New Report Shows Massachusetts is Going Net Zero

New Report Shows Massachusetts is Going Net Zero

New BE+ Report Shows that Massachusetts is Going Net Zero
Highly efficient, all-electric buildings near 50 million GSF

The known square footage of Net Zero and Net Zero Ready buildings in Massachusetts has grown nearly six times in just three years, according to the Spring 2024 update to our MA is Ready for Net Zero report. Continued data collection since 2021 increased the total of Net Zero or Net Zero Ready Projects included in the analysis from 7.2 million GSF to 48.4 million GSF. It is clear from this analysis that Massachusetts is not just Ready for Net Zero, as the first three reports were named, Massachusetts is now Going Net Zero.

The landscape has changed dramatically since BE+ issued its initial report in February 2021. Massachusetts updated its State Building Code in March 2021 to include the new Municipal Opt-in Specialized Stretch Energy Code, which requires new construction and major renovations to be more energy efficient. As of 2024, 34 communities representing over 26 percent of the state’s population have now adopted it. Boston and Cambridge finalized their existing building emissions ordinances, and 10 communities are piloting fossil fuel bans for new construction.

Most recently, BE+ launched BE+ CONNECTS with support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). This new directory of high-performance building professionals connected to their companies and to their projects demonstrates that a given company’s expertise is in its people and is proven through its completed and in-progress projects. Data collection for this report is now done through BE+ CONNECTS, where the majority of the projects and companies in the report are listed. This evolution makes most of the data for this report publicly available for the first time.

“MassCEC is proud to support BE+ CONNECTS and is pleased to see it employed in data collection for the 2024 MA is Going Net Zero Report,” said Beverly Craig, Program Director of MassCEC’s Building Decarbonization team. “BE+ CONNECTS enables building owners, managers, and developers to connect with high performance building professionals and their projects in a live online database, facilitating an increase in net zero buildings by addressing the pressing need to find experts to meet new building energy codes and new building emissions performance standards, and the need for continued growth of net zero buildings. MassCEC also applauds the Going Net Zero Report. It is an invaluable resource in demonstrating that net zero buildings are not only feasible in MA today but are growing in their market share across building sectors.”

“Successful, net zero new construction is here,” said Eversource Manager, New Construction Energy Efficiency Kim Cullinane. “Together with our fellow Mass Save® Sponsors, Eversource is excited to partner with many of the people and projects listed in BE+ CONNECTS, as they are driving net zero initiatives across Massachusetts. Between the experts in the field, resources like those offered by BE+ and MassCEC, and our own incentive programs and pathways, there has never been a better time to build net zero. Our cleaner, greener future is no longer a thing of tomorrow; in new construction, it’s here today.”

“It’s clear from the analysis that we have the expertise and technology to build and retrofit Net Zero buildings, often without any cost premium,” said Meredith Elbaum, Executive Director of BE+. “It’s also clear that increasing commitments from municipal, state, and federal governments, as well as utilities and other stakeholders, are driving market transformation. What’s less clear is how we finance, build, and retrofit green buildings for all people. Thankfully we’re moving in that direction. It’s now safe to say Massachusetts is Going Net Zero.”

Highlights from the updated report include:

The Net Zero and Net Zero Ready building stock in Massachusetts exceeds 48.4 million square feet and is growing rapidly.
• Of the 13.1 million GSF with reported cost data, 80 percent reported <1 percent construction cost premium to achieve Net Zero Ready.
Multi-family and affordable housing’s combined 15.3 Million GSF are leading the way for Net Zero development in Massachusetts, employing heat pumps and on-site renewables to reach their Net Zero targets. Lab / Tech / Science grew substantially, by nearly 50 percent, in 2024 to 13.7 Million GSF, making up the majority of the found Net Zero Ready space.
Affordable Housing makes up 40 percent of all residential Net Zero and Net Zero Ready square footage.
All projects rely on heat pumps as the primary source of heat. The majority of building types utilize air-source heat pumps, with the exception of K-12 which more often use ground-source heat pumps. Net Zero buildings also procure on-site and/or off-site renewable energy to offset 100 percent of consumption on a net annual basis.
Over twice as many projects since 2023 have reported the use of electricity for domestic hot water with a total of 28.2 million GSF.
There are 319 companies working to make Net Zero buildings the standard in MA. Many of the companies can be found in BE+ CONNECTS.

About Mass Save®
Mass Save® is a collaborative of Massachusetts’ electric and natural gas utilities and energy efficiency service providers including Berkshire Gas, Cape Light Compact, Eversource, Liberty, National Grid, and Unitil. We empower residents, businesses, and communities to make energy efficient upgrades by offering a wide range of services, rebates, incentives, trainings, and information.

About the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)
MassCEC is a state economic development agency dedicated to accelerating the growth of the clean energy and climatetech sector across the Commonwealth to spur job creation, deliver statewide environmental benefits, and secure long-term economic opportunities for the people of Massachusetts.

LEED v5 and the BE+ community

LEED v5 and the BE+ community

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has opened public comments for the first major update to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building ratings system in over 10 years.

Special kudos to former BE+ Board Members Neil Angus and Chris Schaffner, current BE+ Board Members Kristen Fritsch and Sarah Michelman, and BE+ members Adam Jennings and Emma Van Lieshout who were all involved in the USGBC LEED committees making this possible.

BE+ is here to help you get your head around the proposed standard and be ready to offer comments.

Follow these steps:

1. Explore LEED v5 on-demand courses in the USGBC course catalog to learn more about the next iteration of LEED.

2. Consult these resources:
LEED v5 website
Preparing for the opening of LEED v5’s first Public Comment period
Article announcing the opening of LEED v5’s first Public Comment period
Exploring LEED v5: Guide to the first public comment period
BuildingGreen’s overview article on LEED v5
FAQs on LEED v5

Rating Systems

• LEED v5 BD+C: New Construction (pdf | credit library)
• LEED v5 BD+C: Core and Shell (pdf | credit library)
• LEED v5 ID+C: Commercial Interiors (pdf | credit library)
• LEED v5 O+M: Existing Buildings (pdf | credit library)

3. Participate in a special BE+ Community LEED v5 roundtable
Register now (April 30th, 12pm ET)
Be ready to weigh in with some of what you like, and some of what you’d like to change.

4. Submit your comments by May 20th (extended to May 24th, 9pm PT)
Via the LEED credit library or
Via the LEEDuser / Building Green LEEDv5 public comment forums

5. Join BE+ and USGBC at an in-person LEED v5 event
We are coordinating a local launch event for LEED v5 with USGBC for some time after the first public comment period. Stay tuned for more information.

6. Earn your LEED AP credential
Now is a great time to earn your LEED AP credential (before the exam content changes to LEED v5). We are currently scheduling two trainings: LEED GA Deep Dive & Exam Prep and LEED BD+C Deep Dive & Exam Prep. Fill out the Training Interest Form to be notified when those are scheduled.

Expanding the Toolkit for Justice at Work through JUST.

Expanding the Toolkit for Justice at Work through JUST.

Whether you are a Just leader or Just-curious, the most important part of the Just disclosure tool from the International Living Future Institute is the community of practitioners it has engaged who can share their wisdom and make everyone’s journey easier, less lonely, and more impactful.

That is why we are excited to share some of the learned experience from some local Just firms as we get ready to celebrate their accomplishments at the March 7th Just Celebration organized by the BE+ Living Future Community. Beyond these stories, we hope you will join us on the 7th for an inspired discussion with folks at all stages of the Just journey.

Advice for other organizations considering Just

Enjoy the ride (process), not the race (score).

Iterate. Achieving a socially equitable workspace requires continuous work. We have been through several rounds of Just certification, and each cycle we find new opportunities for reflection, change, and improvement. The business landscape is also quickly evolving and responding to challenges such as pandemics, economic strains, and significant and dramatic changes in workstyles and ages. It is helpful to keep evaluating, communicating, and testing our policies. The JUST Certification process is a valuable framework to keep elevating and to solicit feedback from staff to make sure we are aligned, nimble, and adaptive. Each cycle, we incorporate changes that we can handle and bookmark long term goals to work continuously towards. Being transparent about our process and intentions helps the entire team work towards our vision.  –Next Phase Studios

Be prepared to closely examine company policies and procedures with a fresh set of eyes. This is an opportunity to write and revise policies to align with the inherent ideals and beliefs of your organization. –The Green Engineer

Collaboration between different internal departments is really important and you may learn that your company has been doing some of the best practices outlined in the standard all along. –Humanscale

Lessons learned, changes made

Based on our experience, we feel that the Just certification process is a serious undertaking. We had the good fortune to have an outside consultant who helped us determine best practices for our firm and provided the necessary guidance. For other firms beginning their Just journey, our suggestion would be to either work with an outside facilitator to help keep the focus on the process, or, if using an internal resource, allocate time during the work week to be sure that the work gets done. One of the intricate parts of the process for us was determining how the firm’s aspiration goals to provide time for education and volunteering, as examples, fit within the legal employment requirements of the state of Massachusetts. We found it beneficial to have someone help “check our work” as it were to keep us compliant. –Auburndale Builders

In 2022, Humanscale launched an employee-run Local Communities Committee. This group identifies needs within the community and then executes outreach and volunteer events to alleviate those needs. The creation of this group was in part because of our participation in the Just label and its Local Communities Imperative. So far, the committee has hosted multiple litter cleanups including a now annual event along the Connecticut River, grown vegetables to be distributed within the community and collected food for a local food bank. –Humanscale

As we were already a B Corp and had a Just v1 Label, recertification for JUST was the natural next step for our organization. This pushed us to make some changes to our policies and gave us the opportunity to memorialize our commitment to social justice, equity, and employee engagement. –The Green Engineer

The internal value of participating in Just

Since receiving our Just Label in 2022, CambridgeSeven has used the Just framework to examine our values and focus on opportunities for improvement, not only to obtain a label, but as a tool of continual self-reflection. In addition to continuing to increase diversity within our office, we’ve been looking at our responsibilities beyond, including our impact through design. We’ve been digging into our process for engaging communities around our projects, working with clients to effectively identify stakeholders across our wide variety of project types, recognizing that the process for a children’s museum will look very different from a higher-ed campus or a residential development. Another significant area of focus is the selection of materials and how our decisions affect people throughout the supply chain. Working with other collaborators and organizations like Design for Freedom, we’ve reorganized our materials library to remove products at highest risk of child labor and modern slavery, and we’re working to identify and specify materials that have evaluated their supply chain for fair labor practices. –CambridgeSeven

What Just has allowed us to do within our organization is to determine whether we are meeting those ideals that we have set for ourselves. Rather than just espousing the policies and best practices we want our firm to aspire to, Just provides a realistic framework that we can measure ourselves against. Specifically, a goal of Auburndale Builders is to pay employees equitably. Our Pay-Scale Equity and Living Wage Policies, which were created with the Just framework in mind, not only codifies our commitment, but also provides tools we can use to determine that we are in good standing now and in the future. We understand that the Just certification is an on-going process and we are committed to using it as a touchstone as we grow our business. –Auburndale Builders

One of the most valuable benefits of going through the Just process for the first time is having a framework to learn from and creating a baseline for our company. Without a framework, it’s challenging to know how you’re doing as a company with regard to social justice. Social impacts aren’t as commonly reported on as something like carbon emissions so there aren’t many frameworks out there. Creating Just labels allowed us to benchmark ourselves and identify areas in which we could do better. We do not have perfect scores, but we now know where we have room for improvement. For example, we always strived to have a good impact on our local communities and were participating in volunteer activities but didn’t have a committee dedicated to identifying needs within the community and helping to alleviate those needs. Now we have a group of Sustainability Ambassadors who focus on this specifically. –Humanscale

JUST is well known in the design community and having the label sets our organization apart. It also shows our employees that we will always seek out areas of improvement when it comes to our policies and benefits. Meeting the criteria for the Just label pushes our organization to do better. We also believe JUST has broader name recognition with the AEC community than BCorp per se. In addition, clients, institutions and organization that draft RFPs in the AEC industry could consider highlighting JUST and BCorp in their selection criteria, or giving preference to firms that are either JUST or BCorp certified. –The Green Engineer

We found that we were already meeting many of the Just indicators but didn’t have official policy, frameworks, or metrics to document, articulate or evaluate our business and operational behaviors. Getting our policies and processes documented has allowed our employees to be seen, engage, and share consensus on the operations and matters that impact them. The Just framework and certification process also provides resources to conduct surveys, identify opportunities, and craft programs. We do not have a full-time HR staff, so the framework allows any of our regular staff to be involved in policy changes, input on operations, and even administration of surveys. It empowers our team members to define and impact the direction of the firm. Our size also allows us to be nimble. Based on feedback outcomes during our certification process we were able to readily implement ideas, suggestions, and requests, including adding an additional feedback channel. Our pursuit of Just has made our values clear to the team, encouraged conversation, and collected thoughtful feedback. –Next Phase Studios

We are incredibly grateful for our Just Celebration sponsors who have generously shared these insights from their Just journey. We hope their experiences can clarify, inform, and inspire your journey, that together we can raise the bar for social justice, equity, diversity, impact, and belonging across the industry.

Welcome 2024 BE+ Board of Directors!

Welcome 2024 BE+ Board of Directors!

As we enter 2024, members of the BE+ community gathered to celebrate the achievements of the past year, participated in the Board of Directors election, and eagerly discussed the year ahead. The Annual General Meeting was marked by acknowledging outstanding contributions and welcoming new faces to leadership roles within our community.

We took a moment to applaud the remarkable accomplishments of our members in 2023 by awarding and recognizing individuals and companies that have demonstrated commitment and leadership in various ways. The awards went out to:

1. Company of the Year: The Green Engineer
2. Net Zero Hero: Roselin Osser
3. Living Building Champion: Robert Donohue
4. Member of the Year: Nicole Voss
5. Health & Wellness Champion: Gabriel Echeverria
6. BE+ Community Leader: Dan Whittet
7. Emerging Professional of the Year: Monisha Nasa
8. Women in Green Warrior: Tammy Ngo
9. Most Studious Company: Elkus Manfredi Architects

At the Annual General Meeting BE+ also announced the new Board Members. The BE+ community would like to extend our congratulations and a warm welcome to Leah Robins (Metropolitan Area Planning Council), Daisy Chen (Bain Capital), and Eudad Gonzalez (Turner Construction Company). Additionally we would like to congratulate the re-elected Board Members Kristen Fritsch and Rebecca Schofield.

As we bid farewell to 2023, we would like to thank our departing Board Member Galen Nelson for his time, knowledge, and passion, and we will be planting a tree in his honor.

Congratulations to the award winners, new Board Members, and those continuing their service. Here’s to a year of continued success and progress within the BE+ community!

BE+ The Change as a Company Member

BE+ The Change as a Company Member

Built Environment Plus is powered by a vibrant community of green building leaders and aspiring leaders who strive to design, build, and operate a sustainable and regenerative built environment. 

This mighty community has led both market transformation and policy transformation towards this brighter, greener, and healthier future for all of us. The roadmap to a net positive future is there, but the journey is daunting. We know that we can only get there by coming together, tapping into our group genius, and taking on the big challenges with clarity, passion, and vision.

We have seen amazing progress and momentum in 2023.

Looking ahead, we see a year that is bursting with potential and opportunity.

We know that we are stronger together. We have seen the power of collective problem-solving and collaborative advantage.

That is why we are thrilled to invite you to plan your year ahead with us with a brand new Year-Ahead Prospectus

Let’s approach this year ahead with a shared purpose of accelerating the sustainable and regenerative design, construction, and operation of the built environment, together.

There are countless ways to engage and support our thriving community of green building practitioners, advisors, decision-makers, and influencers.

As an easy starting place, we offer a 50% discount for your first year of Company Membership, at any level.

Strengthen the BE+ ecosystem by joining today as a Company Member. We have a goal of adding 20 new Company Members ahead of our Annual General Meeting on January 25th.

Join your leadership with this community’s commitment for positive transformational change. Together, we are far greater than the sum of our parts.

BE+ YOU: Who we are / Who you are. It's all about the plus.

Express Grant 2023 Funds

Express Grant 2023 Funds

Use Your 2023 Express Grant Funding to Pay for Trainings in 2024!

As 2023 nears the finish line, it’s easy for deadlines to slip through the cracks. With this in mind, we are here with a friendly (and important) reminder that December 10th, 2023 is the final day to submit a MA Workforce Training Fund Express Grant application to access the remainder of your company’s eligible 2023 grant funding.

A few key facts about Express Grant funding:

• Companies with 100 MA employees or less are eligible to apply for up to $20,000 per year to reimburse you for the cost of approved trainings.
• All of BE+’s currently scheduled public trainings are approved under the Express Program.
• Once your grant application is approved, the funding is good for 2 years, so you can use your funds in 2024 and 2025.
• 2023 funding applications cannot be modified in 2024 so be sure to choose courses you know you or someone at your company will take.
• Submit your application by December 10th, 2023 to secure your funds!
Register for the trainings on the BE+ website to secure your spot.

Complete an Express Grant application for any of our upcoming scheduled courses:

November 9th: Tools for Building Life-Cycle Assessment (Tally)
Grant deadline passed

November 28th: Energy Codes and Trends
Grant deadline passed

December 4th start: Phius Certified Rater Training
Grant deadline: November 13th; Grant ID #1143064

December 4th start: Phius Certified Building (CPHB) Training
Grant deadline: November 13th; Grant ID #1146564

December 12th: Intro to Designing a Net Zero Building
Grant deadline: November 21st; Grant ID #1131177

January 9th start: Lead Carpenter Training
Grant deadline: December 19th; Grant ID #1135459

March 4th start: Certified Passive House Consultant CPHC® Training (Phius)
April 8th start: Certified Passive House Consultant CPHC® Training (Phius)
May Date / MA Cohort Coming Soon
Grant deadline: 21 days before courses start date
Grant ID #1134101

Pro Tip: Submit your 2023 Express Grant application for the CPHC Training by December 10th and list January 1st as the course start date, and the end date 2 years after that. Then you can decide which CPHC course date to register for (since the application would have been submitted 21 days before the course start date).

January 17th start: Certified Passive House Designer (PHI) Training, Atlantic Cohort
Grant deadline: December 27th; Grant ID #1135246

February Date TBD: Embodied Carbon in Concrete and Wood
Grant deadline: January 18th; Grant ID #1148973

Express Grant applications can also be submitted for course(s) that are approved for the Express Program, even if they have not yet been scheduled. Please check with BE+ before submitting those applications so we can confirm if and when we will be offering those courses.

We want to hear from all levels of professionals across the industry: Which BE+ courses do you and/or staff at your firm want to take? Are there course topics missing that you would like to see us offer?

Review the Training Priority List and complete the Training Interest Form now to let us know which courses you and/or your firm are interested in taking, and reach out to BE+ if you need help completing an Express Grant application for those trainings. Also reach out to us if you want to talk about a more comprehensive education program for your employees.

Congratulations to the 2023 BE+ Green Building Showcase Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2023 BE+ Green Building Showcase Award Winners

Record crowd and award entries illuminate Massachusetts green building momentum

Over 275 people gathered in a raw space in the Amazon L4 Tower to celebrate groundbreaking progress transforming the built environment into healthy, sustainable, and regenerative spaces for all people to live, learn, work, and connect within. Hosted by WS Development, the event highlighted their exciting transformation of the Seaport neighborhood creating new public spaces and enriched pedestrian access to the waterfront.

The 2023 Green Building Showcase was bigger than the 2017 showcase which was cross-promoted with the national Greenbuild conference taking place in Boston, and drew an increase of nearly 50% in award entries over the previous year’s record. The competition was fierce and inspiring. The quality of project submissions demonstrates the accelerating pace of market transformation towards a sustainable and regenerative built environment, led by policy, practice, and shifting priorities.

The annual awards program is an incredible snapshot of the leading edge in green building practices. Judges from across the country selected the standout projects, while local judges chose a Change Agent of the Year recognizing someone making a significant positive impact on the environment, social equity, and the economy.

For the second year in a row, HMFH Architects won the prestigious Green Building of the Year award for a public school building. The Annie E. Fales Elementary School in Westborough is the first net-positive energy public school in Massachusetts.


Annie E. Fales Elementary School
Submitted by HMFH Architects


Nestled within the hillside, the new Fales Elementary School reflects its local ecology in a child-centric educational environment that promotes curiosity and hands-on learning. The design embraces this challenging sloped site as an opportunity to improve building performance and demonstrate environmental stewardship. The facility maintains a compact footprint comprised of two floors that enable natural light to reach all interior learning spaces and provide the roof area for solar. Design elements inspired by the school’s natural setting encourage students to actively engage with their surroundings and fosters appreciation for the environment.

Whimsical, storybook-style graphics depict the beloved Fales mascot, Annie the Hedgehog, as she travels through local ecosystems, encountering various native flora and fauna. These graphics captivate students’ imaginations, strengthen their connection to nature, and cultivate a lively and engaging educational environment. Light-filled interiors and thoughtful integration into the neighborhood establish Fales as a vibrant, climate-conscious place.
Academic spaces are organized into four distinct neighborhoods, each represented by a different local ecosystem—forest, meadow, marshland, and pond. Classrooms in each neighborhood feature clerestory windows shaped by the school’s sawtooth roof that direct daylight into the space and reinforce the strong connection to nature with striking views of the sky above. An undulating pattern of windows creates a playful and intimate scale for the young students and focused views of nature.

The building tells a compelling story while actively demonstrating the important connections buildings, specifically public schools play within a community while connecting to and integrating with the natural environment. The studies performed by the design team have made Fales capable of generating 11.6% more energy than required to operate the all-electric school. The design achieves this ambitious target by reducing energy use with high efficiency geothermal building systems and producing energy on-site with a 25,000 square foot rooftop solar array.

Here’s what the judges had to say: “This is a very strong example of holistic, integrated, thoughtful design. If school designers across the country emulated this approach, the world would be a better place. We especially appreciated the integrated approach to the design of the roof to accommodate both solar arrays and daylight; the biophilic approach to the building’s interaction with the site; and the ecologically rich storytelling. It’s great to see energy positive performance in a publicly funded school project. The focus on connecting kids to nature will reap huge benefits for the students and teachers. With nearly 62% of the occupied spaces receiving good daylight and 92% with quality views, the project shows a strong commitment to health and wellness for both the students and the teachers.


Shawme Lake Passive House
Submitted by Kaplan Thompson Architects


Our clients purchased a small but covetable lot hugging Shawme Lake and the Sandwich Heritage Museums and Gardens. They envisioned building a Passive House with modern appeal, but were faced with complex site restrictions and the historic district’s strict aesthetic guidelines for new construction.

We were asked to reconcile contradicting goals for both form and function by designing a residence that was classic yet contemporary, ambitious in performance yet challenged by its setting.

The property was the last in its neighborhood to be developed, a tight site flanked closely by neighbors, public conservation land to the west, the road to the south, and a wooded lake to the east. It’s triangular shape and sloping topography complicated options for the structure’s footprint, as did the requirement of a south-facing roofline to support a solar array. With consideration given to needs for space, privacy, and Passive-House potential, the home was divided into two angled masses: a trapezoid and an asymmetric pentagon.

To win approval by the historic committee, we visually regularized the irregularly-shaped structure by joining the geometries beneath a straight and sweeping roof plane. Two perpendicular gables disguise the many elevations and cut-ins beneath them and maintain simplicity of form. From the street, the home presents as a single-story residence with modest glazing, mirroring the context of surrounding houses.

With the business in the front settled, we adopted a party-in-the-back quality for the rest of the project. Large banks of high-performance glass run along the more private facades, opening views to the lake and accessing a network of covered and exposed outdoor spaces.

Passive House Certified and currently achieving Net Zero Energy on an annual basis, the project also stands to provide lasting comfort for occupants at a minimal cost and without the use of fossil fuels.

According to the judges, “This is a great example of how passive house excellence can be beautifully Modern even in a historic neighborhood with contextual constraints. We really like this as a model because it shows how a simple form, standard building science principles, and precise execution of construction details can produce quality and performance.


Boardwalk Campus
Submitted by Arrowstreet


Designed as the first net zero energy and water school in Massachusetts, the 175,000 SF Boardwalk Campus, opened in August 2022, serves as a new model for sustainable, healthy, and resilient schools for communities across the country. The building is home to two elementary schools and a preschool.

Consistent with the district’s school choice philosophy, every elementary school has its own character and focus. The planning and educational visioning focused on how to provide equity among the schools coupled with support for Special Education Services and maximizing shared spaces, such as cafeteria, gym, and STEAM labs.

The design serves the well-being of all occupants from the youngest learners to the greater community. Biophilic design elements include natural materials and colors, daylight, views, and graphics. Enhanced indoor air quality, acoustics, thermal comfort, universal design, and Red List Free, low-emitting materials are used throughout the interior further supporting well-being.

Located by Fort Pond Brook, the school design is carefully sited to minimize impact on the site and celebrate the ecosystem of the adjacent wetlands. An existing boardwalk was rebuilt to offer a more user-friendly experience with a new covered boardwalk, almost twice the original width, offering space for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

The boardwalk provides a vital connection across the site and a learning opportunity for students and the community. It is part of the site-wide learning trail with educational signage featuring sustainability, resilience, and wellness aspects of the site and building. This is paired with similar environmental graphics on the inside of the building. The district has a robust sustainability and climate curriculum and the graphic design team worked closely with the educators to develop the signage and digital interface to support their programs.

The jury commented, “loved the comprehensive sustainable considerations of the compact 3-story school, from net zero energy and water, to embodied carbon reductions, on-site batteries, and a passive house level of airtightness. This is a highly replicable model for low-carbon sustainable schools that also integrates resilience principles.


Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
Patient Care Pavilion

Submitted by HDR

Smith College Neilson Library

Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is located on a picturesque 225-acre campus in the Upper Connecticut River Valley in New Hampshire. The site is surrounded by the White Mountains to the north and the Connecticut River to the east. The new patient care pavilion anchors the north end of the existing structure while providing a fresh take on the campus vernacular. Its form, massing, and materiality are inspired by the local context, including sunlight between the trees, stone in the mountains, and the flow of local rivers and streams.

The five-story pavilion takes advantage of its elevated site and natural setting. The building’s curved form defines a welcoming arrival sequence, optimizing views to nature from the patient rooms. The V-shaped plan connects to existing buildings, while creating new usable spaces and exterior courtyards that serve as areas of respite. Inside, these new exterior spaces provide natural light and visual interest to public spaces and patient rooms.

The building is comprised of three components: base, patient pavilion, and connector to the existing structure. The base houses the main entrance and public amenities. Its materials–natural stone and glass–create a comfortable, bright, and cheerful environment extending the calm of the natural environment indoors. The patient pavilion is clad in a ribbed rain-screen panel system with window openings that create a dynamic pattern.

Interior materials were selected based on criteria including health, durability, and cleanability. The basis is a palette of neutral materials that remain for the life of the building, layered with warm bright accents in furniture, art, and wayfinding. Accents of reclaimed wood from local New England barns were used to highlight destination points and bring warmth to the space. Lighting and form were used to reinforce wayfinding, direct views to the outside, and support circadian rhythm to promote healing.

The judges commented, This project won in the category of Health and Wellness because it is designed to support the mental and physical health of all building occupants including staff, patients, and visitors. Specific strategies of note are the creation of staff respite spaces, the adaptability of ventilation and temperature in the patient rooms, the integration of spaces to meet the needs of families that travel great distances for healthcare, and integration of WELL building features. While the judges found the project impressive, we were concerned that there was not more transparency regarding the materials that will be used beyond some general statements that materials selections are based on “health, durability and cleanability.


E+ Highland
Submitted by Studio G Architects

Frost Terrace Affordable Housing

E+ Highland will be built on city-owned land after an intensive neighborhood community process set the development goals, selected the team and reviewed the design. It responds to Highland Park neighborhood’s goals to prevent displacement, provide current neighborhood residents a homeownership path, and be Boston’s most sustainable neighborhood.

To prevent displacement of current residents and support their economic mobility, E+ Highland is 100% affordable: all 23 units at 30 to 60% AMI in a limited equity co-op. Low-income residents build financial equity with no money down while affordability is maintained for future residents.

The façade features a masonry and wood-like material palette reflecting the surrounding homes. A dramatic canopy shaped for PV array welcomes residents and visitors. Community amenities include a gallery/gathering space and adjacent patio for neighbors and residents to share and a public path and stair that links neighbors up and down Fort Hill to area parks and public transit.

Daylit units feature large operable windows and red-list free finishes selected for occupant well-being, beauty, and durability. All-electric systems with energy recovery ventilation provides a healthy indoor environment, removing pollutants and irritants.

Designed to achieve net positive energy, LEED Platinum, Phius, and ILFI Zero Energy Certification, E+ Highland will provide resilient, healthy, and affordable family housing.

Technical advancements to meet energy-positive and resiliency goals include airtight passive building techniques, optimizing window/wall ratio, and targeting a thermal-bridge-free enclosure. The hot water system uses CO2 refrigerant with zero Ozone Depletion Potential.

Renewable energy is maximized with a high efficiency rooftop PV wave rack system. Residents will have minimal utility costs and maintain comfort for 5+ days in a power outage.

The judges highlighted, “Not only are 100% of the units affordable, aiming to prevent displacement and supporting upward economic mobility in the neighborhood, but the project is also designed with ambitious sustainability goals – to achieve net positive energy, utilize energy efficient and resilient building components and systems, and materials that address the negative impacts buildings can have on the health of their occupants and the planet.


Northland Newton Site Design
Submitted by Stantec Architecture

Colby College Harold Alfond Athletics & Rec Center

Northland Newton Development is an innovative national model of sustainability, affordable housing, transit demand management, historic preservation, open space, master planning, and community amenities. This 22-acre mixed-use development introduces 10 acres of public open space and parks and 1.5 acres of green roofs and amenity decks; transforming a classic New England strip mall and its associated sea of parking into a lively neighborhood interconnected with open green spaces that will serve residents and employees living and working in the neighborhood, as well as visitors from the surrounding area.

Inviting plazas emerge from lush, planted areas, as if they had always been there. The design for each space was inspired by historic and natural site features and together creates a vibrant, desirable, and walkable community. A nuanced yet cohesive native planting palette provides visual interest seasonally as well as significantly improving the existing ecology and contribute to the regional ecosystem.

The judges commented, This project has been awarded the top honor in the Site and Landscape category for its unwavering commitment to design excellence, seamlessly bridging the worlds of architecture and nature to foster genuine ecological harmony, all while fostering substantial positive social and environmental benefits. A cornerstone of this project’s success lies in its key strategies, which encompass the careful design and masterful implementation of green roofs, amenity decks, and plazas. These elements have been meticulously crafted to not only nurture a sense of community but also to pay tribute to the site’s rich historical and natural heritage. This thoughtful choice is poised to yield a healthier and safer space, ensuring the well-being of both present and future generations.


Access to Live Waste Intelligence
Submitted by Spare-it

Circling Back After Getting the Plaque

It is impossible to change something you don’t measure and the only waste data we have today is a mix of dumpster data and manual waste audits.

The Spare-it and Boston University sustainability teams partnered to deploy the Spare-it waste intelligence platform in the new CCDS.

For the first time, the platform enables access to bin quantitative and qualitative at scale. All bins are weighted in real time, assessed for contamination by stream, and geolocalized.

Together Spare-it and BU are closing the loop, displaying the data to students and faculties to help them improve sourcing and sorting toward True Zero Certification.

The judges said Spare-it makes it easy to understand and track waste without significant cost or technology add. This will essentially help lower waste generated, understand contamination and transition to a more circular economy.


Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library Renovation
Submitted by Utile, Inc.

808 Memorial Drive

The Roxbury Branch of the Boston Public Library is located in Nubian Square in the heart of Boston’s historic Black community. Designed in 1978 by Kallmann and McKinnell Architects, the original Brutalist building was disconnected from its surroundings and had outdated systems and building envelope. The 27,000 square foot renovation has four primary design goals driven by community input: capture the same sense of awe and wonder that comes from reading a book; provide a welcoming space for connecting to community; expand the library as a center of knowledge production with innovative programming; and re-align the building to meet 21st century sustainability goals.

The new entrance and public plaza strengthen the library’s connection to Nubian Square. A new timber curtain wall replacing the original glass block outwardly displays the vibrant programming of the library while providing a much-needed visual connection to the sidewalk, trees, and sky for patrons. The new facade brings daylight deep into the heart of the library while minimizing solar gains.

The renovation builds on the branch’s role as a circulating neighborhood library and a vital resource for computer and internet access. The new African-American collection is prominently located at the front door overlooking Nubian Square. The Nutrition Lab incorporates residential appliances for cooking demonstrations and nutrition instruction, and the Learning Lab is a flexible room that converts to a makerspace. Warm wood accents and furnishings contribute to a monumental but inviting civic space.

The renovation transforms one of Boston’s most energy-intensive branches to one of its most efficient with new glazing, insulation, and roofing while preserving the exposed exterior concrete structure of the 1970s design. An EUI reduction of 40% compared to pre-renovation also brings a dramatic increase in the comfort of the space with new HVAC systems, abundant natural light, and sophisticated lighting controls.

According to the judges, “The Boston Public Library, Roxbury Branch is a beautiful example of transforming Brutalist architecture into a healthy, biophilic, welcoming, and high-performing space, while respecting the original design and working closely with the community to include their perspective on the form and function. The new, bigger windows, better envelope and celebrated natural materials transforms the building into a welcoming, comfortable and engaging community asset.


A Path to Net Zero
Submitted by Highland Park Technologies

Mass Timber for Mass Workers - Lucey Building

Highland Park Technologies is a grant-funded R+D company working on low carbon affordable approaches for Deep Energy Retrofits. Founded around the 2021 Triple Decker Challenge – MassCEC’s open invitation to harness building energy retrofit expertise to identify scalable strategies for electrification – HP Tech is developing a bio-based retrofit cladding system with superior structural, thermal, and moisture performance. The wood fiber panel and insulated mounting system offer an alternative to the foam-based cladding products currently available. The panels and mounting system are intended for wood framed multifamily buildings fewer than five stories.

Residential and commercial buildings are responsible for 40% of the energy consumed in the United States, and roughly a third of the nation’s spent electricity. Electric heating and cooling promise a cleaner power source, but will strain the nation’s grid if not paired with a dramatic reduction of energy consumption. Older buildings can facilitate considerable wasted energy through air leakage and ineffective insulation of exterior walls. To reduce building energy consumption and meet national climate goals, innovative, cost‐effective, recladding technologies must be deployed on existing structures.

HP Tech has settled on wood fiber board as the optimal material for insulated cladding. In the US, nearly all prefabricated panelized products derive their insulating value from foam, which is neither good for long term health nor low in embodied carbon. Europe has been using wood fiber as loose insulation and board for decades. In addition to the positive impact on human health, wood fiber is recyclable, easy to customize, and can be the final finished surface on a building, with infinite color and pattern potential.

HP Tech’s workflow starts with a 3D scan using digital fabrication to drive off-site workflow. The end result is a kit of easy to install parts that allows a small multi-family to be reclad in a week. The assembly targets R15-20, and is aiming for an installed cost of $10-20/sf.

Here is what the judges had to say: Highland Park Technologies developed a wood fiber panel as an alternative to petrochemical-intensive retrofit cladding. The panels offer a low-carbon solution for deep multifamily retrofits. Key attributes that make this entry a winner include 3D scans to collect existing data, ease of installation, replicability/affordability, lightweight, applicable to low-income housing, and customized for a variety of design styles.


Kendall Square Workspace
Submitted by Utile, Inc.

Mass Timber for Mass Workers - Lucey Building

Located in the heart of Kendall Square, this project includes amenities from cafes to event spaces, workspace, and support areas. Workspace comprises 70% of the building, while two floors each dedicated to event and food spaces are located at the bottom and top of the tower, connecting co-workers across departments with food and special events.

The workspace floors offer various layouts suited to different working styles. Adjacent floors are paired with interconnecting stairs to allow team sizes to flex and grow over multiple floors. Paired floors explore different planning strategies for meeting room locations, support spaces, and offices, while always prioritizing natural daylight for the open workspace. The evolution of technology became the primary narrative with subtopics selected for floor pairings. These became the inspirations for material selections, articulation of design elements, and the look and feel of the various floors. This approach was instrumental in achieving a variety of aesthetic outcomes and dynamic surroundings for the various teams that occupy the floors.

The food floors emphasize healthy eating and nutrition, with open kitchens, cooking classes, and a warm environment that promotes social interaction as users craft their own meal experiences. Anchored by two large meeting spaces serving external (broadcasts, galas, etc), and internal engagements (workshops, and training), the event floor features sweeping views of the Boston region. Moveable furniture, dynamic signage, and intentional use of color allow for the space to be fully flexible to meet the needs of any given presentation.

Elements consistent throughout the tower include high-performing and energy efficient building systems, finely tuned acoustics, bold and playful use of colors, a balance of hard and soft materials, and the use of biophilia to achieve physical comfort and wellness all for the benefit of the end users.

The Judges weighed in, This is an outstanding workplace! We were impressed with the project’s contribution to the Kendall Square community, providing high quality public space and public events. We also appreciated the many project design features that promote biophilia, comfort, and well-being. The landlord and tenant seem to have a positive collaboration, which is refreshing to see.


Analyzing Construction Data to Develop Sustainable Reporting Framework
Submitted by Drushti Shah

Eco Homes Highland Park

The judges commented We were very impressed with the amount of data that had to be identified and analyzed; it was a tremendous undertaking.

As noted in the submission addressing the impact of the construction industry is critical in the fight against climate change. The data analysis and the development of a Sustainability Reporting Framework enables better and more accessible management of the available data. Additionally, the reporting framework supports a dashboard interface for increased transparency, ongoing analysis and feedback and opportunities for comparisons which can help inform improvements within the industry.

The development of this reporting framework will support the construction industry in identifying critical areas on which to focus for mitigating environmental impact.


140 Kendrick
Submitted by Stantec Architecture

People's Choice - 10 Fan Pier / MassMutual

The first net-zero, carbon-neutral conversion of an existing building of this scale in Massachusetts.


Jane Carbone

Congratulations to Jane Carbone, recently retired as the Director of Development at Homeowners Rehab Inc., for her powerful legacy in the green building world.

According to her nominator, “Jane not only pushed the envelope when it came to new construction, she also cared deeply for renovating to a high-efficiency standard and working with property management to establish a green spec for unit turnover and maintenance. Jane went further than providing a healthy living environment and educated residents on materials and equipment to get the most from these items. Jane spent her career building and maintaining affordable housing to the highest standards of design and sustainability.

Experience our 2023 Green Building Showcase as a Digital Gallery

Thank you to our Amazing Judges!

Kjell Anderson

Kjell Anderson

AIA, FAIA, LEED Fellow Principal

Director of Sustainable Design | LMN Architects

Julie Hendricks

Julie Hendricks

LEED Fellow


Senior Sustainability Manager | JLL

Maria Perez

Maria Perez


Sustainable Design Director | Regional Leader | Climate Action + Sustainability | Gensler

Kira Gould

Kira Gould



Principal/Founder |
Kira Gould CONNECT

Kim Shinn

Kim Shinn


Senior Sustainability Wizard | TLC Engineering Solutions

Margaret Montgomery

Margaret Montgomery



Principal | Global Sustainability Leader | NBBJ


Monica L. Nakielski

Monica L. Nakielski


ESG and Sustainability Advisor


Cedra Goldman

Cedra Goldman

Licensed Architect


Managing Principal of The Manya Group |
Dr PH Candidate | Colorado School of Public Health


Clark Brockman

Clark Brockman

AIA, LEED Fellow

Principal Emeritus | SERA Architects

Pauline Souza

Pauline Souza



Director of Sustainability and Lead of the K-12 Community Studio |
The WRNS Studio

Kavita Karmarkar

Kavita Karmarkar



Sustainability Manager | Webcor Builders


Indu Chakravarthy

Indu Chakravarthy


Senior Job Captain | Associate | RMW Architecture & Interiors


Thank you to our Event Sponsors!

2022 Green Building Showcase Sponsors

Celebrating Two Years of Transformative Education

Celebrating Two Years of Transformative Education

We are pleased to announce that our 5th, 2-year, Workforce Training Fund General Program Grant was completed in July of 2023. DiMella Shaffer, Leers Weinzapfel Associates, and BR+A Consulting Engineers collectively trained over 200 individuals across topics of green building rating systems, sustainability technical skills, software tools, and leadership skills.

These firms filled over 750 seats in a curriculum of 50 courses over a collective 500+ instruction hours. Some of these courses ran more than once, and ultimately the 23 instructors involved in this grant led a total of 90 training sessions.

Through the General Grant program, our firm completed energy modeling and high-performance envelope training which allowed our staff to provide more expert consulting services on projects. This training program included newly hired staff and allowed us to expand our in-house energy analysis team by 36%. – BR+A Consulting Engineers

The consortium firms were able to celebrate many achievements at the end of their grant period. A handful of those are listed below:

• 36% growth in number of energy team members on staff
• 85% of projects completed high-performance envelope analysis
• 24% increase in revenue from existing clients and
• 27% increase in gross annual revenue
• 19% increase in the number of proposals converted into awarded contracts
• Overall employee understanding of sustainable design principles has deepened, allowing for more effective communication with specialty consultants

Over the course of the 2-year grant period we have been able to provide our staff access to educational courses to help further their careers and elevate the expertise which we put to use on projects. Our employees are now able to work more effectively to deliver and improve design outcomes for our existing and new clients. – DiMella Shaffer

During our grant period, Massachusetts and local municipalities have adopted significantly more stringent building energy codes. The knowledge and technical skills provided by the General Program grant have prepared our employees to meet this rising challenge. – Leers Weinzapfel Associates

We applaud DiMella Shaffer, Leers Weinzapfel Associates, and BR+A for their immense effort to provide their staff with skills and tools needed to excel on sustainable building projects over the past two years, and can’t wait to see the results of their hard work pay off on the projects they take part in going forward. BE+ would also like to thank all of the instructors we partnered with who provided hours upon hours of high quality, informative, and engaging training.

Built Environment Plus (BE+) manages grants through Commonwealth Corporation’s Workforce Training Fund General Grant Program to improve the continuing education opportunities available to building industry professionals. The General Grant Program provides firms the opportunity to take up to $200,000 worth of training over a two year period.

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. If you are interested in being considered for a future General Grant, reach out to BE+ to learn more!

Celebrating Two Years of Transformative Education

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.