Jun 22, 11
With its exposed plywood floors, sub-basement “dungeon” workspace, and clean energy prototypes strewn over two floors, GreenTown Labs, the newest addition to the Innovation District’s growing cleantech cluster is crackling with energy, optimism, product development, and talent. The space conjures up decade-old images of Boston’s dot.com start ups – the interiors and appointments a shade closer to ReadyMade than Dwell - but the young faces, collaborative vibe, and innovative products are everywhere, and the smattering of older suits (okay, I was wearing one too) circulating through the crowd at last night’s ribbon cutting prove that Boston’s business class is taking notice. (Boston law firm Hinckley, Allen & Snyder is GreenTown Lab’s legal sponsor and a key supporter.)
If there were a biofuel shuttle between MIT and the Innovation District, GreenTown Labs would be the first stop. Structured as a non-profit, built on strategic partnerships and considerable bootstrapping, GTL essentially serves as affordable housing for cleantech entrepreneurs who can’t pay the lease rates in Kendall Square but appreciate the Innovation District’s proximity to the mothership, Boston’s venture community, and the District’s sustainability and living lab constructs. The founding members who made the leap across the river have been joined by other incubator occupants including wind and solar power developers, a home energy management system venture, various energy efficiency start ups, and a green trade association, among others.
Boston Mayor Menino said it best before he cut the ribbon: “there are a lot of great companies in Boston, but your companies are growing” and he added, “you know, one of the companies here might become the next big company, the one that everyone recognizes around the kitchen table.”
We all look forward to watching GreenTown Labs, and its member companies grow and thrive in Boston’s Innovation District.
Newmarket Eco-Industrial Zone Project
Businesses and manufacturers throughout Boston are implementing broad sustainability measures to both green their facilities and reduce energy operating costs. While most may not have the capital to design and build a new energy efficient LEED certified building, many with strong sustainability goals have begun deploying energy efficiency improvements in fleet operations, lighting, water conservation, pollution prevention, and hvac and compressor equipment for refrigeration units.
Katsiroubas Bros., a wholesale produce distributor in the Newmarket District recently identified a series of solutions to reduce the electrical demands of their operation by replacing all of the lights to lower wattage and higher output which reduced usage by 92,972 kilowatts annually with a savings of $13,640.00 projected per year. By increasing insulation levels in their refrigerated trucks and installing idle-free systems that shut off automatically after 15 minutes their entire fleet has reduced fuel usage considerably. Katsiroubas Bros. has also increased their regional and local purchasing of produce from the Pioneer Valley Association, a group of 40 local farmers, while their green management team has begun tracking improvements on water, energy and trash usage throughout the entire business.
Here’s a link to Katsiroubos Bros. improvements-
Over the next six months the BRA’s Newmarket Eco- Industrial Zone Project funded through an EPA Sustainable Skyline’s grant will explore proven strategies for area businesses to increase building energy efficiency and facilitate the adoption of district-scale energy solutions including; combined heat and power (CHP), geothermal heating and biomass. Anti-idyling and plug-in solutions will be explored for the business district to reduce emissions from truck fleets, while cool and green roof solutions for targeted shading from street trees and awnings will be adopted to reduce urban heat islands. Stormwater management and asphalt coverage data will be compiled to identify district-wide strategies to reduce discharges into Fort Point Channel.
The creation of an eco-industrial zone will be a critical step in implementing district-scale synergies between businesses which will reduce their operating costs and make them more competitive as a sustainable model of economic growth for the city of the future.
The Eco- Industrial Park model was first implemented in the Kalundborg Eco-Industrial Park in Denmark where local manufacturers share resources through industrial symbiosis. At the heart of the project is a coal fired power plant which provides excess heat to 3500 homes, as well as a local fish farm whose waste sludge is then sold as fertilizer. By-products from the power plant scrubbers are used for a local gypsum manufacturer and the utilization of the excess heat prevents it from being discharged into the local fjord. Additionally other waste materials including fly-ash from the power plant are used in road construction and cement production.
More updates on this groundbreaking project to come…
Response to the Green Triple Decker demonstration project has been significant. Many applicants share the same questions. I’d like to clarify a few issues here as many inquiries have focused on applicant eligibility and the application timeline.
While we are very excited about creating a model for deep energy retrofit work in Boston’s historic triple decker housing style, this program is not for everyone. The on-line application describes the program eligibility criteria. Please read and carefully consider these criteria.
In brief, the program will provide up to $27,000 per structure for energy efficiency work that meets the program’s aggressive energy performance standards, but homeowner applicants must be prepared to provide the balance of the project funding with cash or financing. Total project costs may vary considerably, as structures will likely provide highly variable energy efficiency retrofit challenges. The homeowner’s share of the project could range from $25,000 to $75,000, or more depending on the scope of work. Work scopes will be developed jointly with our program partners, NSTAR, National Grid, and Energy Star.
Owner occupants, owner investors, and condo associations are all eligible to apply.
With regard to the selection process, given the response to date, the program will likely stop accepting applications early next week. Applications will be reviewed. Ineligible applicants will be removed from process. Eight to ten finalists will be chosen based on application strength and applicant readiness to proceed, while considering project location (we are seeking applicants from multiple neighborhoods). Applicants will be interviewed and five finalists chosen.
If you learn that this project is not a good fit for you, you may want to explore a new residential energy efficiency program sponsored by the City called Renew Boston.
Thank you for your interest in this program and your commitment to residential energy efficiency.
The BRA board last night voted to expand the Green Triple Decker program from 2 to 5 structures, and approved release of a Request For Proposals (RFP) to identifya project manager to administer an eco-industrial zone project in Boston’s Newmarket business district. The expansion of the Triple Decker project will allow us to better identify energy efficiency best practices in one of Boston’s most historic and culturally signficant housing typologies. Together with our utility partners and ICF International, we’ll learn more about how to dramatically improve energy performance in both occupied, and unoccupied structures, and how to best balance historic preservation concerns with energy efficiency.
The Newmarket Eco-Industrial Zone project, funded by a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable Skylines program, will provide money saving sustainable business technical assistance to area businesses and fund district scale energy efficiency and renewable energy feasibility studies among other goals.