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Innovation: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

© HNTB
By Katrina Miaoulis, LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, WELL AP
March 22, 2017

In May of 2016, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) was certified LEED Silver for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance by the U.S. Green Building Council. This award distinguishes the facility as one of the largest buildings in New England and among a handful of convention centers in the world to be awarded LEED certification. Vanderweil successfully led the project team through this certification, returning to the BCEC years after completing the MEP design for the building.

Vanderweil’s Building Performance Group evaluated the current building operations: mechanical, electrical, and plumbing components as well as purchasing policies, site and waste management, and energy use. Seeking to achieve LEED certification and expand upon the sustainability goals of the Convention Center, Vanderweil introduced numerous energy conservation measures, innovative policies, and ongoing testing plans. These actions span multiple facets of what makes the BCEC a sustainably run and maintained building. Some include:

Sustainable transit

  • Electric Vehicles: installed eight EV charging stations.
  • Bicycling: has two onsite Hubway terminals, covered bike racks and secure bike storage.
  • Community Connectivity: Lawn on D allows for gathering in an outdoor public space

Recycling

  • Recycling and Composting Program: nearly 50% diversion of total waste, totaling 600 tons per year
  • Conventions C.A.R.E Program: donates unused items (office products, furniture, event bags, lanyards, etc.) at the end of events to schools, charities, churches and other organizations.
  • Food Donation: donated over 30 tons of food to Greater Boston Food Bank, New England Center for Homeless Veterans and Boston Rescue Mission in FY 2016.
  • Food Waste and Compostable Flatware: the BCEC and Hynes Convention Center sent 263 tons to a local farm to be composted in 2015. Their hauler is Save That Stuff.
  • Electronic Waste: has a designated e-waste collection area. Uses the Big Green Box program to recycle batteries. Recycles electrical and internet cables.

Energy

  • Energy Offset: 100% of energy consumption is offset through certified RECs and verified carbon offsets
  • Lighting Controls: installed controls in all meeting rooms that turn off lights when the rooms are unoccupied.
  • Stairwell Lighting: installed dimmable ballasts in the emergency stairwells that reduce light levels by 90% until they are activated.
  • LED Tubes: replacing 4-foot fluorescent lights in the entire facility with LED's.
  • Energy Efficient Operations: they reduce lighting and HVAC when exhibitors are setting up and breaking down their exhibits. 

Water

  • Water Efficiency: in all potable water fixtures
  • Cooling Tower Water Management Plan
  • Water Efficiency Economic Assessment Policy

Indoor Air Quality

  • Audit: conducted an I-BEAM Audit (IAQ Building Education and Assessment Model) and made several changes that improved indoor air quality.
  • Green Cleaning: uses electrolyzed water for general cleaning. Their floor cleaning machines use Tennant ec-H2O Technology, which converts water into a cleaning solution, too.

Green Procurement

  • Cleaning and Paper Products: are Green Seal certified.
  • Food and Beverage: sources much of its food from Massachusetts.

This certification process required an intensive and adaptive effort from Vanderweil’s BPG to lead the project team to success, and ensure that the building is operating as efficiently as possible. Because of this feat, the BCEC has been selected as the venue for Greenbuild 2017, USGBC’s annual green building conference. Professionals from around the globe will gather in the building that Vanderweil “greened”, which is a great honor.