ Training Interest Form to let us know which specific training(s) you are interested in taking. If you are interested in being considered for a future General Grant, you can let us know that too on this form.

Welcome Spring 2023 Interns!

Welcome Spring 2023 Interns!

Join us in welcoming our Spring 2023 interns Lia Clark and Yasir Faisal! We are thrilled to have them on board for the spring semester to strengthen the BE+ community and advance our mission to drive the sustainable and regenerative design, construction, and operation of the built environment. They’re bringing exciting interests, passions, and skills to the table, and we can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.

We can’t wait to see how their unique interests, passions, and talents will strengthen the BE+ community and our collective work.

Spencer Gorma

Lia Clark

Hello! My name is Lia Clark and I am excited to be interning with BE+ this semester and learning more about sustainable building practices. Currently, I am in my final semester at Tufts University where I am working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Environmental Studies with a focus on sustainability, policy, and equity. Ultimately, I am interested in pursuing a masters degree in urban and environmental planning, and hope to work in communities like the ones BE+ serves. I look forward to taking advantage of the experiences and opportunities interning at BE+ will provide me with and learning more about how the built environment can serve both the planet and community members to the fullest.

Yasir Faisal

Hello! My name is Yasir and I am delighted to be working with the BE+ team to help them fulfill their mission to significantly improve the sustainability of our built environment. I am entering my last semester at Western New England University, where I will earn a Bachelor’s degree in Civil engineering with concentration in environmental engineering . I am particularly interested in improving the efficacy of building and environmental conservation management. I very much look forward to contribute to further sharing of knowledge and spread of sustainable building practices within and outside the community.

Gwynn Klumpenaar