The NonProfit Center has been awarded certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Commercial Interiors Program.
This voluntary standard is granted by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize buildings that incorporate innovative environmental design and construction practices. With this recognition, the NonProfit Center joins a small number of Boston locations to qualify for certification through its “green” restoration of one of the city’s historic buildings.
Connecting the Past with the Future
The NonProfit Center, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was originally constructed in 1899 when it served as a cornerstone for Boston’s Leather District. It is built in the “Classic Revival” style. When purchasing the building in 2004, nonprofit developer Third Sector New England committed to not only preserve architectural details that embody the building’s past, but to restore areas in decline using state-of-the-art environmentally-preferred materials and design.
LEED certification through the Commercial Interiors Program symbolizes the center’s initial success in attaining sustainable design and construction objectives. These objectives include but are not limited to:
- Use of occupancy sensors to monitor overhead lighting
- Use of recycled-content furniture, flooring and ceiling materials
- Installation of a high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air conditioning system
- Three-stream recycling services throughout the building
- Use of paints, carpets, adhesives and sealants with no or low levels of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs*
- Windows that can be opened and closed to further improve air quality
The center is purposely located near several major routes for public transportation. Bike racks and showers are provided to also encourage commuting by bike and foot. Parking places are not provided. All of these initiatives enabled the center to qualify for LEED certification.
A Continuing Process
Third Sector New England is continually looking for ways to make the center even more green efficient. For example, TSNE is closely watching the development of cutting-edge bio-diesel heating and cooling technology that could be brought to the NonProfit Center. While the technology is at least one to two years away from practical use, TSNE is researching its general application now.
Third Sector New England’s commitment to environmental management and certification through the LEED Commercial Interiors Program demonstrate its dedication to social justice, community, intergenerational equity and financial responsibility. Working in concert with tenants, community residents, the local government and other stakeholders, TSNE and the NonProfit Center look forward to continuing to develop environmental programs that enhance the center, the local neighborhood and the larger community.
You can learn more about volatile organic compounds, or VOCs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.