By Grey Lee

Letter from Chairs Past and Present  
Dear colleagues,
2014 has come in with blasts of cold and ice, but it would take a lot more than that to temper the passion of local volunteers who are focused on promoting “the design, construction, and operation of sustainable buildings and communities in Massachusetts”!
The USGBC MA – West Branch had its best year ever in 2013 and we are all ready to launch another successful year of green building education programs, networking events and service projects!
For those of you who couldn't make it to all of the excellent programs we provide, We thought we would prepare a short list of highlights from 2013:
We had a variety of Education Programs!  The LEED Green Associate Exam Prep course attracted approximately 45 students and utilized a team-based learning classroom at UMass to facilitate discussion among students and professionals.  We held two Green Eggs networking and education events – the first at David R. Northup Electrical Contractors, Inc. on Point of Use Technology presented by John DeGray of Point Energy Solutions and the second at the EcoBuilding Bargains Store on Energy Modeling presented by Benjamin Todd of Strategic Energy Group, as well as Ted Mendoza of UMass Amherst.
Our Summer Social in June attracted almost 30 members and included representatives from NESEA and the Westover Job Corps.

Green building researchers from UMass Amherst presented a map of LEED buildings in Western MA, featuring 27 LEED certified buildings and 60 more projects undergoing registration – a remarkable achievement for our region!

UMass Green Building Council Students Group was founded in partnership with the West Branch and is committed to promoting sustainability, innovation, and a basic foundation of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, both on and off campus.  They provide campus-wide initiatives and education for the public on green building practices.  Eight student members attended the GreenBuild 2013 conference in the fall.  A team of students worked with NStar to survey residential halls and educating students on saving energy by distributing 5,000 LED light bulbs.
3 Green Apple Day of Service events focused on engaging local schools took place in September and October: a Green Building Tour of 4 UMass LEED facilities and rain gardens for students from Westover Job Corps, a tour of Tan Brook for students at Wildwood Elementary school in Amherst, and a public tour of the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, a LEED Platinum Building.  We have also committed to provide LEED Support for the Common School in Amherst.

Thank you for your support,
Ludmilla Pavlova, Immediate Past Chair
Mark Dunn, 2014 Chair of USGBC MA West Branch Steering Committee

[[ Congratulations to all the volunteers who have helped to make this success possible! We all look forward to a great 2014 and more useful and fun programming to support the green building community in Western Massachusetts. ]]
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