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Below are current and past initiatives of the Committee on the Environment.

 

The 2030 Challenge: 19 years and ticking
The AIA has called for a commitment from architectural firms to design carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030. Eleven years into this bold challenge, what are firms doing today to progress toward the goal, and what does the future of building energy look like? On Tuesday, February 1, 2014 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) hosts a roundtable discussion at Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Watson Hall (550 Huntington Avenue, Boston) with leading architects working on a broad range of sustainable projects. We’ll look at real-world strategies; case studies; challenges; and opportunities related to team selection, design and implementation. This is part one of a dialogue focusing on how architects are making meaningful change. Part two will involve engineers, owners, project managers, renewable-energy experts and other stakeholders.
 
The discussion is free and open to BSA members and the public. Space is limited. Parking is also limited. Why not use public transportation?
Co-moderators                                
Philippe Généreux AIA, LEED AP (SMMA/Symmes Maini & McKee Associates)
Jim Stanislaski AIA (Gensler)
Panelists
Bruce Coldham FAIA (Coldham & Hartman Architects)
Martine Dion AIA (SMMA/Symmes Maini & McKee Associates)
Kenneth Fisher AIA (Gensler)
Robert Hoye AIA (TRO Jung|Brannen)
Deborah Rivers AIA (Perkins + Will)
For more information, contact 617-951-1433 x221 or bsa@architects.org.

 

About the Committee on the Environment (COTE)

Each month we have a presentation or discussion about issues pertaining to the design, construction or operation of sustainable buildings. On an ongoing basis, committee members are involved in educational, research and advocacy work pertaining to the improvement of the built environment in relation to the natural environment and human welfare.
If you would like to join the COTE e-forum please send an email to cote_bsa-subscribe@eGroups.com and follow the directions in the reply email.
 
The BSA Committee on the Environment and The Green Roundtable, Inc. have assembled many resources for green building, including  case studies of green projects and the organizational and legislative trends which are supportive of green design. We invite you to learn about just some of the exciting and revolutionary things going on in Boston and the region, and to contact us should you have any questions.
 
 
 
Related Organizations
The Committee on the Environment (COTE) is a forum for architects and related professionals dedicated to improving the built environment through consideration of the natural environment, and offers a place to exchange ideas about sustainable building design, construction and operation.
 
Assembled below is a sampling of local and national organizations with offices and activities in the greater Boston area who are committed to addressing issues of green design and sustainability. See also Community Resources for additional resources for community development not specifically for green design. 
 
Coalition of citizens, scientists, health professionals, workers, & educators seeking preventive action on toxic hazards. Our goal is to correct fundamental flaws in government policies that allow harm to our health and environment. 
 
The precedent for the Alliance was set by the ground-breaking partnership between Environmental Defense and McDonald's Corporation, which resulted in over 40 strategies for fast food companies to reduce waste and encourage recycling.
 
An environmental justice group for underserved communities, ACE provides legal and technical support, educational programs, and organizing assistance to community groups throughout New England to solve environmental problems and develop local environmental leadership.
 
 
 
The nation's oldest conservation and recreation organization. It is devoted to the protection and enjoyment of the mountains, trails, and rivers of the Northeast.
 
Promotes a clean, alive and accessible Boston Harbor. Boston Harbor Now brings together diverse interests - harbor users, environmentalists, developers, waterfront businesses and decision makers - to develop balanced solutions for maritime development, environmental protection and public access around the Harbor.
 
Publishers of Environmental Building News 
 
BMRC achieves both social and environmental goals by helping low-income homeowners achieve economic independence and diverting perfectly good materials from landfills and delivering them into the hands of needy recipients.
 
Cambridge Tree Project is an organization composed of citizens' groups and individuals working together with the City of Cambridge in building support for the protection and management of community trees 
 
Since 1976, has provided communities in Western Mass with practical, affordable and environmentally sound solutions to every day life, especially in the areas of energy and natural resource conservation. CET researches, develops, demonstrates and promotes technologies that have the least destructive impact on the natural ecology of the Earth.
 
Founded in 1965, CRWA has worked with government officials and citizen groups from 35 Massachusetts watershed towns in major clean-up and watershed protection efforts. For 2 years, CRWA has worked to create a system to capture rooftop runoff, so to store some of the water for irrigation purposes & non-potable uses, and recharge any excess.
 
Worked to create a sustainability economy, where businesses thrive would rely on locally discarded goods as feedstock, further reducing waste, pollution, and depletion of virgin resources. Now closed, the web site continues to provide reports.
 
Science-based, regionally-focused, and non-partisan solutions to global warming. We work with campuses, communities, and companies throughout the region to target and implement measures that will help these entities reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Supports clean, safe and affordable water, prevention of health-threatening pollution, creation of environmentally-safe jobs and businesses, and empowerment of people to make democracy work.
 
Works with Brookline to lower environmental impact.  Has helped to pass a ‘no net loss of tree volume’ law,  setting city purchasing goals for hybrid or electric vehicles, and encouraging the city to purchase electricity in bulk (from less polluting sources.  Currently working on making green building the standard for public buildings. 
 
CERES is the leading U.S. coalition of environmental, investor, and advocacy groups working together for a sustainable future.
 
 
Focused on New England, CLF is the largest regional environmental organization in the U.S. Its programs include transportation land use planning and electricity deregulation.
 
Formerly known as the Environmental Federation of New England, it is the only large-scale coalition of environmental non-profits based in New England. It promotes workplace giving programs that support environmental groups in the region. 
 
The EBC was conceived in 1990 by environmental and energy company executives who began meeting on a regular basis to exchange ideas and share experiences. Their goal is to enhance business and job growth of both established and emerging environmental and energy businesses. 
 
National environmental advocacy organization does work on many environmental issues, including air pollution and global warming.
 
Protecting the air, water, and land for the people of the commonwealth. We do this by voicing citizens' concerns, educating the public, advocating for strong environmental laws, & ensuring that laws are implemented & enforced.
 
Supporting Newton's efforts to integrate sustainable planning and construction in public schools and other buildings. GD's Programs are designed to build awareness, to provide opportunities for public dialogue, and to educate and empower citizens to take personal and civic action.  
 
Resource management strategies for the built environment.  Facilitates reusing / recycling building materials for commercial and residential projects, with strategies for energy, water, air, and infrastructure conservation.  Tools offered: spec language, planning advice, logistical help, and market development for post-consumer building materials.
 
Dedicated to integrating principles of sustainability into mainstream design and construction through education, policy and technical assistance. GRT's clients include building owners and developers, designers, engineers, universities, governmental agencies, and others.  GRT is also the local affiliate of the U.S. Green Building Council.
 
Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of hospitals and health care systems, medical professionals, community groups, health-affected constituencies, labor unions, environmental and environmental health organizations and religious groups.
 
Has collaborated with BSA, AGC, and Mass. DEP to provide a Recycling Construction and Demolition Waste, A Guide for Architects and Contractors, which includes the nuts and bolts of recycling, case studies, waste management plans, and addresses the common objections to jobsite recycling.
 
MassBike is a membership-based bicycle advocacy group. Our mission is to promote a bicycle-friendly culture and improve conditions for cycling. Our agenda includes roadway design, mass transit integration, recreational paths, and private sector accommodation.
 
Mass Energy combines advocacy and market-based solutions on behalf of consumers and the environment.
 
The largest conservation organization in New England working to educate & motivate Society members, citizens of the Commonwealth, local, state, & federal elected & appointed officials to make decisions that Protect The Nature of MA. 
 
The state’s development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy, which is responsible for one-quarter of all jobs in the state. We work with cutting-edge companies to create new jobs and stimulate economic activity in local communities.
 
dedicated to halting global climate change. We are striving to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide (CO2). The MCAN Network is composed of local and statewide groups that have joined together in a cooperative effort. There are nine local groups and three statewide environmental groups in MCAN at present. 
 
A catalyst for sustainable development in cities. New Ecology promotes best practice & information exchange among 3 constituencies - CDCs, private developers, & universities - as well as public policy networks.
 
The mission of the New England Aquarium is to increase understanding of aquatic life and environments, to enable people to act to conserve the world of water, and to provide leadership for the preservation and sustainable use of aquatic resources.
 
NEEP coordinates energy efficiency efforts in the Northeast among policymakers, regulatory staff, utility staff, and efficiency advocates. 
 
 
The nation's leading regional membership organization focused on promoting the understanding, development, and adoption of energy conservation and non-polluting, renewable energy technologies. 
 
A business association of solar energy companies based, or doing business, in New England. SEBANE members include many of the finest solar energy companies in the world. 
 
 
Part of the newly created Somerville Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change to write an action plan for greenhouse gas emissions reduction for the city and to assist with implementation.  Goals are to raise awareness about climate change, and to affect energy-related practices by with city, local businesses and residents. 
 
The group helped pass the Arlington Green Building law, which requires a LEED Silver rating for all new municipal buildings.  Other achievements: better street lighting efficiency, reduce pesticide use, help citizens purchase green power, and more fuel efficient replacement vehicles. Currently working on greening the public schools.
 
1. Helping organizations respond strategically to environmental and social trends. 2. Helping individuals expand their understanding and skills in applying sustainability concepts. 3. Facilitating consensus-building conversations.
 
Two themes - environmental stewardship and equitable development- lie at the core of the vision of sustainability and at the heart of our mission.
 
 
The largest nonprofit, urban housing developer in America with a mission to build and sustain strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential.
 
 
TSNE is a resource center for building the knowledge, power, and effectiveness of nonprofits and the sector. 
 
Since 1987, Toxics Action Center has helped more than 400 neighborhood groups across New England fight toxic pollution in their communities.
 
Conducts research, education and training programs about toxics use reduction (TUR), helping businesses, institutions, communities, and government agencies to incorporate TUR strategies into their day-to-day operations.
 
UCS has strong advocacy and research programs on renewable energy, global warming, and advanced vehicle technologies.
 
Public / private partnership working with the business community to develop and implement cost-effective programs for recycling, buying recycled, reuse, and waste reduction.

  

Policies and Initiatives
 
The Committee on the Environment (COTE) is a forum for architects and related professionals dedicated to improving the built environment through consideration of the natural environment, and offers a place to exchange ideas about sustainable building design, construction and operation.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, City of Boston and surrounding municipalities have begun to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable design and sustainable communities. Below is a selection of local and state policy initiatives that are being developed and implemented. If you are interested in learning more about the BSA's public policy initiatives, visit the Civic Engagement site.
 
 
MASSACHUSETTS STATE INITIATIVES
 
  • Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM)
    DCAMM has developed guidelines for incorporating principles of sustainable design into building construction and major renovation projects. The Conservation Team advises DCAMM project staff and consulting design teams on strategies to prevent pollution in construction and renovation projects. The Team works with project engineers and project managers and, through research and life-cycle analysis, offers project-specific information and design specifications on materials, designs and technologies that increase efficiency and reduce a building's impact on occupants and the environment. When cost effective, these materials, practices and technologies are incorporated into the projects. LEED is strongly supported, although not yet legislated.
     
  • Capital Asset Management Information Program
    Administered by the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM)
1.    
DCAMM has incorporated energy and resource efficiency and sustainable design technologies and techniques through a number of initiatives into its design and construction activities for State building and renovation projects.
 
2.    
Form 9 - Instructions for Designers: This document, which becomes a part of every designer's contract with DCAMM, stipulates that designers shall specify energy and water conserving building systems and end-use equipment. It further stipulates that designers shall consider the utilization of a litany of other sustainable design-oriented materials, technologies and planning issues.
 
3.    
The Sustainable Design Building Guide - offered to DCAMM study consultants (and project designers) to incorporate operational costs into planning processes (life cycle cost analysis) for energy and water usage and provides a guideline for the specification of sustainable construction materials.
 
4.    
DCAMM project management and the Energy and Sustainable Design team are made available to each project in the design phase for the purpose of assisting in the selection of sustainable materials and coordination of life cycle cost analyses. Such analyses are conducted to specify major building systems, which provide the best value over their projected useful life.
 
5.    
DCAMM's energy conservation projects generally fall into three categories according to the way they are funded - privately financed performance contracts, utility-funded projects, and bond-funded projects. Separately, there are a number of projects which have been implemented specifically for water conservation. DCAMM has also been moving forward on efforts to encourage construction of environmentally-preferable high performance buildings through sustainable design practices.
 
  • DEP C&D Ban
    Effective July 1, 2006, the Massachusetts Dept of Environmental Protection will require sorting and processing of all construction and demolition-related asphalt paving, brick, concrete, wood, and metal in any volume exceeding 5 cubic yards.
     
  • Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement Program (EPP)
    Administered by the Operational Services Division (OSG), this program for commodities and services creates minimum performance standards for products and services bought by state agencies.  Example – all carpet replacement must be accompanied by a carpet recycling plan for removed product. It also has available guides and reports for sustainable building practices.
     
  • The Green CDCs Initiative
    (New Ecology Mass. Assoc. Community Dev. Corporations (MACDC) Tellus Institute)
    The Initiative is to establish a results-driven network of green community developers. The goals of the Initiative are to: (1) Provide CDCs access to a customized clearinghouse for technical assistance, financial resources, and academic programs at MIT and Harvard (2) Share sustainable development strategies and successes among CDCs and other stakeholders (3) Establish CDCs as a bona fide environmental constituency by creating new partnerships and coalitions (4) help develop new policy and financial tools to assist in greening CDCs (5) Raise awareness among a larger public about the benefits and advantages of sustainable development.
     
  • Massachusetts State Sustainability Program
    On July 23, 2002, Executive Order 438 established the Massachusetts State Sustainability Program. This new Program will work to ensure that state government remains in compliance with all environmental laws and regulations, while serving as a model by promoting sustainable practices that reduce the state's environmental impact and save taxpayer dollars.  Administered by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, this order establishes a coordinating council of 16 agencies and offices with an Advisory Committee made up of non-state governmental entities
     
  • MEPA Review Process State Commonwealth of Massachusetts
    Office Environmental Impact Reports must contain analysis of Sustainable Design Measures.
  • The Green Buildings Program
    The Green Buildings Program has three specific sub-programs: Green Buildings, Green Schools and SOPI - aimed at creating unique high leverage partnerships. The program provides funding in three separate areas: for feasibility studies, design and construction grants and education and awareness programs.
MUNICIPAL INITIATIVES
 
  • Boston Permitting Process (City of Boston Environment Dept., BPDA)
    The Boston Planning and Development Agency requires Environmental Review in the scoping, determination, and Project Impact Reports include a section on Sustainable Design Measures.  The City of Boston Environment Department also reviews all PNFs (and ENFs), and consistently encourages projects to seek LEED (TM) certification.
  • Green Guidelines for Municipal Property
    (City of Cambridge, DPW)
    Green Roundtable is working with Cambridge Department of Public Works to develop green building standards and an implementation plan for existing buildings for use in public building renovations and maintenance. (loosely based on LEED (TM) EB).
  • Parking Freeze
    (Air Quality Control Board, City of Boston Transportation Dept.)
    Restricted access to parking in sections of Downtown, South, and East Boston.
     
  • Residential Recycling Program (City of Boston)
    Strategic Plan is in place to increase tons recycled by 75% and collect eight times the leaf and yard waste by 2005.