Our 2021 Green Building Showcase Winners!

Our 2021 Green Building Showcase Winners!

The Wait was Worth It!

After two long years apart, the Built Environment Plus community was able to reunite for the 2021 Green Building Showcase. This community works so hard to advance sustainable and regenerative design, construction, and operation of the built environment throughout the year, and we are so grateful to have been able to celebrate industry success and innovation.  

At GBS 2021, community members celebrated the best efforts, designs, and products in the Commonwealth. 100+ people celebrated 50+ projects that all embraced the spirit of sustainable design.

Attendees included architects, engineers, contractors, developers, owners, facility managers, building users, lenders, suppliers – everyone who plays a role in designing, operating, and constructing the built environment. We here at Built Environment Plus are so appreciative to the green building community for coming out and celebrating with us. 

This year brought in a new leadership award to recognize someone who has made a significant positive impact on the environment, social equity, and economy. Congratulations to our first Change Agent of the Year, Jacob Knowles of BR+A, and in addition as awarded by the judges, our first Emerging Change Agent of the Year, Kiersten Washle of CMTA! Jacob is an active member of the BE+ community and a key part of our roundtables, and Kiersten is the leader of our Emerging Professionals group.


Harvard University Science and Engineering Complex
Submitted by Behnisch Architekten & Harvard University

Setting a new paradigm for scholarship in the 21st century and beyond, Harvard’s Science and Engineering Complex (SEC) is designed to inspire learning and scientific discovery while showcasing sustainability. The building weaves together a number of threads of contemporary life, which will influence current and future generations of researchers: engineering’s influence on the exploration and resolution of some of the world’s most pressing problems, the importance of cross-disciplinary efforts to achieve major scientific breakthroughs, and genuine leadership in sustainable design and urban development. The building’s adaptable, innovative environments support the school’s commitment to cutting-edge academic collaboration, create vibrant public spaces at a variety of scales, and set a distinctive architectural tone for the Allston campus.

The eight-level, 544,000-square-foot building is organized into three four-story volumes connected by two glazed, multi-story atria that provide light-filled social hubs for faculty and students. The upper stories are clad in a facade whose layered design celebrates and calibrates the scale of the large volumes that comprise the research activities of the building, creates an identity for the complex, and plays a crucial role in the efficient energy performance of the building as well as occupant comfort.

Sustainability and performance are high priorities for Harvard. The SEC has been certified LEED Platinum. Complementing energy-conscious HVAC and lighting systems and vegetated roof terraces, the facade balances technical and aesthetic goals. Four principal facade types are used at the building, including the world’s first hydroformed stainless-steel screen, which wraps the laboratory portion of the structure. It is dimensioned to shield the interior from solar heat gain during warmer months while admitting beneficial sun during the winter, reducing cooling and heating loads. The screen reflects daylight towards the interior while maintaining large view apertures. Glazed facade sections feature exterior sun-shades and operable windows that support automated natural ventilation.


The Harvey

Submitted by CBT

The Harvey is a new six-story, 177-unit residential building in the famed Hood Park in the Boston neighborhood of Charlestown. The project represents an important phase in Hood Park’s continuing evolution from its origins as an industrial plant to a state-of-the-art office/research park, and now into a modern and dynamic mixed-use development. The highly sustainable building is designed to complement the existing buildings in Hood Park and give life to the emerging Rutherford Avenue corridor with 10,500 square feet of new retail space.

The retail venues serve the larger Charlestown community, as well as the businesses throughout Hood Park. CBT collaborated with New Ecology (a firm working to bring the benefits of sustainable development to the community level, with a concerted emphasis on underserved populations) to develop a design that has achieved LEED Platinum certification under the LEED for Homes and Multifamily Mid-Rise program. The highly sustainable Harvey is a bold and inviting gateway into this vibrant and revitalized industrial neighborhood.

Category Leader Awards


Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center
Submitted by Payette

Conceived as an “inside–out” building, the new Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center revolves around a vibrant four-story gathering space that has a small footprint, but a large building impact. Despite its location tucked away in the corner of an existing courtyard, the building provides robust spaces for science and a welcoming campus destination. Experienced as a contextually appropriate three-story building from campus, much of the building’s program is concealed from view using sunken courtyards to maximize daylight and internal visual connections.

Replacing an inefficient biology building the project resulted in a 40% reduction in campus carbon emission. A multi-valent approach decoupling ventilation from conditioning, utilizing filtered fume hoods, air quality monitoring, and a high-performance mechanical system with enthalpy heat recovery resulted in a 74% reduction in energy usage from a typical lab building. The energy load reduction, also contributed to a 56% reduction in water usage for the cooling tower, and a 41% reduction in building water usage and 76% reduction in stormwater run-off from the pre-project conditions and providing vegetated areas for 30% of the building footprint.

The project achieved a Bird Safety Avoidance Index of over 75 by limiting glazing to 24%, utilizing a custom frit and careful location of plantings. The envelope performance also focused on minimizing thermal bridging and was studied for passive survivability and interior conditions for 72 hours in the event of power loss. Occupant health and comfort was integrated throughout the design utilizing healthier materials that minimized the usage of flame retardants, anti-microbials, highly fluorinated chemicals and vinyl, while incorporating natural ventilation in classrooms and offices and daylight throughout the building.

Consciously subtle in its portrayal of sustainability, this LEED Platinum building has set the bar for sustainable building, catapulting the College toward the President’s pledge of carbon neutrality by 2035.


The Swift Factory
Submitted by Bruner/Cott Architects

In Northeast Hartford, the former Swift Gold Leaf Factory is reimagined into a community venue generating opportunities for job creation and training, educating youth, improving resident health, and spurring local economic growth.

Once the economic heart of its neighborhood, the Swift Factory closed in 2005, leading to decades of systemic challenges that drove unemployment to 25%, left nearly half the population living below the poverty line, and lead to the area’s designation as an HUD Promise Zone in 2015.

The redevelopment of the Swift Factory revitalizes an existing community asset to better serve its residents through mission- and community-driven adaptive reuse of the site’s six historic factory buildings and two homes. The Swift factory’s new uses address the economic, social, cultural, and environmental conditions of the neighborhood.


Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center

Submitted by Bruner/Cott Architects

The Holyoke Center at Harvard has undergone a transformation of its ground floor arcade, public common spaces, and its student collaboration spaces to become the new Richard A. & Susan F. Smith Campus Center. The 10-story building, designed by Josep Lluis Sert and orginally opened in 1965, occupies a full city block in the heart of Harvard Square. A much-needed modernization and reorganization of uses brought formerly private office spaces into the public sphere and enhanced already public areas with a variety of collaborative and recreational spaces. The renovation was a major milestone of Harvard’s ongoing ‘Common Spaces’ initiative, which promotes the creation of physical spaces and intentional programming for fostering intellectual, cultural, and social experiences on campus.


Boston Medical Center Rooftop Farm

Submitted by Recover Green Roofs

In 2017, Recover installed a rooftop farm atop Boston Medical Center. The farm, which produces around 5,000lbs of food a year, serves the patients and staff of the hospital with fresh food, in addition to absorbing stormwater and reducing the building’s carbon footprint. Rather than freighting food in, BMC may now produce food at a large enough scale to regularly provide its residents with the freshest of vegetables and greens, which they can watch being wheeled directly from the farm to the hospital’s kitchens, rather than going through multiple stages of transport across state lines. The close proximity and regenerative practices of the farm (managed by Lindsay Allen) decrease the loss of nutrients and potential for contamination associated with shipping produce to the hospital. Additionally, any extra food produced in a week goes to the hospital’s Preventative Food Pantry, which serves local city residents who are struggling with hunger and/or otherwise lack access to fresh produce.


Ora Seaport
Submitted by Arrowstreet Architecture & Design

Ora Seaport marks a new gateway development with direct access to the Silverline Way bus stop, the Boston Harbor as well as a popular performance pavilion. This mixed-use development is comprised of two buildings that integrate apartments, boutique hotel restaurants, and retail shops with a substantial public realm. The site was designed with a focus on resiliency: integrating creative ways to protect the buildings from sea level rise while maintaining strong pedestrian connections between the interior spaces and the street.

A primary focus of this development was to incorporate community-oriented urban design that also address the resiliency challenges. The elevated terrace is comprised of dining and lounge areas and is surrounded by private patios. The roof deck contains decorative screens, pool, cabanas, fireplace, media walls, grills, wet bar, and an extensive green roof planting system to absorb rainwater. The streetscape incorporates the Seaport Square design aesthetic and consists of permeable paving, rain gardens, industrial-inspired aged steel components, and ample plantings. The architecture and landscape create a sequence of interwoven public spaces that maximize ocean views while providing a superior level of protection from rising tides and storm surges. The walls on the plaza also double as outdoor seating and integrate into the raised entry areas and seamlessly raise the ground floor’s elevation to further protect it from flooding. These passive systems eliminate the need for more traditional deployable flood barriers around the building.


69 A Street
Submitted by Commodore Builders

We renovated and expanded an existing rivet factory in South Boston at 69 A Street. The project converted the existing three-story building into a five-story office and retail space using CLT planks supported by glulam columns and beams. The lightweight and sustainable CLT design allowed for the addition of two levels without the need for substantial reinforcement of the existing structure. It was also a clear choice for a highly constricted urban area with absolutely no laydown and delivery spaces. By creating a detailed and efficient schedule, we were able to move planks directly from the delivery truck into their appropriate location within the building. The choice in materials helped expedite the construction process, and the exposed wood CLT ceilings and glulam complemented the aesthetic of the existing wood features of the structure.


Resilient Hub
Submitted by Team Harvard GSD

In this era of Anthropocene, buildings will be subjected to rising temperatures and increased risk of natural disasters. In addition, a growing population and strong urbanization trend will increase the density of our cities. These environmental changes will have a considerable effect on future building performance. ResilientHub, situated in the Seaport District of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, is a future-ready building that maintains the highest energy efficiency and occupant comfort level possible throughout its lifetime.

The proposed building design accommodates thirteen floors office space, in addition to retail, restaurants, a daycare center for children of office employees, and underground parking on the lower floors. The office floors are expected to cater to a diverse range of corporate users from the life sciences, technology and financial sector. Adaptable ETFE pillow façades, that feature a novel tunable material developed at the GSD, optimize solar heat gain and daylight access in response to daily and seasonal weather changes, and future global warming and urbanization. A solar chimney, placed prominently at its most optimal position for solar heat gain, provides buoyancy-driven natural ventilation and significantly lowers the building’s cooling loads with future rising temperatures. A series of indoor atria supply the office spaces with a healthy level of natural daylight and provide a space for informal social interaction. Situated in a flood zone, the building employs building and landscape-integrated strategies to mitigate flood levels and delay, resist and discharge flood water. The innovative, high-performance design solutions ResilientHub employs are directly applicable to the vast majority of the future global building stock that will be affected by the same environmental changes.

National Grid/Eversource Energy Optimization Award

Lowell Justice Center
Submitted by The Green Engineer

Located within the Lowell National Historic Park, the Lowell Justice Center forms the cornerstone of Lowell’s Hamilton Canal District development master plan. The project originally began with a certifiable building study and was the largest of three pilot studies for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM)s ZNE initiatives. A goal in the design of this 265,000 SF courthouse was to maximize energy efficiency. Building systems and controls, glazing, and highly insulated walls are among many of the design features specified to achieve performance targets 40% better than code and its LEED Platinum certification. The building contains a chilled beam HVAC system, photovoltaic panels, and a sophisticated building envelope as well as abundant natural light throughout. The Center was designed in orientation to the site, with many special landscaping features incorporated on the former brownfield site, such as the use of native plants requiring no irrigation and a post-development site runoff reduction of 40%. Approximately 65% of the occupied floor area offers direct views to the outdoors. Water use reduction is 35% and energy use savings are approximately 58%. The Lowell Justice Center is the first courthouse in Massachusetts and first state courthouse in the country to achieve LEED Platinum certification.

Presented by:

Denise Rouleau, Lead Program Manager, National Grid 

Michael Loughlin, Program Manager, Eversource


Emerson College – The Little Building
Submitted by Elkus Manfredi Architects

The preservation and adaptive reuse of the Little Building, in spite of serious structural challenges that could have led to its demolition, demonstrate the value of inventing creative solutions that reduce both waste and the introduction of new embodied carbon, mitigating the environmental cost of construction — and how sustainability and preservation objectives can work in concert to enhance our built environment.

The reinvigorated Little Building is a uniquely creative 21st-century response to complex preservation challenges. The project addresses the building’s failing façade and recaptures its modern Renaissance Gothic glory, increases the bed count and improves student life spaces, and implements current life safety codes — all while respecting the historic fabric, upholding an aggressive schedule, and maintaining a reasonable budget.

The novel strategies employed in the preservation of its façade made the project viable and involved the utilization of aerospace laser scanning technology, digital modeling of complex Gothic geometries, and direct designer-to-fabricator communication of each component. Following Emerson’s acquisition of the building, existing façade failures were found to be far worse than imagined: not only had water infiltration irreparably damaged the cast stone, it had also begun to corrode the steel, compromising structural integrity. The design team’s hybrid strategy combines established techniques for conservation of the lower levels and replacement in kind of the upper levels’ cast stone, guided by the physical evidence — via digital scanning — of the extant pieces.

The team’s post-completion study quantifies the environmental impact of saving as much of the steel superstructure and façade as possible, versus simply demolishing and building new, demonstrating the value of this effort and of considering embodied carbon in the design of our build environment.

Experience our 2021 Green Building Showcase as a Digital Gallery

Thank you to our Amazing Judges!

Betsy del Monte

Betsy del Monte

FAIA, LEED BD+C Architect & Consultant, CameronMacallister Adjunct Professor, SMU Lyle School of Engineering

Health & Wellness | Sustainable Construction Innovation

Debra Guenther

Debra Guenther

FASLA Design Partner, Mithun

Site & Landscape

Lisa Matthiessen

Lisa Matthiessen

FAIA, LEED Fellow Industry Expert, World Wide Sustainability, Amazon

Health & Wellness | Sustainable Building Operations

Z Smith

Z Smith

FAIA, LEED Fellow, WELL AP, Fitwel & Living Building Ambassador Principal, EskewDumezRipple


Energy & Water Efficiency | Site


Kimberly Lewis

Kimberly Lewis

Chief Equity Officer at Havenz Network. Co-Chair; Health Equity Advisory, IWBI

Equity & Inclusion

Julia Rodgers

Julia Rodgers

Global Operations, FCS, Facebook


Carbon & Energy | Sustainable Building Operations


Mary Ann Lazarus

Mary Ann Lazarus

FAIA LEED Fellow Architect and Consultant, CameronMacAllister Sustainability Program Coordinator, University College Washington University in St. Louis


Green Building of the Year | Change Agent


Josh Radoff

Josh Radoff

Renewable & Sustainable Energy Specialization Lead, Masters of the Environment Program, University of Colorado Boulder


Green Building of the Year | Green Home of the Year


Alex Muller

Alex Muller

Director of Collaborative Impact, mindfulMATERIALS

Health & Wellness | Sustainable Construction Innovation

Pauline Souza

Pauline Souza

Partner, K-12 sector lead and the Director of Sustainability at WRNS Studio


Green Building of the Year | Equity & Inclusion


Patrick Thibaudeau

Patrick Thibaudeau

LEED Fellow, ILFI Principal Sustainability Officer, JLG Architects


Green Building of the Year | Change Agent


Nathan Kipnis

Nathan Kipnis

FAIA Kipnis Architecture + Planning


Green Building of the Year | Green Home of the Year


Patty Rose

Patty Rose

Executive Director, Greenspace NCR, Inc.

Green Home of the Year | Equity & Inclusion

Bonny Bentzin

Bonny Bentzin

Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer, University of California, Los Angeles


Site & Landscape | Sustainable Building Operations


Thank you to our Event Sponsors!

Charles River Speedway anchors the BE+ 2021 Green Building Showcase

Charles River Speedway anchors the BE+ 2021 Green Building Showcase

The 2021 Green Building Showcase is set to return to Boston on October 21st at the revitalized Charles River Speedway—a landmark example of adaptive reuse and historic preservation. It’s not too late to buy your tickets to join the leading architects, engineers, contractors, developers, owners, facility managers, manufacturers and more pushing the envelope for sustainable and regenerative design, construction and operations of the built environment.

The following overview of the project was provided by Bruner/Cott Architects.

Charles River Speedway

The Charles River Speedway is a dynamic, transformative reuse project that combines historic preservation and forward-thinking sustainable design to reposition a 19th-century racetrack and police station into a vibrant community asset and new gateway to the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston.

The Speedway was originally constructed in 1899 by the Metropolitan Park Commission as a headquarters to support a new parkway along the Charles River, a park that turned a stretch of tidal mudflats into an interconnected series of public parks. This development included a mile-long horse and bicycle racetrack, which became one of the city’s most popular gathering areas. In later years, the facility housed the now-defunct Metropolitan District Commission Police. Many of the original horse stables were extended and converted into vehicular garages to support the agency. Hidden in plain sight along Soldier’s Field Road, the facility had been largely abandoned since 2005. Portions of the buildings had begun to decay, and one section suffered a fire.

credit: Department of Conservation & Recreation

The complex, owned by the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Boston Historic Landmark. An irregular roofline connects six shingle-style buildings, creating a single-story courtyard. The arched gable entrances, porches, double hung windows and elaborate wood trim create an overall composition characteristic of William D. Austin’s architectural work for the Metropolitan Park Commission. Through the state’s Historic Curatorship Program, the DCR created a long-term lease for not-for-profit developer, Architectural Heritage Foundation (AHF) to rehabilitate and manage the historic property. 

Bruner/Cott worked alongside AHF to revitalize and preserve the complex, which now supports a variety of commercial uses. Tenants include small retail shops and maker spaces, shared offices, a restaurant, café, a publicly accessible community courtyard, and anchor tenant Notch Brewing.

credit: Bruner/Cott Architects

credit: The Speedway

credit: Department of Conservation & Recreation

credit: Department of Conservation & Recreation

The project’s preservation approach included:

  • Removal of piecemeal garage extensions at historic stable frontages and the reconstruction of lost features including wooden carriage access, sliding barn doors, and windows. 
  • A new, wooden ramp unifies original building entrances at the same grade and doubles as a stage for outdoor performances. 
  • Damaged interior plaster was removed to add insulation. 
  • Fieldstone foundations were reinforced with concrete and repointed. 
  • Stables and a 1940 concrete garage were fitted with recessive glazed fronts and overhead doors that connect them to the upper courtyard. 

Sustainable design strategies employed include:

  • A 100% electric mechanical system, which will become carbon-free as Boston actively decarbonizes its electric supply. The team approached the mechanical design with heat pumps, which reduced the amount of ductwork and piping needed as compared to an air system.
  • The envelopes leverage the low cost and low carbon of cellulose, while including new detailing to promote drying of the roof and wall sheathing and match the historic profiles of the existing buildings. This required development of a ventilation system under the sheathing of the roof. The new cladding system incorporated a new drainage plane to create a vapor open wall assembly, and protect the new cedar shingles by promoting drying throughout the year. 
  • The site now includes a complex, sub-surface stormwater recharge system to divert runoff from the adjacent Charles River. 
  • The basement and slab design implements robust barrier strategies at the building’s foundation to prevent ground contamination of VOCs leftover from previous uses from entering interior spaces. This included sheet barriers at slabs, clear sealing systems at historic fieldstone foundations so they could remain exposed, and future sub-slab ventilation systems, should they be needed to remove contaminants in the future.

credit: Bruner/Cott Architects

Welcome Summer 2021 Interns!

Join us in welcoming our Summer 2021 intern team! We are excited to have them with us to help drive forward our mission. With them joining, there is such great momentum moving us into this summer, and we can’t wait to see how much we get accomplished together. We are so grateful to have them, and wish them a warm welcome to this community!

Erika Yao

Hello! I am excited to join Ann, Ethan, and Meredith in their mission to drive sustainable and regenerative design within the built environment. I graduated last year from the University of Connecticut with my Bachelor’s in Environmental Engineering, and recently finished my first year of the Sustainable Building Systems Master’s program at Northeastern University. I am passionate about sustainable design and look forward to being more involved in the community surrounding green building.

Christian Rudder

Hi, my name is Christian; I’m thankful to be a part of the mission that’s playing a big role in making our community’s environment healthier and more sustainable. I’m currently a freshman computer science major at MassBay Community College looking to transfer into a 4-year college to get my bachelor’s and hopefully pursue my master’s. I’m eager to jump into the world of green buildings and utilize my talents to help push the future of sustainable and regenerative design, construction, and operations of the built environment.

Elizabeth Newton

Hi! My name is Elizabeth, I’m excited to be working with Built Environment Plus in such an important field to push sustainable design further ahead. I graduated in May from Clarkson University with my Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering and will be continuing on to obtain my Master’s in Sustainable Building Systems from Northeastern University starting this fall. I’m excited to gain some experience in the industry and apply it to my education later. I’m eager to see all my future opportunities within Built Environment Plus throughout this summer.

Melissa Stok

Hi! My name is Melissa Stok and I am thrilled to be joining Built Environment Plus this summer to learn about and work towards sustainability in the built environment. I am a current undergraduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and am hoping to minor in Sustainability or Energy Studies. I was introduced to sustainable design and construction last summer through a project that I worked on and immediately found a passion for this work which I will get to delve deeper into over the course of the next few months!

Congratulations to the First Ever Graduates of the BE+ Green Building Leadership Institute!

The Green Building Leadership Institute – Emerging Professionals Certificate Program is a self-paced program that allows emerging professionals and students to foster their sustainable building knowledge leadership skills, community engagement, and professional brand as the next generation of professionals within the built environment.

The program contains four credit categories; Accreditations/Certifications, Chapter Engagement, Community Involvement, and Leadership Development; each of which has a designated number of points that must be achieved to earn a certificate of completion. Participants complete the program once they reach 100 points, which is no easy feat.

The following nine participants recently earned these 100 points and graduated from the program. Many of them left earning their LEED AP BD+C, LEED Green Associate, and WELL AP Accreditations. They attended an impressive amount of events and trainings focused on green building knowledge and leadership. As part of the program, participants also volunteered time within their communities.

    • Abigail Keilman – Smith Group
    • Alex Testa – Siena Construction
    • Ashleigh Savage – Smith Group
    • Bethany Robertson – Ci Design
    • Caitlin Gilman – Perkins Eastman
    • Jacob Savona – The Green Engineer
    • Kara Slocum – Sasaki
    • Kristen Murphy – Acentech
    • Lindsey Machamer – Austin Energy Green Building

These nine emerging professionals have made an incredible personal investment with us these last two years, and in doing so have positioned themselves as community experts and the next generation of leaders ensuring we create a sustainable and resilience built environment. Congratulations to the graduates!

Check the Hand-Dryer Facts: Five Fundamental Facts Build a Strong Case for Hand-Dryers

Written By Excel Dryer

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Over the past few years, conflicting stories regarding hand-drying with paper towels versus hand dryers have proliferated. But industry professionals involved with building green, environmentally friendly buildings and facilities should understand the facts.

When you explore the latest statements and studies from the world’s foremost health authorities, the truth becomes much clearer. And, with hand hygiene playing a life-and-death role during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to inform your building decisions with the safest, most economical selections. Simply stated, a smarter clean and green solution is at hand.

Fact ✓  There is no scientific data that suggests hand dryers spread the coronavirus.

Actually, powered hand dryers have the ability to remove viruses. A leading, independent air media and filter testing company—LMS Technologies—recently tested the effectiveness of hand dryers against the spread of germs. The HEPA Filtration System available in Excel Hand Dryers removed 99.999 percent of viruses.

Science has proven that no-touch, sensor-activated, hands-under, high-speed, energy-efficient hand drying is absolutely a hygienic way to dry hands after washing—and is an extremely efficient option, as well. 

“We have no evidence that hand dryers are spreading the coronavirus…”

World Health Organization

“There is no evidence that these hand dryers are spreading the virus.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Fact ✓  Hand dryers are “greener” than paper towels.

Did you know it takes 17 trees, 20,000 gallons of water and 40 cubic feet of landfill space to produce one ton of virgin paper? Not only that, that paper production pollutes 7,000 gallons of water.

The XLERATOR® Hand Dryer dries hands completely in eight seconds and uses 80 percent less energy than conventional dryers. XLERATOR is the only hand dryer that is Made In USA Certified®, BuildingGreen Approved and helps qualify for the most LEED® Credits of any hand dryer on the market.

Fact ✓  Hand dryers are the economical solution.

Hand dryers aren’t just “green”—they save you green as well. Operating hand dryers can cost as little as 50 cents per 1,000 uses. Comparatively, paper towels cost about $23 per 1,000 uses. That’s a huge costs savings. Over the life expectancy of the XLERATOR (1.35 million cycles), you can save almost $30,000 per hand dryer installed.

Our hand dryers also require minimal maintenance, improve restroom hygiene and contribute to a “touchless” restroom experience.

Fact ✓  Hand dryers are more sustainable than paper towels.

High-speed, energy-efficient hand dryers allow you to enjoy a 75% reduction in your carbon footprint versus paper towels. Excel Dryer continues to lead the industry in environmental sustainability. Excel was also the first in the industry to have their products independently evaluated, and their environmental claims substantiated with the publication of the hand dryer industry’s first Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).

There’s never been a better time to look into premium-quality hand dryers with HEPA filtration. Excel Dryers are the cleaner, greener choice. Ready to learn more? Give us a call at 888-503-7937 or visit exceldryer.com.

Leading Health Organizations Recommend the Use of Hand Dryers

Written by Excel Dryer

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Excel Dryer sets the record straight: Hand dryers are hygienic, but misinformation persists

East Longmeadow, Mass. – The topic of hygiene has come to the forefront in mainstream media as reopening plans are introduced around the globe. While leading health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend the use of hand dryers, misinformation about them remains online, and continues to be quoted and perpetuated. Leaders from Excel Dryer, manufacturer of XLERATOR® Hand Dryers, wish to deliver a message to educate the professionals, consultants and government officials who are creating reopening guidelines, and the general public, especially in times of COVID-19: Excel hand dryers are a safe, hygienic touchless solution and an effective way to achieve completely dry hands, a critical part of proper hand hygiene, the top defense against the spread of germs.

Kelly Reynolds, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair at the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, offered an explanation as to the root of these misconceptions, stating that, “Consumers may only read [sensationalized] headlines which can influence public opinion toward biased or erroneous conclusions, [but] the fact is, the breadth of data available does not favor one hand drying method as being more hygienic or safer.”

Excel hand dryers provide a touchless hand drying solution to help prevent potential cross-contamination between restroom surfaces and wet hands. All dryers in Excel’s line are hygienic, but dryers with HEPA have been proven to add another level of protection. Viral efficiency testing conducted by the preeminent independent air media and filter testing company, LMS Technologies in April of 2020 found that XLERATOR®, XLERATOReco® and XLERATORsync® Hand Dryers with HEPA Filtration Systems remove 99.999 percent of viruses from the airstream. 

William Gagnon, vice president of marketing and sales at Excel Dryer, wishes to correct misinformation and biases about hand dryers. “Hand dryers are hygienic and have been used to properly dry hands for decades. In addition to top health organizations recommending their use, hand dryers also provide significant benefits over paper that are undisputable. For example, our recent test results prove XLERATOR hand dryers with HEPA Filtration Systems remove 99.999 percent of viruses from the airstream, something paper will never be able to do.”

Conversely, paper towels may not be as hygienic as the public believes. One independent study showed 17 species of bacteria on unused, recycled paper towels, including Bacillus, which can cause food poisoning. After their use, damp paper towels are a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria in and around trash receptacles and can be used to clog toilets and sinks creating a very unhygienic restroom environment. If the paper towels are out of stock, visitors cannot dry their hands at all, and wet hands have been shown to be 1,000 times more likely to transfer germs than dry hands.

Gagnon concluded, “I encourage members of the public and those individuals charged with the creation of guidelines, reopening plans or facilities operations, to dive deeper into news articles and hygiene studies rather than simply believing sensationalized, click-bait headlines born from biased results. Hand dryers are safe and hygienic. They dry hands completely, and are a top defense against the spread of germs.”

About Excel Dryer, Inc.

Excel Dryer has been manufacturing the finest American-made hand dryers for more than 50 years. The family-owned and -operated company revolutionized the industry with the invention of the patented XLERATOR® Hand Dryer that created the high-speed, energy-efficient hand dryer category and set a new standard for performance, reliability and customer satisfaction. Excel Dryer prides itself on offering the best customer service and making hygienic, cost-effective and sustainable products people can depend on. Available for distribution worldwide, Excel Dryer products can be purchased through an established network of sales representatives who call on more than 5,000 distributors globally. Learn more about Excel Dryer at exceldryer.com.

Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, Revised Edition, by BE+ Member Kimberly Vermeer, Is Now Available

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Co-author Walker Wells & Kim Vermeer

Built Environment Plus member Kimberly Vermeer’s new book has just been published by Island Press! Kim Vermeer and co-author Walker Wells explore the compounding issues of the lack of affordable housing and the climate crisis in Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, Revised Edition.  

Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing is the most comprehensive resource on how green building principles can be incorporated into affordable housing design, construction, and operation. The book offers guidance on innovative practices, green building certifications, and the latest financing strategies. In addition, Vermeer and Wells feature 14 case studies to illustrate how green building principles can be incorporated into diverse housing types and in locations across the country.

Blueprint shares detailed insights into how the many elements of a green building are incorporated into affordable house design, construction, and operation.  The lack of affordable housing and the climate crisis are two of the most pressing challenges we are facing today. Green affordable housing addresses both by providing housing stability, safety, and financial predictability while constructing and operating the buildings to reduce environmental and climate impacts. “Walker and I are pleased to share the lessons and best practices from our years of experience,” says Kim. “We hope the Blueprint will inspire a new generation of rising leaders to integrate green building concepts into practice.” 

If you would like to buy the book from Island Press, use code


for a 20% discount.

You can also order it from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and independent booksellers. Learn more about the book, forthcoming book related events, and other resources here.

The Future of LEED – Reflections on a Year on the LEED Steering Committee

By Chris Schaffner

We’re living through difficult times. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy, and you can continue to do your good work. Current events are on everyone’s mind, but sustainability remains an important long-term consideration. We are committed to creating a just and sustainable future, and recent events only highlight the need for this work.

In December 2019 I completed my term as chair of the USGBC LEED Steering Committee. I thought I’d spend a few moments to reflect on that experience and discuss the direction that LEED is heading.

I believe we are at an inflection point. The foundations of our work today were laid 25 years or so ago. LEED has brought green building to the forefront and has turned what was the cutting edge into the business as usual. LEED v4.1 has been well-received, but its impact on the market is still pretty small, especially compared to the crisis we face. We must rise to this challenge.

The climate crisis is ever increasing in its urgency. National governments have failed in their obligation to guide the planet to a safe landing. Local governments and NGOs, citizens, people like us, must step into this void.   At the same time economic inequality increases – the gap between rich and poor widens. Those most vulnerable to the effects of a changing climate are also least equipped to deal with the results. 

The green building market is changing rapidly. Calls for energy efficiency have become calls for net zero buildings and decarbonization.  A few years ago, the idea of climate resilience was seen by some as an admission of defeat. Now it’s a key part of green building strategies. Cities like New York are creating rules that will put a real price on carbon. And demand for the elimination of fossil fuel use is growing. For example, Architecture 2030 recently called for a complete ban on fossil fuel use in all new buildings.  We’re transitioning away from the so-called “transition fuels.” It’s 2020, the future is here now. 

We, the members of the USGBC, have an opportunity and an obligation.  LEED addresses the full GHG impact of buildings – not just operational energy, but materials, transportation, water, and waste. But we need to strengthen LEED’s connection to climate, throughout the rating system, and make it more apparent to users. We also must stop sending mixed signals, by using metrics like energy cost rather than GHG emissions. We must embrace and incorporate climate resilience. And we must strengthen the connection between design and operations through recertification, so that a LEED Certification is not just a one-time event, but rather an ongoing process. We must do all these things, and we must do it while increasing LEED’s impact and market share.

Further, while we recognize that human health and social equity are factors in true sustainability, they’ve always been silent partners in LEED – along for the ride but never the focus. This will have to change. 

With these thoughts in mind, here’s where I see LEED heading in the next few years:

  1. Social Equity, Health, and Resilience: The USGBC community will come together this summer through events like the recent Social Equity Summit and the upcoming Healthy Economy Forum to gather ideas and lessons learned from recent events. Some will be whisked straight into LEED v4.1. Others may require more refinement and might wait until the next update.  (Timeline – Summer 2020)
  2. Balloting of LEED v4.1:  LEED v4.1 is still in Beta form, but it has already had a positive impact. Over the next few months the USGBC will use lessons learned from early adopters and will incorporate new lessons from recent events to create a final version to be balloted. Look for balloting to occur around the New Year, with a final version of v4.1 by Spring 2021. (Timeline – early 2021)
  3. Further Incorporation of Carbon, Wellness, Social Equity, and Resilience:  These have become the key issues driving the sustainability discussion today. Over the last 25 years we’ve gone from thinking about buildings’ effects on the environment, to the larger realm of “triple bottom line” sustainability. In the short term expect to see credit intents change to more explicitly highlight a strategy’s impact in these areas as part of the ballot version of v4.1. There is also discussion around creating some kind of recognition for LEED projects that specifically meet goals in social equity, human health, or resilience. For example, “Ten for Equity” would identify ten credits dealing with social equity, and a project that earned all ten might get special recognition.  (Timeline – early 2021, as part of the balloted version.)     
  4. Integration with the Arc Platform and the need for recertification: For years, LEED has struggled with the gap between predictions and performance. It’s time to close this gap. In the future a building will only be considered a LEED building if it can demonstrate performance worthy of the label. The plan is to use Arc to do this. Buildings will first earn LEED Certification in any of the traditional ways – through the New Construction or Existing Buildings Rating systems – but will use Arc to recertify periodically.  Currently recertification for New Construction projects is optional. Watch for it to become mandatory in the near future. (Timeline – no later than end of 2021)    
  5. LEED Positive: At Greenbuild in 2019 USGBC announced the coming of “LEED Positive,” but details of this concept have been sketchy.  It’s a work in progress. Think of it as LEED v5 if you want. The core concept is that we look ahead to 2050 and see where we need to be, and then we design the incremental steps that get us there, imagining an updated LEED every five years. It’s “LEED Positive” because we need to move from a mode reducing negative impacts to creating positive impacts.  As a part of this, we’d set specific minimum requirements for carbon reductions in each iteration, with New Construction projects getting to zero operational carbon very quickly.   (Timeline – More details of LEED Positive and a road map by Fall 2021, LEED v5 by 2025)

These are some of the ideas around the future of LEED. I welcome your feedback, input, and participation in the development of LEED Positive. The consensus process is the real strength of LEED, our secret weapon, and it doesn’t happen without all of you.

One thing we know for sure is that business as usual is not going to cut it. 25 years ago, LEED was a bold vision. It’s time to be bold again. I know we can and will do it, starting here, right now.

About Chris Schaffner

Chris Schaffner, PE, LEED Fellow, is Founder and CEO of The Green Engineer, Inc. a sustainable design consulting firm located in Concord, MA ( and a BE+ Silver Sponsor) . Chris and his firm have completed over 200 LEED Certified projects. He has a long history of volunteering and advocacy for green buildings. He served as a founding board member of USGBC MA, and was chair of the US GBC LEED Steering Committee in 2019. 

Looking Towards 2020: Celebrating Our Community and Welcoming the 2020 Board!

2020 Greetings from Barbra Batshalom, Board Chair

This past year we had unprecedented advances in the evolution of our organization. After doing a lot of listening through roundtables and member outreach, we developed a whole new strategic plan, a new brand that reflects our focus on healthy, net positive communities, and expanded partnerships with aligned organizations such as the Living Future Collaborative New England and Passive House Institute.

We also saw the success and growth of multiple programs: Workforce Grants and training programs for small businesses, the Women in Green event series, the Green Building Leadership Program (GBLI) for emerging professionals, and the launch of our first conference, Design for People. While our LEED courses and other trainings continue, we are planning a whole host of new events this coming year that center on community conversations around product health, bringing zero carbon to scale, new zero carbon stretch codes, and other important issues.

Addressing carbon is one of our most urgent challenges for 2020. While this challenge and others can feel overwhelming and impossible to overcome, we make up a powerful community of individuals involved in the design, construction, and operation of our buildings. Each of us came to USGBC MA because we are all driven by the same mission: to advocate for a more sustainable Massachusetts. That’s why community is important. Together, our community has all the know-how and experience to chart a path forward that can help us accelerate our progress. Together, we can achieve what none of us can do individually.

This is why we really want to hear from you: we can’t do all of this without the support and input of our community! What do you want us to focus on this year? Does your company need training or support to achieve its sustainability goals? What do you want to learn this year? How can your voice be joined with other like-minded people to drive the changes we want to see? Come to our roundtables, other events, or just send us a message—we look forward to working with you to make 2020 the best year yet!

Barbra Batshalom, USGBC MA/Build Environment Plus Board Chair 

Annual General Meeting Recap


2019 Membership Award Recipients

Net Zero Hero – Jacob Knowles

Member of the Year – Audrey Ng

 Ascending Professional of the Year – Jasmine Abdollahi

MVP Company – Elkus Manfredi

Living Building Champion – DiAnn Mroszczak

I’ve Got Your Back – Jana Silsby

Thank You to Our Departing USGBC MA Board Members

Samira Ahmadi

Samira Ahmadi

Jenna Dancewicz

Jenna Dancewicz

Henrietta Davis

Henrietta Davis

Johanna Jobin

Johanna Jobin

Returning USGBC MA Board Members

Jana Silsby

Jana Silsby

Architect Representative

Brad Mahoney

Brad Mahoney

Developer Representative

Galen Nelson

Galen Nelson

Clean Tech Representative

Jenn Taranto

Jenn Taranto

Contractor Representative

New USGBC MA Board Members

Lindsey Machamer

Lindsey Machamer

Emerging Professional Representative

Julie Janiski

Julie Janiski

Engineer Representative

Randa Ghattas

Randa Ghattas

Unspecified Open Seat Representative

Heather Henriksen

Heather Henriksen

Unspecified Open Seat Representative

Built Environment Plus: Voting Results

The results are in: changing the organizational name to Built Environment Plus was met with an overwhelming 90% approval rate by USGBC MA voters! We will be going before the Secretary of State to petition for the name change. If the petition succeeds, Built Environment Plus will become our official name! Thank you to everyone who voted–as a community-based organization, your input is vital for the future of the organization!

Annual General Meeting Photos

EPMA Presentation Recap: Prefab Architecture

Written by Oliver Bautista and Lindsey Machamer

Oliver presents on Prefab Architecture in front of USGBC MA's Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts group.
Oliver presents on Prefab Architecture during November’s Emerging Professionals of Massachusetts meeting.

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With the October presentation we had Oliver Bautista, Designer III at Turkel Design, explain the exciting features of Prefab Architecture. The presentation began with an explanation of the definition of ‘prefab’ in architecture and the different types that exist.

Oliver’s presentation centered on modular homes built in components, in this case wall panels, and how the process works from the Schematic Design phase through the built core shell assembly. The process begins with the selection of either a standard home design, a modified standard home design, or a custom home design; the choice depends on client needs and site conditions.

Simulated design of prefab architecture
Simulated design of Prefab Architecture

During the presentation, Oliver explained the advantages of doing prefab, from the components built in a controlled environment to reductions made to the construction schedule. The sample project shown during the presentation displayed a timeline of one hundred days to complete the core shell assembly, which was elevated with piers due to a high flood elevation line. The two story single family residence was delivered in flatbed trucks and assembled on site; the visuals shown explained how a small crew was able to put together a fantastic home in a short period of time, along with the flexibility and quality prefab can bring to Architecture.