Friday, March 27, 2015

Post-Occupancy Analysis Tracks Energy and Water Usage at Eustis Street Fire House

Dee Spiro is Director of Sustainability at Bergmeyer Associates Inc. in Boston. She led the Eustis Street Fire House’s final certification for obtaining LEED Silver certification in 2013. Bergmeyer released a report on energy usage in the 3 years since occupancy this week.

When Bergmeyer Associates, Inc., as architect for the rehabilitation of the historic Eustis Street Fire House, completed the LEED Silver certified project in 2011 we knew that the building was a singular project and that Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) was a rare type of client. What we didn’t know then, however, was that HBI and the Fire House would also provide us with our first post occupancy evaluation (POE) opportunity.

In 2014, Bergmeyer launched a POE pilot program and was looking for clients who would let us to track their energy and water use data in order to help us to evaluate the effectiveness of projects’ design elements and sustainable strategies. With two full years of operational data, the Fire House was an ideal candidate. We used the WegoWise software platform to analyze data for the entire building and for each tenant individually.

We found that the actual Baseline Year building energy use was only 3% higher than the LEED energy model prediction and 5% less than that of similar buildings in the New England census region. Overall building energy use increased by approximately 10% during Year 2. While gas use held fairly steady between the Baseline Year and Year 2, increasing by only 4%, electricity use was up 14%.

The tenant-to-owner analysis found that the tenant used more than twice as much gas as HBI during the Baseline Year and more than three times as much during Year 2. Electricity use between the two offices was very similar, with HBI using approximately 1,500 kWh more than the tenant during the Baseline Year. During Year 2, both HBI and tenant electricity use increased, resulting in a difference of only 71 kWh between the two offices.

Why Neighbors Care: Preservation of the Dearborn School Matters to Roxbury

Carl Todisco lives in Roxbury and is a member of the Mount Pleasant Avenue Neighborhood Association.

As many people know from the news coverage and public meetings, the Dearborn School in Roxbury is threatened with demolition. Roxbury loses if the historic school building on Greenville Street is demolished.

As neighbors, we expect high quality schools for the children in our neighborhoods. But serving our children and saving our history are not mutually exclusive. Both of these goals should be met. Do we want our young people growing up in a world where culturally meaningful buildings are thrown away in a rush to make temporary solutions? Or do we want our children to witness a good example of their adults taking time in a rational, community-driven process to review competing interests and reach consensus?

The Dearborn School stands as a strong statement of the cohesive neighborhood fabric. The Dearborn School has historical significance and also anchors the intact fabric of not one, but two National Register Historical Districts – the Moreland Street Historic District and the Mount Pleasant Street Historic District. So much in Roxbury has been lost to the forces of change and the destructions of Urban Renewal, in particular its civic buildings. By preserving this building we stand up for the value of our neighborhoods and the collective history these structures represent.

By preserving the building, we commemorate the history of women in Boston. The Dearborn’s majestic exterior with carvings and columns defines its important original mission—to educate girls. It has high ceilings, large windows, solid masonry, and Beaux Arts design that bear out this monumental, progressive purpose for which it was designed by the distinguished architect Julius Schweinfurth. Opened in 1912 as the High School of Practical Arts, it was the first public vocational high school for girls in the Commonwealth. The school stands as a reminder that Boston was at the forefront of the movement to educate girls and prepare them for civic and vocational roles outside of the home.

A Reunion to Celebrate LEED Certification at Eustis Street Fire House

Photo L-R: Austin Blackmon, City of Boston; Sheila Dillon, City of Boston; Kathy Kottaridis, HBI; Ira Baline, Bergmeyer ; Lisa Lewis, HBI; Brian Goosens, Lee Kennedy Co.; Noelle Muller, Lee Kennedy Co.,; Dee Spiro, Bergmeyer; and Jeffrey Morgan, HBI.

Member’s of HBI’s development team for the 2011 rehabilitation of the Eustis Street Fire House gathered recently to recognize the project’s LEED Silver certification with installation of a marker at the building.

HBI staff were joined by Ira Baline and Dee Spiro from project architect Bergmeyer Associates, and Brian Goosens and Noelle Muller from contractor Lee Kennedy Company.
The project team also welcomed two key partners from the City of Boston: Chief of Housing, Sheila Dillon, and the City’s Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space, Austin Blackmon. The City of Boston helped finance the project and provided critical guidance and support on historic preservation, archeology and energy savings.

A program of the US Green Buildings Council, LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices for energy conservation. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. The Eustis Street Fire House achieved LEED Silver certification in 2013.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Historic Buildings and Beer Brewing Traditions Go Well Together; Craft Brew Cellar retail outlet to open in the rehabilitated Roslindale MBTA Substation

It’s been years in the “re-making” – not too unlike the crafting of a good beer. The Roslindale Village MBTA Substation, currently being redeveloped by the Peregrine Group in partnership with HBI and Roslindale Village Main Street after decades of abandonment, will be home to Craft Beer Cellar, a retail business selling traditional craft beer. Owners Bryan Reeves and Marty Alvares-Reeves have signed a Letter of Intent to open a retail outlet on the ground floor. They will join Chris Douglass, owner of Tavolo and Ashmont Grill, who will be opening a destination restaurant on the main floor. Both have an anticipated open date of winter 2015.

Craft brewing and microbreweries have experienced a revolution in New England in recent years. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is home to nearly 50 craft breweries. Craft Beer Cellar’s focus is on outstanding beer with rich flavor. According to their website, Craft Beer Cellar is a family of independently owned craft and beer retail stores that spotlights really good beer. Their mission is to “drive the growth and awareness of craft beer through hospitality, education, and support of exceptional beer.” They promise a great craft beer selection and very knowledgeable staff -- an excellent addition to the retail offerings of an already burgeoning fine food culture for which Roslindale is becoming known.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mattapan Below the Surface

You may have seen a recent post about the 3D laser scanning of the 1786 Fowler Clark House in Mattapan. That effort by Feldman Land Surveyors generated a terrific film of the building as it currently stands that will help us to accurately measure the building’s dimensions and document conditions.

More recently, the Fiske Center for Archeological Research at UMass Boston generated this video describing how similar subsurface laser scanning is helping to document anything that may lie beneath the surface of the open space at the Fowler Clark Farm. It shows how the work is conducted and why it is useful for archeology and project planning.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wine Gallery Opens in Historic Hayden Building; A market indicator of successful business district revitalization

The Wine Gallery recently opened its third retail outlet in HBI’s Hayden Building at 681 Washington Street located in the Chinatown-Theater District area of Boston. It is a boutique wine and spirits shop that strives to have something for everyone. They specialize in eclectic and rare wines to fit any budget. They have a heavy emphasis in local craft beers from Harpoon and Sam Adams to the tiniest of nano-breweries like Brewmaster Jack and Cody Brewing and they carry products from every distillery in Massachusetts as well as small batch spirits from around the world.

The Hayden Building, once a feature of the “Combat Zone” of Boston, was redeveloped by HBI and opened in 2013. Recent and on-going development in the district is adding a considerable number of new housing units to the area which speaks to the significant turnaround of the neighborhood and creates the market needed to support businesses like The Wine Gallery. HBI spoke with Proprietor Igor Ostrovsky recently after opening the store who said, “We are very excited to join the neighborhood and look forward to providing great selection and service to the community for many years to come.”

The Wine Gallery is a great addition to this transforming urban neighborhood of Boston and HBI is pleased to have been a part of helping to steward this new business into a revitalized urban business district.

Please join us in welcoming Igor and The Wine Gallery to the Chinatown-Theater District of Boston. Stay tuned for his official grand opening. But in the meantime, stop in the store and check them out, and follow their website for special events to come.

Readmore about the rediscovery of the Hayden Building – H.H. Richardson’s last remaining commercial building in Boston.