Environment Massachusetts, Congressman James McGovern, and State Legislators Take a Tour of Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Energy Efficient Residence Hall

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Ben Wright

Environment Massachusetts

Worcester, MA – Today, Congressman James McGovern, State Representatives James O’Day, Vincent Pedone, and John Mahoney, Environment Massachusetts, Gilbane Building Company, and representatives from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) gathered to tour WPI’s energy efficient and sustainable residence hall, East Hall. East Hall was built in accordance with the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards; its construction demonstrates the feasibility as well as the environmental and economic advantages of energy efficient building design.


Massachusetts’ buildings are the largest source of energy consumption in the Commonwealth, responsible for 54% of Massachusetts’ total energy usage. Environment Massachusetts has drafted legislation with State Senator Jamie Eldridge that would improve building efficiency by setting Massachusetts building codes to be incrementally more energy efficient than the most up-to-date IECC (International Energy Conservation Code) codes, culminating in 100% efficiency (or zero net-energy buildings) by 2030. “Building energy efficiency is the least expensive and most effective way to reduce our dependence on dirty and dangerous sources of energy and protect our public health,” said Audrey Richardson, Clean Energy Associate with Environment Massachusetts.


East Hall is a great example of building energy efficiency. The residence hall was awarded LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. As a result of East Hall’s efficiency design, the building uses 32% less water and consumes 30% less energy than other similarly sized residence halls. East Hall contains many windows; all that are positioned to reduce the need for artificial lighting and electricity by taking advantage of natural sunlight. The building’s roof is made of EnergyStar roofing and is lined with approximately 5,000 square feet of sedum, chives, and others plants, the city of Worcester’s first “living green roof”. East Hall’s roof is also used by the faculty and students from WPI’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to study stormwater quality and flow rate.


“WPI is committed to sustainability, and East Hall serves as a testament to that commitment,” said WPI President Dennis Berkey. “In addition to providing beautiful living space, this building has also afforded our students and faculty with outstanding research and learning opportunities. We are delighted that it is being held up as a model for sustainable building design here in Massachusetts.”


Congressman James McGovern is a strong proponent of clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. “I believe that that promoting renewable, sustainable energy in our district is not only good environmental policy, it is part of creating the innovative jobs and industries of the future. “


Representative Jim O’Day of the 14th Worcester district praised WPI’s green practices. “Putting energy efficiency into practice must not be a wave of the future but a practice of today. At WPI, students are investing in this practice by making some of their most utilized buildings energy efficient,” said Representative O’Day. “We are certainly fortunate to have a university like WPI willing to champion this green initiative. I hope that we are always able to work together, and that WPI students continue to contribute their skills to the betterment of the city and to the Commonwealth at large by calling Worcester home.”


Representative John Mahoney of the 13th Worcester district also applauded the steps that WPI has taken towards sustainability and building efficiency, “I commend WPI for taking a strong leadership role in renewable and sustainable energy innovation,” said Rep. Mahoney. “This is the future, and thanks to WPI, Worcester is poised to lead the way.”


“Over 90% of our energy comes from dangerous and dirty energy sources”, said Richardson. “It is imperative that we eliminate wasteful energy consumption by improving building energy efficiency through stronger building codes. This will reduce global warming causing pollution while protecting the public health of Massachusetts’ residents.”