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


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