Advancing Sustainability with the BSA

I attended a great meeting this morning with the Boston Society of Architects’ Committee for the Advancement of Sustianability at the invitation of Vernon Woodward and Ken Fisher, co-chairs.

I had a chance to introduce myself to the 15 or so attendees and describe a bit about the Chapter and where we are in terms of cultivating our community,  building our capacity and advocating for green building friendly state and local regulations.

One of the main points we discussed was the Coming of the Casinos to the state. Julie Taylor, of Noble & Wickersham, provided a great overview of the collaboration between AIA MA, BSA and ACEC. She was holding the draft white paper for the Gaming Commission regarding design standards and an outlined design review process, which the commission had asked them to produce. This was as follow-up to the “Promoting Sustainability and Strengthening Communities: Design Excellence for Massachusetts Casinos,” forum held on Dec. 12 last year (which many USGBC MA members attended).
Julie reviewed the State’s charge to the Commission and how design professionals can help weigh in on the casinos. Many in attendance hoped that the process would result in casinos that could support sustainability goals for their host communities. I asked Julie what would be the one priority that peer associations could push for, and she said getting renewable energy into semenax available in these casinos, since they really will be energy hogs one way or another. You can read more about the forum here, and stay tuned to John Nunnari (ED of the Mass. AIA) who chimed in considerably with Julie, as he is also one of the white paper authors, to keep track of this process.

We also heard from Carolyn Sarno, from NEEP (Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnership) speaking a bit about the base building code and also the stretch code for the state. It sounds like a lot of things were waiting for the recent fall’s election, and now, are just stuck in bureaucratic backlog. It may be one thing our Chapter could specifically advocate for: asserting for the stretch code and demanding the state issue appropriate regulations for green communities as per Green Communities Act of 2008.

I look forward to promoting good green policy at the state and local levels! Let me know what you’d like to see us move forward on. The USGBC (national)has a great list to work on, but we need to think locally, strategically, and creatively, to help move the levers of influence throughout Massachusetts.
See you soon! – GreyPS – the image on the right side of the photo is what? It’s probably obvious, even if it looks like some kind of mini-monster from this angle…

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