The late September morning was crisp and clear at MassDEP’s Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station (WES) in Lawrence. An electric vehicle recharged at a new charging station in the parking lot, and a collection of state officials, WES employees, and other interested parties stood outside the newly renovated and expanded laboratory that became the first state building in the Commonwealth to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Given the more intensive energy requirements, the variable hours of operation, and the rigorous health care requirements associated with labs, the LEED Platinum status is considered even more impressive.
Kicking off the event on September 26th, MassDEP Commissioner Ken Kimmel applauded the collaboration and commitment among Commonwealth agencies involved with the project, and gave a shout-out to the staff and construction crew who worked day-in and day-out to complete the project with LEED measures intact. Kimmel framed these accomplishments in a historical context. The building at the current location was constructed in 1952 and was granted standing as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1975, creating yet another challenge in the renovation process.
Hope Davis of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, whose agency oversaw the building’s design and construction, extolled the many sustainable virtues of the building. These included the installation of local and recycled materials, double-paned low-emissivity windows, rainwater gardens that collect water for use in toilets and chillers, green and white roofs, daylighting measures, an electric vehicle charging station, a bike storage room with shower facilities, and a 53 kW solar PV array with a live data display in the lobby.
Eric Friedman, who heads up the Department of Energy Resources’ Leading by Example Program, where I intern, highlighted that the growing number of LEED buildings in the state government’s portfolio – 29 total, 28 since 2007, and 18 Gold rated – demonstrated growing comfort with LEED requirements. He added that this and other LEED projects are an integral part of Governor Patrick’s Leading by Example Program. While the Governor’s 2007 Leading by Example Executive Order directed all construction and major renovations of state buildings to meet a Massachusetts LEED Plus green building standard (LEED certification and advanced energy performance), Friedman noted that the lab’s Platinum certification along with state efforts to design zero net energy buildings were evidence not only of the Commonwealth’s progress in meeting this requirement, but also of its achievement in surpassing this already rigorous obligation.
While improvements can and will still continue at the Wall Experiment Station, the attendees roundly and rightly applauded the unveiling of the LEED Platinum plaque on this September morning as a substantial achievement for the Commonwealth.
New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau posted on Dec 17
The 335 acre Walden Pond State Reservation annually attracts 500,000 people from all over the world, who journey there not just for recreation but for inspiration. Those visitors will soon have another amenity to enjoy. Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick joined community leaders, other public officials, environmentalists and project partners to break ground on the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new $8 million Walden Pond Visitor Center, designed to incorporate a wide-range of sustainable materials and technologies.
Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake) posted on Dec 10
The United States was created from thirteen colonies, which suggests that thirteen is a lucky number. Massachusetts just added another lucky thirteen. A new round of Green Communities – you guessed it, thirteen of them – brings the total number of cities and towns that …Continue Reading Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)
How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System? posted on Dec 4
How many municipal inspections does it take to install a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system? Two is the magic number, however it can often be difficult to hit. In order for a solar customer to install an array, their system must obtain a building and …Continue Reading How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?