By Grey Lee

What an amazing group! What amazing project stories to share! What a lovely time together. Thank you to everyone for coming out – for producing boards and for entering our awards program. Also, thank you to our Platinum Event Sponsor: Eversource, and our Gold Sponsors: View Glass, Suffolk Construction and National Grid

You can read the entire program guide with the stories of each sponsored project here.

The weather was a little iffy, but we managed to welcome over 150 people and 45 project story boards to the Green Building Showcase at Harvard's newly LEED Gold art museum facility at 32 Quincy Street – the Calderwood Courtyard.

Thank you to our excellent Silver Event Sponsors: Chapman Design/Construction, HDR, PCA, Sasaki, Skanska, Solect, The Green Engineer, Touloukian Touloukian, and Tsoi/Kobus.

This was our special annual gathering to meet, re-connect, and share how are are all a part of this green building movement.

Each of the professional disciplines represented are always striving for excellence. As a community we celebrate the achievements of exemplary green buildings. Through the USGBC MA Chapter, we participate as colleagues across roles – as integrated project teams and potential teams. The Chapter provides ways for people to learn about new techniques, to meet new colleagues, and to maintain goodwill even if you haven't worked on a project together in a long time. USGBC MA provides places and ways for our people to connect. Who knows? Maybe, in one of the many laughter-filled conversations, the seeds for the next great green buildings were planted last night! 

[The next eight photos are courtesy John Picard and the New England Real Estate Journal – from their Facebook page]


And yet, it wasn't all just networking and schmoozing. 

We had some speeches to hear. I took the liberty of making a few remarks about our community, our industry, and our progress as a movement. Some mentioned I got a little “meta” – but when do I otherwise get to preach it? Thank you for listening. We will be posting the presentation slides here soon. 

Key Points:

1) We are on a mission to transform our communities toward sustainability within a generation.

2) We do this by promoting high-performance green buildings as the most practical and large-scale thing we can do to improve environmental and social justice outcomes

3) We are advocating for a market transformation by recognizing andcelebrating leaders in green building and creating a synergistic community of professionals who can answer the call for better buildings

4) We are advocating for legislative and regulatory changes to ensure everyone comes around; right now our legislative priorities are:
—a) Asserting the Stretch Code and advocating for net zero construction policies
—b) Ensuring PACE financing is available for renewables, e. efficiency, and resiliency projects in MA
—c) Reforming the State's net metering regulations to ensure continued aggressive deployment of renewables in a safe & fair energy grid

5) We also help our community of professionals with green building education, GBCI and AIA credential maintenance, mentoring and networkingopportunities.

6) We also serve our broader communities with service projects, pro bono work for non-profits, help improve sustainability education in schools, and support our peer environmental organizations with advocacy work that overlaps with our agenda.

7) Each individual in the green building industry can improve their professional practice, build their network, serve their community and benefit from volunteer leadership opportunities with the Chapter. 

8) Let us know if you there is an aspect of green building that you are fired up about – we can help you help find a place & a role with us to turn that into a positive impact for Massachusetts and the world beyond!

One of the Chapter's major sponsors, Eversource, was able to provide significant funding for the event as the Platinum Sponsor, and Kim Cullinane (above, center left) was able to address the crowd to talk about their Energy Efficiency programs where designers can get grants from Eversource to help model & design better performing buildings. If you haven't checked it out lately, their program is constantly improving based on user feedback – please contact Kim to learn more.

We also heard from Joel McKellar, Associate Director of Harvard Green Building Services, who have managed more LEED projects on their campus than any other institution in the world. 

He was emphatic about the benefits of certified LEED buildings on their campus:

“Thanks to the energy efficiency improvements in our LEED facilities alone, every year Harvard saves $4.7 million dollars in utility savings, and more importantly avoids over 11,000 tons of carbon. Over 15,000 students, faculty, and staff spend at least part of their day in an efficient, healthy, and productive LEED certified space. In less than a decade we reduced our total emissions more than 20%, and that’s after accounting for nearly 3 million square feet of growth on campus; however, this progress is just one step on the path to much greater reductions that are required if we’re going to tackle climate change.

“In the past year, Harvard has launched updated Green Building Standards and a new University-wide Sustainability Plan. These documents, the former a set of requirements for today and the latter a vision for our future, advance our emissions reduction goals, investigate net-zero and Living Building Challenge possibilities, and expand our definition of sustainability to a more holistic concept… one that sets the overall well-being of our students, faculty, and staff as critically important to our sustainability mission.  It is clear from the significant changes surrounding material ingredient disclosure and optimization in LEED Version 4 that the USGBC is aligned with Harvard in continually evolving to develop healthier, more productive buildings. Since last December, we are proud to have a standard that requires LEED Version 4 for all of our major projects on campus, and we see this as a key measure in reducing harmful chemicals of concern from being installed in our dorms, classrooms, and labs.  Harvard, like the USGBC and LEED, have been able to evolve and improve over the past decade, and we look forward to continuing with these efforts.”

Thank you Joel, and thank you Harvard University for sponsoring the event in your awesome new museum space.


And then it was time for the Awards!

Congratulations to Architerra for winning the 2015 Innovation in Green Design award, for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Headquarters in Westborough MA. This is an amazing net zero energy building which demonstrates the Commonwealth's commitment to these better buildings.

And then, the Green Building of the Year Award, which went to The Green Engineer for their work on the Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary in Boylston MA. Congrats to the team, and to the project's driving force, Shalin Liu who was there to participate in the ceremony.

 We want to thank all the award entries, it was difficult for the judges as we have so many great buildings in Massachusetts. Thank you to members of the Events Committee for helping with the Awards Program and of course Mark Richey Woodworking for donating the actual awards.

The event would not have been possible without the help of our committee and the staff team who helped bring it all together. Also, thank you to the Harvard Art Museums staff, especially Shawna Plummer, and The Catered Affair, esp. Bryanne Pepin, Neil and King, and all the team members, who made the event come off without a hitch. 

Below: Tiffany King, Chris Meier, [me, Grey Lee], John Picard, Floyd Sipe, Alana Spencer, and Brice Hereford. Not shown here are Carrie Havey, and Jim Newman, and staff Celis Brisbin, Allison Maynard and Maria Vietz.

We look forward to seeing you all again soon!



See more photos from the Showcase on our Flickr album here!


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