“We’re thinking about reimagining our system in a way that creates healthy, resilient and vibrant communities.”
Massachusetts ranks number one in the nation for “green” building development. The ranking is based on what’s known as LEED certification, which is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, judging factors related to health, efficiency and cost savings.
A report by the U.S. Green Building Council shows the Commonwealth has 96 green buildings totaling more than 26,000 square feet.
Monique Owens, mid-Atlantic and New England regional director for the council, said one of the most impressive local designs is the Saugus Middle School.
“They’ve been able to ensure that air quality is important, and it’s clean for students that are learning, or utilizing that space,” Owens pointed out.
Sited less than 300 feet from a busy six-lane highway, the school still manages to provide fresh air through a ventilation system which is 20% more effective than a standard system, while also using less energy, earning it LEED Platinum status.
Many of the Commonwealth’s colleges and universities have libraries or performance centers topping the green buildings list, along with more well-known sites like the Atlantic Wharf, which is considered Boston’s first green skyscraper.
Logan Malik, interim executive director of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network, said in a state with some of the nation’s oldest buildings, opportunities to improve air quality and energy efficiency are everywhere.
“You know, we’re thinking about reimagining our system in a way that creates healthy, resilient and vibrant communities,” Malik noted. “That makes our Commonwealth stronger.”
Malik added he hopes lawmakers will consider a proposed $300 million Zero Carbon Renovation Fund to jump-start improvements to existing buildings with low-carbon materials, on-site renewable energy and electrification. It would also focus on disadvantaged urban communities facing greater pollution and health concerns.
Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.