SPECIAL REPORT: Boston “LEEDs by Example” with Green Building Initiatives

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorBoston–As the first major U.S. city to mandate green building guidelines for private developments, the city of Boston is looking toward the future with a number of additional eco-friendly initiatives, as well as setting a standard which other cities can follow.Boston is leading by example in terms of energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building, urban forestry and recycling, explained James Hunt, III, the chief of environmental and energy services for the city of Boston, at the 2008 AIA National Convention which ends May 17.In addition to the standard LEED points, the city of Boston has already implemented its own green building credits: the “Modern Grid Credit” for the use of on-site electrical power and heat generation, a “Historic Preservation Credit” for adaptive reuse of historic buildings, the “Groundwater Recharge Credit” for groundwater conservation and the “Modern Mobility Credit” for transit-oriented developments.In addition to signing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, Thomas Menino, the mayor of Boston, has announced the city’s goal of planting 100,000 trees by 2020. Most recently, Menino announced Solar Boston, a $500,000 initiative to bring solar energy to as many rooftops as possible.“We have ambitious policies on how we are going to green our city,” said Kairos Shen, the chief planner of the Boston Redevelopment Agency (BRA). These policies include an energy protocol, which would mandate that developers must report how much energy their projects will use, a compliance of wind zoning and ground water protection. Following a model of New York’s tax credits, the city of Boston will employ incentives such as tax credits to help those who are doing more to green the city.“We don’t want other cities to just adopt what we did; we want them to do what’s right for the city,” said Hunt.