How Sustainable Are COVID-19 Mitigation Strategies for Buildings?

A conclusion to our conversation series New Perspectives on Health & Well-being features a discussion between Dr. Joseph G. Allen (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) and the series’ building industry experts. 

Over eight weeks of early Tuesday morning conversations, industry experts presented an overview of a specific COVID-19 mitigation topic, through a sustainability lens. The conversations with attendees that followed addressed issues like what building owners are asking for, which solutions are proving most effective, and how these strategies measure up against various sustainability imperatives. In addition to the priority of human health through reduced viral transmission, we discussed the long-term impacts on health (like ozone and UV exposure), the environment (like GHG emissions from increased energy use), and the economy (capital as well as operational cost). 

Optimally, building industry professionals in practice look holistically at all aspects of impact when making decisions. So to close the conversation series, we are bringing back all of our industry expert presenters for a final 90-minute discussion. Dr. Allen will begin with an introductory 15-minute presentation to set the stage for over an hour of discussion with the previous presenters and the building engineering and design community at large. Please join us as we debate the merits of various COVID-19 mitigation strategies, their sustainability impacts, and suggestions for moving forward addressing health and sustainability in the built environment.

This Panel Will Feature…

Air Filtration: John Swift, Principal, Buro Happold Engineering

Fresh Air: Patrick Murphy, Director of Sustainable Design, Vanderweil Engineers

Humidity Control: Nora McCawley, Mechanical Engineer, Buro Happold Engineering

Pressurization: Paul Tsang, Director of Engineering, Jacobs

UV Light: Eric Edman, Senior Associate, BR+A Consulting Engineers

Air Monitoring: Kathleen Hetrick, Sr. Sustainability Engineer, Buro Happold Engineering

Antimicrobials: Monica Nakielski, Dir., Sustainability and Enviro. Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Cleaning PracticesTim Conway, Vice President Sustainability, Shaw Industries

Thank you to the DLR Group for sponsoring this event.


* If there is a financial hardship and you are interested in attending, please reach out to us at *


Have Questions or Conversation Topics? Reach out below:

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Pushing the Envelope: How the New MA Energy Code Will Affect Façade Design

Owners, architects, and engineers are all talking about it: What do we need to know about the new energy code? And can glass buildings still be designed? The 2018 Edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will go into effect in January 2021 and there will be notable changes. One of the most significant changes is requiring a minimum level of building envelope performance via the U*A calculation taking into account window wall ratio and overall heat transfer coefficient (U-value).

This session will start with the basics of the new code, introduce, and explain the new U*A calculation and why it has been included, as well as provide case study façade scenarios that illustrate how the new code will drive better building envelope performance and affect how we think about envelope design.

Our three-person panel has the bases covered: Rebecca Hatchadorian, Architect and Sustainability Consultant from Arup, will demystify the process of calculating heat transfer in the new code. Jessica Santonastaso, Associate with Gensler, will offer insights on how this new code might inform design decisions and systems thinking. Carl Nelson, Code Consultant with Code Red, will discuss timing and other code implications.

POSTPONED | Building Tour: The Smith Campus Center

Photo provided by Harvard University

** In response to the increasing spread of the novel coronavirus/COVID-19, we are exercising caution by rethinking our events programming. This tour has been postponed until further notice. We thank you for your cooperation and patience. **

You are invited to join the Built Environment + Emerging Professionals of Mass. on a tour of the Harvard University Smith Campus Center on April 9, 2020 at 6pm.

Come hear about the recent updates to the Smith Campus center – the inclusion of living walls irrigated by rainwater, the incorporation of glass and glass bridges to connect spaces, and the addition of outdoor terrace spaces.

Learn how the design and project management teams came together to update this building designed in the brutalist style and sometimes called “Harvard’s first high-rise”.

On the tour we will learn about the project, sustainability in the space and how programming will make use of the updated features.

The tour will be led by Shirin Karanfilogl | Director, Harvard Capital Projects, Julie Crites | Director, Harvard Common Spaces, and Frank Nitti |  Project Manager, Harvard Green Building Services.

We hope to see you there!

POSTPONED: Two-Part GPRO Operations and Maintenance Course

About the Course

You and your business may be eligible to take this training for FREE! Learn more about this opportunity at our Green Building Training Program website. NOTE: This course is a two-part series.


Class 1: May 5th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM | Class 2: May 12th from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Qualifies for 12 AIA, GBCI, and PDH (Health, Safety, and Welfare Including Core Technical) CE Credits.

GPRO: Green Professional Building Skills Training is a comprehensive national training and certificate program that teaches the principles of sustainability and trade-specific green construction knowledge to people who build, renovate, and maintain buildings. GPRO is owned and managed by Urban Green Council and brought to you USGBC MA through expert local certified instructors. Learn more about the GPRO certificate at the official GPRO website.

Certificate holders will be prepared to work in accordance with new regulations and to meet the expectations of owners and tenants who want healthier, environmentally sustainable, and energy-efficient homes and offices.

The GPRO Operations & Maintenance Essentials (O&M) course provides building professionals with strategies to reduce energy use while improving tenant comfort and health. This course is ideal for property managers and building staff in both residential and high-rise commercial buildings, including building superintendents, operators, facility and property managers, operating engineers, and stationary engineers. Learn more about the Operations & Maintenance Essentials Course.

Learning Objectives

1) Take a systemic approach to operating and maintaining a building.

2) Evaluate building performance.

3) Identify measures that will improve building health, energy or water efficiency of your building, as well as the next steps needed to achieve them.

4) Explain the costs and benefits of those measures.

Registration comes with…

  • a course workbook
  • exam session; GPRO Certificates are awarded to those who pass this exam (80% or higher). The exam is open book.

This now funded through the Commonwealth Workforce Training Fund’s Massachusetts Training Exchange. If you are a small, Massachusetts-based business that employs 100 people or less, you and your employees may be eligible to take this training session for free! Learn more about this opportunity at our Green Building Training Program website.