2023 Mass Timber Accelerator Awardees Announced
Helping Bring Boston Closer to Carbon-Neutral
To help meet the City of Boston’s ambitious goal of getting to carbon neutral by 2050, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) and the Boston Society for Architecture (BSA) recently announced the second round of awardees in the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator program. Three development projects in Boston were selected to receive funding and technical assistance to explore the feasibility and embodied carbon potential of using mass timber construction.
Mass timber, which refers to smaller lumber elements joined to form large structural elements for use in the design of tall buildings, has the potential to reduce a building’s carbon footprint by as much as 39 to 52 percent over conventional structural materials, such as steel and concrete.
The selected Accelerator projects feature leading teams with deep expertise in sustainable development, design, and construction, and a proven commitment to achieving Boston’s carbon-neutral goals:
- Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment—Leggat McCall Properties (LMP) on behalf of the Bunker Hill Housing triparty development team with Stantec: one six-story affordable housing building and one nine-story mixed-income building
- 18-32 Spice Street—RISE with CBT Architects: proposed 24-story building with 365 residential units including 20 percent affordable
- Longwood Place—Skanska USA Commercial Development with Sasaki: a mixed-use development with three high-rise commercial buildings and two high-rise residential buildings
Awardees receive a $25,000 grant as well as technical assistance from WoodWorks, a nonprofit committed to providing free resources and technical support regarding the use and advancement of mass timber.
“This second round of the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator will build on the successes of the first,” said BSA President Andrea Love FAIA. “Advancing climate adaptation is one of the BSA’s main focuses, and we’re excited to continue our partnership with the City of Boston to reach Boston’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.”
“Our team is eager to leverage this opportunity to work with the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator and partners to explore the potential applicability of mass timber on residential buildings as well as life science and commercial uses, which represent a significant portion of Boston’s new and proposed buildings,” said Carolyn Desmond, Vice President of Development, Skanska USA Commercial Development’s Boston market. “We are excited for the incredible opportunity to create a healthier, more resilient built environment.”
With buildings accounting for the vast majority of carbon emissions in urban settings, meeting the city’s ambitious goal of getting to carbon neutral by 2050 necessitates exploration and testing of new building materials and methods. Launched in 2021 by the BPDA, with funding from the USDA Forest Service, the Softwood Lumber Board, and the ClimateWorks Foundation, the Boston Mass Timber Accelerator program provides technical assistance to projects on the use and benefits of mass timber as a building material. The program’s goal is to advance the use of mass timber in New England and beyond.
The BSA is a lead partner on the Accelerator program, serving as convenor of this work and lessons learned by offering educational sessions and hosting roundtables and gatherings to discuss design considerations and carbon-reduction findings. Final presentations and summary findings from the first round of projects can be viewed on the BSA website, as can profiles of the 2023 awarded projects.