by Matthew Guarracino
Sustainability and energy efficiency have long been priorities for Greater Boston developments — especially in light of the region’s ongoing building boom. To meet the area’s energy standards, tenants, residents, developers, and city officials are getting increasingly creative in the ways in which they go about saving energy and promoting sustainability.
Here are a few examples, which range across several of the region’s many industries and recent developments:
- 888 Boylston. This office and retail space in Back Bay is LEED Platinum certified and was designed to be the most sustainable building in New England. Developer Boston Properties has ensured that the development requires 45% less energy and 37% less water than a typical office building of its size by using a water-fueled chilled beam system that circulates 100% fresh air throughout the building. Solar panels and 14 wind turbines are coupled with other energy-saving features including a green roof, energy-efficient lighting, a rainwater harvesting system, and a green wall in the building’s lobby.
- 101 Seaport. The 17-story office building at 101 Seaport is the first Boston office building to achieve LEED v3 Platinum efficiency certification. The building features a 5,000sf LiveRoof green roof, which significantly reduces energy consumption, filters airborne pollution, reduces storm water runoff by more than 35% and creates habitats for birds and insects.
- Lasell College. In the world of higher education, over the past few years, Newton-based Lasell College has undertaken several programs to promote a sustainable campus and save energy. For one, the school has implemented state-of-the-art energy-saving mechanical systems, which operate at 90% to 95% efficiency. And the school is currently in the process of converting the entire campus to LED lighting. In addition, Lasell has recently invested in a number of energy-efficient vehicles, and provides a free electric vehicle charging station for both employees and students. Equally important, Lasell recycles all food waste; rather than entering the waste stream, leftover food from the cafeteria is brought to a farm and ground up for use as compost, a natural fertilizer.
- Veolia Boston’s Emergency Management System. Headquartered in downtown Boston, Veolia North America, and its subsidiary SourceOne, work on an array of energy efficiency retrofit projects throughout New England. These projects include local school and municipal buildings, state agency buildings, and small businesses supporting the Greater Boston area. In this capacity, the company typically focuses on lighting, controls, energy management systems, motors, HVAC, and windows to reduce electricity, natural gas, and water consumption. A brief snapshot of the past two years shows Veolia projects have saved over 10 million kWh annually, which is equivalent to removing 1,600 carbon emitting cars off the road.For instance, Veolia’s data-driven emergency management system EMsys has helped the city reach its goals of reducing emissions for municipal operations. As a result, city officials have unprecedented insight into cost and consumption data for all the city’s buildings. Incorporating historical energy and water usage, temperature, and humidity, Veolia’s platform provides the critical energy data which allows the city to be more sustainable and energy efficient. EMsys already helps manage over $500 million in monthly utility bills, producing 170,000 invoices each for Veolia/SourceOne clients.
- Union Point. Dubbed the Smart City, Union Point is currently under construction just south of Boston. This 1,500-acre, mixed-use development will feature up to 4,000 homes and more than 8 million sf of commercial space that will meet LEED Gold or Platinum standards. Real estate developer LStar Ventures is building a sustainable, high-tech community by using several energy-efficient designs for this large-scale project, including rooftop solar. LStar believes this development will run entirely on clean energy by the year 2050.
As sustainability and clean energy continue to be a top priority for developers, city officials, and the public, we will continue to see developments across Greater Boston — both new and old — implementing more creative ways to run efficiently.
Matthew Guarracino is the business development manager at JM Electrical Company, Inc.