By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager
What an incredible night for the USGBC-MA chapter! The RGBC committee was lucky enough to schedule a tour of the Fraunhofer Building! Located in the heart of Boston’s Innovation District, the Living Laboratory is home to Fraunhofer CSE’s Massachusetts R&D center for the advancement of sustainable energy systems. Born out of a 2013 energy-retrofit of a 100-year-old building, the Lab leverages cutting-edge design concepts and historic architecture alongside in-house research facilities, including a pilot solar module fabrication line, dedicated thermal testing laboratory, and extensive characterization/environmental testing resources. Our guide, Kurt Roth, (Director- Building Efficiency at the Fraunhofer USA Center for Sustainable Energy) effortlessly guided the group through Fraunhofer CSE’s initiatives, and strategy for improving clean energy in new and existing technologies as they relate to building efficiency. In particular, Kurt informed the crowd on the improvements through Generation (module design), Demand (Building Enclosures) and Distribution (i.e. grid impacts.) After an overview of Fraunhofer USA and the strategies being implemented, Kurt took the group on a tour of the “Super Building.” It was truly remarkable to hear about the design challenges the 100 year old former warehouse presented the team, and how they resiliently navigated past them.
Special features included vacuum insulated panels, radiant slabs, and creative lighting techniques- all contributing to the common goal of preserving energy. It was one of the largest turnouts in recent memory for the Residential Green Building Committee, and we thank Kimberly Le for organizing the event, and Kurt Roth for sharing his experiences and wisdom!