By Suzy O'Leary, Chapter Member
By Suzy O'Leary, 9/13/15
Over the river and through North Point Park, members of USGBC MA pedaled their bikes to see the next stop on a tour of green buildings organized by Steven Burke, Sustainability Coordinator at SMMA. Here are a few interesting facts that came to light during this fun trip:
The group made stops at the Boston University Yawkey Student Center containing three of the greenest restaurants on any U.S. higher ed. campus. A touch screen dashboard displaying daily energy and water usage keeps students in touch with the buildings high performance aspects. Kitchen hoods with air curtains prevent conditioned air from exhausting out of the space. A high efficiency dishwashing line repurposes dish water and uses roughly 80% less water than industry-standard arrangements. A green roof helps control water run-off.
Passing under the Janet Echelman sculpture suspended above the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the group learned about the three original peaks of land in Boston that are reflected in the sculpture's shape.
They then made their way to the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion. The Pavilion, by utile, was described as one biker as a hidden treasure trove of good green design. He said he has passed the Pavilion many times but never knew it had solar power that made for net zero energy usage for the LED screens and sculptural canopies that collect rainwater to create a beautiful waterfall that flows into a basin and is dispersed via perforated piping to water the adjacent lawn. The locally sourced materials are a meaningful gesture that help create a sense of place for this welcome center for visitors to the Boston Harbor Islands. The pavilion's canopies are shaped similar to the wings of a bird; the thick foundation acts as an anchor to prevent uplift of the canopies as well as helps disperse the weight of the structure over the Big Dig tunnel below. The concrete form work and structural steel were both designed in CAD and cut using a digital CNC machine.
The new Converse Headquarters is an excellent example of reuse of an existing building. The additions of the penthouse and a retail store along the river are modern but feel as though they already belong to the century-old brick structure. The pedestrian riverwalk that connects Puopolo Park to North Point Park is a fantastic way that a company can give back to and enhance the neighborhood. The retail store offers people the ability to design your own shoe, which is also pretty darn cool.
Thanks to Steven Burke of SMMA and the Emerging Professionals group for planning yet another great event!