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Feb 13, 2014 | Insights

Going Green: Tips from the NonProfit Center

Center Receives LEED™ Certification

The NonProfit Center, developed by TSNE as a “green” building and home to many of Boston’s progressive social change nonprofit organizations, 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. The NonProfit Center is one of a few locations in Boston 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 was originally constructed in 1899 when it served as a cornerstone for Boston’s Leather District. Built in the “Classic Revival” style, the center is listed in National Register of Historic Places. When purchasing the building in 2004, TSNE committed to preserving architectural details that embody the building’s past, but also restoring 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 these objectives. Specific environmental initiatives at the NonProfit Center include:

  • Use of occupancy sensors to monitor overhead lighting
  • Use of recycled-content furniture, flooring and ceiling materials
  • Recent installation of a high-efficiency heating, ventilating and air conditioning system
  • Three-stream recycling services throughout building
  • Use of paints, carpets, adhesives and sealants with no or low levels of volatile organic compounds
  • 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 NonProfit Center to qualify for LEED certification.

Greening Your Work Environment

The center encourages organizations to look to improve their work places and processes with the environment in mind. Possible strategies for greening your workspace include:

  • Improve recycling efforts for paper, plastic, aluminum and other materials to reduce your office waste. If you are in Massachusetts, you can find potential recycling service providers in your organization’s neighborhood, through WasteCap’s “Recycling Services Directory.” The directory lists over 400 vendors who accept, collect or purchase recyclable materials from Massachusetts communities and businesses. It provides links to help those of you outside of the Commonwealth to find resources in your own area.

  • Buy office papers with postconsumer recycled content. In spite of recent advances in communications technologies, office paper remains a high-use item in most organizations. Manufacturing of office paper requires heavy use of energy, water and wood, while generating air and water pollution and waste. Purchasing paper products containing postconsumer content makes a difference. For more information, see the many resources made available by Conservatree.

  • Reduce energy consumption. Energy conservation benefits our environment and your organization’s bottom line. For more information about conserving energy at work, contact your contracted utility.

Providing a Healthy Environment

The NonProfit Center in Boston currently provides space to a diverse group of nearly 30 tenant organizations that include Chef’s Collaborative and South Africa Partners. Many non-tenant nonprofit organizations also participate in the center’s programs and use its conference rooms and meeting spaces. All are able to enjoy the comfortable, healthy environment created through “green” building practices.

TSNE’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.

And TSNE is continually looking for ways to make the center even more green efficient. For example, according to TSNE Executive Director Jonathan Spack, TSNE is closely watching the development of cutting-edge bio-diesel heating and cooling technology that could be brought to the NonProfit Center. “We have many restaurants as our neighbors,” he explains. “We could re-use some of the cooking oil to power our building. The technology is at least one to two years away from practical use, but we’re ready once the technology is ready.”

Building Community

Working in concert with tenants, community residents, the local government and other stakeholders, we look forward to continuing to develop environmental programs that enhance our building, our neighborhood and our larger community.

To learn more about TSNE’s NonProfit Center, its environmental management, programs and services, please contact us at info@nonprofitcenterboston.org.