For Immediate Release - September 26, 2013

Patrick Administration Celebrates First LEED Platinum Certification at State Facility

LAWRENCE - Patrick Administration officials today celebrated the Commonwealth's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for a state facility at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's (MassDEP) recently renovated and expanded Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station. 

"Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in cutting-edge environmental innovations, and the LEED Platinum designation for our Wall Experiment Station shows that we walk-the-walk when it comes to sustainable development," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "With its solar panels, rain-water recycling and electric vehicle charging stations, this laboratory is a model for other facilities to come."

"The Patrick Administration has established some of the most ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency goals in the nation, and the commitment is paying off," said Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Mark Sylvia. "Massachusetts is ranked number one in energy efficiency and our clean energy sector is booming, with 11.8 percent growth in just the last year. We will continue to lead by example, making state facilities more sustainable, reducing our energy costs and leaving a cleaner Commonwealth for generations to come."

Shown (l-r) with the LEED Platinum plaque are: Franklin Fernandez of Rep. Marcos Dever’s office; U.S. EPA New England Lab Director Art Johnston; DOER Lead By Example Program Director Eric Friedman; MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell; WES Lab Director Oscar Pancorbo; DCAMM Director Hope Davis; U.S. Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter Executive Director Grey Lee; and Rep. Frank Moran.

In 2011, a $30 million upgrade transformed the environmental laboratory into a state-of-the art "green" building that is able to handle the complex testing protocols required by today's environmental laboratory sciences.

The LEED Platinum upgrades include: a 52.5 kilowatt solar photo-voltaic system for on-site renewable energy production; use of the existing site as a Brownfield redevelopment; use of rain gardens and detention basins for better management of storm water; water-efficient landscaping; a rain-water reclamation system; optimized energy performance, designed to reduce energy use by 21 percent over the LEED building baseline and estimated savings of more than $50,000; windows that allow daylight into 75 percent of the space; and two electric vehicle charging stations. 

The Wall Experiment Station is Massachusetts' principal drinking water laboratory. At the facility, 15,000 lab analyses of contaminants in water, wastewater, air, soil, hazardous waste, fish and other samples are performed annually.

The Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) joined MassDEP in leading the laboratory upgrade project, turning the historic facility into a modern, 35,000-square-foot green lab.

"DCAMM is pleased to have been able to partner with MassDEP, our design and construction teams and many architects who worked hard to ensure a LEED Platinum designation for the new Senator William X. Wall Experiment Station," said DCAMM Commissioner Carole Cornelison. "The energy efficiency and water management upgrades used in the construction of this new laboratory are in keeping with the Patrick Administration's efforts to build cutting-edge, energy-efficient buildings to provide significant cost savings to the Commonwealth." 

"EPA commends Massachusetts on this significant accomplishment," said Art Johnson, acting director of U.S. EPA's New England Regional Laboratory. "EPA achieved LEED Gold status in 2003 for our Regional Laboratory in Chelmsford, but that was a new construction project on a site with few constraints. What Massachusetts has done to achieve LEED Platinum status at a renovated National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark brings sustainable development to a new level."

Constructing "green" buildings is an integral part of Governor Patrick's Leading by Example (LBE) Program. LBE was established in 2007 by Governor Patrick's Executive Order No. 484, which set aggressive energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals and renewable energy goals for state government operations: 

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2012 and 40 percent by 2020;
  • Reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2012 and 35 percent by 2020; and, 
  • Obtain 15 percent of total electricity from renewable sources by 2012 and 30 percent by 2020.

Executive Order No. 484 also established the Mass. LEED Plus building standard for new buildings and major renovations. Mass. LEED Plus requires any new project over 20,000 square feet to obtain LEED certification and go beyond LEED requirements in several categories, including energy and water conservation. Through Mass. LEED Plus and other efforts, the LBE Program works with all state agencies to reduce energy use and costs, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize the overall environmental impacts associated with the operation of state facilities.

There are currently 29 LEED-certified buildings in the state portfolio of buildings, 28 of which were certified since Governor Patrick took office. In January, the Patrick Administration announced the state's Accelerated Energy Program (AEP), which aims to reduce energy consumption by 20-25 percent over 700 state sites, creating about 4,000 clean energy jobs and saving the Commonwealth an estimated $43 million annually. AEP will significantly reduce the current annual consumption of more than 800 million kilowatt hours of electricity, 12 million gallons of heating oil, 55 million therms of natural gas, and emissions of more than 800,000 tons of greenhouse gases, which represent more than 4,000 buildings and 58 million square feet. The program will save an estimated 135,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, the equivalent of removing 26,000 vehicles from the road per year.

"I am proud to see the state leading the way in energy efficiency," said state Senator Barry Finegold. "This project is a great example of the savings that can be made when we are thoughtful about how our buildings are designed."

"I am delighted to see the Commonwealth's first LEED Platinum certification of a state building happen right here in Lawrence," said state Representative Diana DiZoglio. "I look forward to seeing first-hand the fantastic renovations that have been conducted on this facility." 

"It is very exciting that the most environmentally and energy-efficient building in the state of Massachusetts is in Lawrence," said state Representative Frank Moran. "This initiative that has transformed the old state environmental laboratory into a state-of-the-art 'green' building is the kind of revitalization that should serve as a model for future projects in this city."

LEED is a U.S. Green Building Council program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification in various categories that address issues around siting, materials, indoor air quality, energy, waste and water, among others.

"The LEED Platinum Wall Experiment Station is an energizing example of how project teams and funders can come together to express exemplary green design and green building achievement," said Grey Lee, executive director of the Massachusetts Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. "The U.S. Green Building Council is thrilled to see Massachusetts move forward and demonstrate leadership with validated performance in their building portfolio. Congratulations to all involved and let's continue to make more green buildings come to life for the people of the Commonwealth."

The Lawrence Experiment Station was founded in 1887 by the Massachusetts State Board of Health as one of the first laboratories in the world dedicated to environmental research. The work conducted there laid the foundation for modern methods of wastewater treatment and drinking water purification used throughout the world. In 1975, the American Society of Civil Engineers designated the facility as a "National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark."

In 1993, the laboratory was named in honor of former state Senator William X. Wall, who represented Lawrence in the Legislature for 40 years. He had filed the bill that resulted in the construction of the original Station, which was occupied in 1954.