Green Developments at Cummings Properties in the News
|Landmark Commercial Development Selects ReneSola Modules for Second Project Phase
April 1, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO, California, March 15, 2013 – ReneSola Ltd ("ReneSola" or the "Company") (NYSE: SOL), a leading global manufacturer of solar photovoltaic ("PV") modules and wafers, today announced it has been contracted to provide 460 kilowatts ("kW") of its high-efficiency solar modules to Cummings Properties, one of the most prominent full-service commercial real estate development and property management organizations in Massachusetts. The solar modules will make up the rooftop solar system of Cummings Center, a two-million square foot corporate campus and retail center in Beverly, Massachusetts. This is the second project for which Cummings Center has selected ReneSola modules. The first project, built last fall, was 530 kW, bringing the total contracted by Cummings Center to nearly 1 megawatt ("MW").
ReneSola will ship 460 kW of its 305 watt (“W”) poly modules to Cummings Properties next month. Design and construction of the center’s rooftop solar system, as well as the integration of ReneSola’s solar modules, will be performed by Cummings Properties. To date, Cummings Properties has completed seven rooftop solar projects totaling approximately 1.5 MW, in addition to this most recent project.
“It’s gratifying to win a single project, but repeat business is a true indicator of a manufacturer’s quality, performance and service,” said Kevin Chen, president of ReneSola America. “We’re thrilled to be the supplier of this second installation for Cummings Properties, and we’re certain they’ll be just as pleased with this shipment as they were with the first. As a fairly new player to the U.S. solar marketplace, we’re quickly gaining significance with several high profile projects, including that of Cummings Center. We are pleased that ReneSola is becoming a trusted name among the industry’s most sophisticated and respected project developers and installers in the North and Latin America marketplaces.”
“The service, support and logistics provided by ReneSola for Cummings Center’s previous project were excellent,” said Gary Gresh, sustainability manager of Cummings Properties. “We look forward to working with ReneSola as we continue our efforts to become a more sustainable operation through the implementation and adoption of solar power.”
Cummings Properties Earns three ENERGY STAR certifications
Cummings' 10 certified properties, now including 8 Cabot Road in Woburn, 142/144 North Road in Sudbury, and 800 Cummings Center in Beverly, each outrank 75 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.
Gary Gresh, Cummings Properties' sustainability manager, said, "The environment is not the only beneficiary of energy efficiency, as Cummings' clients can experience significant savings on their operating costs."
Built in 2010, 8 Cabot Road was designed to meet LEED standards, which signify environmentally friendly design and construction. It has many "green" features, including high efficiency lighting and water source heat pumps, as well as motion sensors and variable frequency controls for its HVAC systems. The building also hosts a 30KW solar installation that produces about 50 percent of the building's common area electric load.
The Sudbury property includes 142 North Road, built in 1960, and its annex, 144 North Road, built in 2009 to LEED standards. Cummings Properties performed several energy efficiency upgrades in recent years on the original building.
One of Cummings Properties' oldest structures, 800 Cummings Center was built in 1902. Through a top-to-bottom restoration, the firm transformed this historic building, formerly part of the United Shoe Machinery Corporation complex, into a modern, energy-efficient office building. It is located within the 77-acre, award-winning Cummings Center business campus.
On May 31, Governor Deval Patrick visited Cummings Center to recognize the campus' many green features, and participate in a ribbon-cutting for its second major solar installation.
According to Gresh, these ENERGY STAR certifications would not have been possible without the partnership of NSTAR and National Grid, the buildings' electric utility providers.
Certified commercial buildings use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical buildings, and release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These environmental benefits can have a positive impact on a company's bottom line, as research shows a significant preference to work for, or do business with, organizations that employ environmentally responsible practices.
Cummings Properties has a long history of sustainable business practices, including building renovation and reuse; energy-saving design, construction, and property maintenance; utilization of recycled materials and equipment; and reduction of waste through recycling programs.
Other Cummings buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating are 500 and 900 Cummings Center in Beverly, 92 Montvale Avenue in Stoneham, 196 Boston Avenue in Medford, 18 Commerce Way in Woburn, and 370 and 420 Hemenway Street in Marlborough.
DANVERS — The roof of the Walmart on Brooksby Village Drive soon could be sporting solar panels, bringing the world's largest retailer one step closer to its goal of being 100 percent powered by renewable energy.
Last week, Walmart, announced it planned to install solar panels on 27 of its Massachusetts stores, including the one in Danvers.
"This is just an expansion of our renewable energy commitment," said Brooke Buchanan, director of sustainability communications.
Walmart is now set to become the largest solar power user in the Bay State.
Some say Walmart's embrace of solar power could be a shining example that others will follow. After all, there are few businesses bigger than Walmart, which has $444 billion in sales and 2.2 million employees.
On the North Shore, some large businesses have already warmed to solar power, including EBSCO Publishing in Ipswich and the Cummings Center in Beverly. Walmart's entry into the solar picture can only help, they say.
"They will change the world market for solar," said Steve Drohosky, vice president and general manager of the Cummings Center.
"Because of its size and visibility, Walmart is in a position to really make some noise about 'going green,' and potentially effect positive change on a larger scale," said Scott Bernier, vice president for marketing for EBSCO. "From our view, it's great to see."
In 2007 and 2008, EBSCO installed 36-kilowatt photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of two of its largest buildings. Each has 192 panels and is designed to offset 20 to 25 percent of the building's power needs, Bernier said.
"We also installed a solar-based hot water system for the company café©," he added.
The Cummings Center office complex in Beverly has solar projects in the pipeline that, when complete, are expected to generate nearly 1.5 megawatts of power. About 800 solar panels have been installed on the East Garage, 1,250 are being installed on the West Garage, and 1,600 are planned on a new North parking deck that will add 200 more spaces.
Cummings Properties is installing the panels, and the power they generate will offset the complex's power needs.
green big in upgrade of 40 buildings
WOBURN — Cummings Properties, a pioneering proponent of green practices, is continuing the commitment to sustainability for its 10-million-sf portfolio, recently completing a year-long energy efficiency project covering 40 properties. The endeavor will save tenants nearly $1 million collective dollars per year in energy costs, according to the landlord, and will conserve 5.5 million kilowatt hours annually, enough electricity to power 550 homes in that timeframe. The overhaul of nearly 15,000 light fixtures in the Woburn, Stoneham, Sudbury, and Burlington holdings—some constructed in the 1970s—is consistent with a track record of sustainable practices, Cummings officials explain, with the focus dating back to when recycling was considered cutting-edge.
“It has been a company-wide policy since our inception to re-use and recycle and to (expend) as little energy as possible,” says Gary Gresh, who has been Cummings Properties’ sustainability manager since 2008. The latest project follows completion of a similar- sized lighting retrofit at the Cummings Center in Beverly, the site of the former United Shoe Machinery Corp. and at 2 million sf one of the world's largest industrial plant recycling projects ever. Cummings is also installing a solar panel system at that campus, with phase two currently underway.
Cummings has already garnered accolades for TradeCenter 128, their property along Route 128 in Woburn which incorporates a myriad of green innovations, among them stormwater management, premium efficiency HVAC and lighting systems, a computer-controlled energy management system, and the use of high-recycled content construction materials. The most prominent green feature there is a huge grid of solar panels (1,256) which powers 40 percent of the park’s common areas. Besides the lighting improvements,Cummings recently installed variable frequency drivers in buildings with central heating and cooling systems to calibrate pump and fan speeds to match demand, says Gresh, resulting in a dramatic decrease in electrical consumption.
Cummings also incorporated another key component of sustainable practices for the lighting project, hiring closely held affiliate Atlantic Boston Construction and Woburn-based subcontractors B.F. Garvey & Sons Electrical Contractors. The projects were done in partnership with NSTAR, who provided technical assistance and financial backing. “We are pleased to have partnered with Cummings Properties on this significant energy efficiency project,” NSTAR Program Manager Augustine Pimentel says in a prepared statement, terming the opportunity to work with firms committed to reducing energy use “a pleasure” that the energy provider is hoping will inspire other owners.
The effort required a lot of coordination, Gresh recounts, but tenants were cooperative “for the most part, especially since we told them that it wasn’t going to cost them anything,” he laughs. “And most raved about the quality of the lights as well.” That sentiment was underscored by Louis Guarracina of HighRes Biosolutions, praising the landlord for minimal disruption to the work environment. “The work was done quickly and efficiently,” he says, adding, “the new fixtures produce much better light, and the fact that they have saved us money is even better."
solar panel installation at Beverly's
Beverly, Mass. — Beverly boasts an abundance of green plants and trees, but the city is taking “going green” a step further by making strides towards becoming an energy-efficient community. The city has already taken a number of steps to increase energy efficiency in Beverly, as Beverly High School now ranks among the top public high schools in Massachusetts for multiple green efforts.
Soon the high school won’t be the only building in Beverly that relies on solar energy for a portion of its electricity. The Cummings Center in Beverly has already begun construction on a supporting structure that will hold a number of solar panels above the East Garage, and the work is expected to continue through mid- to late-October, explained Cummings Properties Design Manager and Beverly resident Jim Trudeau.
“The support structure is nearing completion and the solar panels, racks and electrical inverters will arrive in two weeks,” Trudeau said.
Once active, the 235-kilowatt installation will help power a portion of Cummings Center’s common area systems, including the elevators, HVAC system and East Garage lights.Plans are also underway for a 325-kilowatt solar installation at the Cummings Center’s West Garage. All the necessary approvals are in place, Trudeau said, and the project should be completed by the end of the year, weather dependent.
“Because we design, build and own and operate our properties, we really understand the impacts of design and construction decisions on operating costs,” Trudeau said. “Cummings’ commitment to going green is a reflection of our corporate culture, which has a basis in traditional Yankee thrift and extends to our commitment to the local community through the Cummings Foundation. In a world of shared responsibility, going green is the right thing to do.”
Trudeau added, “Going green saves energy and reduces operating costs” which in the long run, benefits the community, as well as Cummings’ clients.
With a total of more than 2,000 panels, Cummings Center’s solar arrays will be among the largest in the area, producing energy equivalent to that needed to power 60 typical homes, according to Joyce Vyriotes, communication director for Cummings Properties.
The electrical inverters, combiners and monitoring equipment are all manufactured by Solectria, which is based out of Lawrence. The solar panels and support racks are to be supplied by Munro Distributors of Fall River.
This newest project is in line with Cummings Properties’ long history of sustainable business practices, explained Steve Drohosky, general manager for the Cummings Center. For nearly 20 years, Cummings has worked with National Grid and Nstar on a variety of efforts including updating thousands of light fixtures, installing specialty HVAC motors and controls and installation of premium windows and insulation throughout the building, said Trudeau.
“This project is really a continuation of what we’ve been doing for decades now,” said Drohosky. “We have a long history of recycling and saving energy. For years we’ve been doing things such as having hallway lighting switch off after hours, even in our garages. They are now motion-detected lights. [The solar installation] is really not a new initiative for us, it’s just the next part of a long project.”
Trudeau added that he hopes other businesses will follow in the Cummings Center’s green footsteps.
“Generating power locally through solar power and conservation reduces our reliance on dirtier power generating methods, improving regional air quality and the need to build additional power generation and related distribution systems,” said Trudeau. “Our commitment to green energy raises awareness of energy saving opportunities. We hope this will inspire others to pursue similar energy saving efforts such as our client Meridian & Associates’ recent installation of two electric car charging stations at Cummings Center.”
earns Energy Star certifications for 18 Commerce Way and 500 Cummings
Woburn, MA Two Cummings Properties buildings, 18 Commerce Way in Woburn and 500 Cummings Center in Beverly, have earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Energy Star certification. Cummings now has seven properties with this distinction, signifying the achievement of strict energy performance levels set by the EPA, as well as performance in the top 25% of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency.
Gary Gresh, Cummings Properties' sustainability manager, said, "Cummings has a longstanding commitment to energy efficiency. In addition to being the right thing to do for the environment, our clients save on operating costs, which helps us attract more client firms. Everyone wins."
Built in 2004, 500 Cummings Center's original design included many "green" features, including high efficiency lighting and water source heat pumps, as well as motion sensors and variable frequency drives. After a waiting period during which the necessary data to apply to Energy Star was gathered, 500 Cummings Center was awarded the certification on its first attempt.
Built in 1996, 18 Commerce Way underwent a comprehensive, three-year energy efficiency upgrade in preparation for its Energy Star evaluation. The modifications included changing all 850 lights in the building to high efficiency fixtures; installing variable frequency drives on the loop pumps and cooling tower fan; upgrading the cooling tower fan to high efficiency; installing motion sensors in the hallways; and installing a vending miser on the vending machine.
NSTAR, the building's electric utility provider, was a full partner in all of the improvements at 18 Commerce Way. According to Gresh, this Energy Star certification would not have been possible without NSTAR's support.
Commercial buildings that earn the certification use an average of 35% less energy than typical buildings and release 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These environmental benefits can have a positive impact on a company's bottom line, as research shows significant portions of the population prefer to work for or do business with organizations they perceive to be environmentally responsible.
Cummings Props. has a long history of sustainable business practices including building renovation and reuse; energy-saving design, construction, and property maintenance; utilization of recycled materials and equipment; and reduction of waste through recycling programs. Other Cummings buildings that have earned the Energy Star rating are 900 Cummings Center in Beverly, 92 Montvale Ave. in Stoneham, 196 Boston Ave. in Medford, and 370 and 420 Hemenway St. in Marlborough.
TradeCenter 128 named
Woburn, MA At a January 20th gala at the Newton Marriott, Cummings Properties was honored with the Project of the Year Award from Boston/SF News. Based on nominations by about 6,000 readers, the award recognized the company for its single-source design, financing, construction, and management of TradeCenter 128.
Design manager Jim Trudeau accepted the award on behalf of the commercial real estate firm. "We're so pleased to receive this honor. Everyone at Cummings is proud of this flagship property that fully reflects the company's 40 years of in-house development expertise," Trudeau said.
While tenant firms began occupying the building in 2008, the final phase of construction was completed in late 2010. According to Trudeau, the 600,000 s/f office complex is 95% leased.
From an environmental perspective, Cummings Properties made every effort to ensure high levels of energy efficiency for the building. TradeCenter 128 is LEED pre-certified at the Gold Level, reflecting its environmentally friendly design and construction. The project involved dozens of green upgrades, such as premium efficiency lighting and HVAC systems, and water-saving fixtures, as well as community-beneficial features, including onsite public transportation and recycling programs
With its vast glass faÃ§ade, TradeCenter 128 has become one of the most recognizable structures along the entire length of I-95.
Its memorable design elements, including a soaring, glass-enclosed atrium; three-story, drive-through gateway arch; granite lobbies; and continuous ribbon windows, have made it a prestigious business address.
Adding to the business park's allure is its handsomely landscaped 18-acre campus. Frequently used by both employees and local residents, the meticulously maintained grounds include many both new and mature trees, a tranquil pond, walking paths, and picnic areas.
The crowning jewel of the project's conservation efforts is a 1,250-panel, 250-kilowatt solar installation. These panels generate most of the common area lighting used throughout the 18-acre complex.
According to Trudeau, "In addition to being good for the environment, green business practices benefit our clients through lower utility costs, and improved air quality and lighting."
Notably, Cummings Properties undertook this major project in the midst of the recent economic downturn. While other speculative commercial projects stalled, awaiting a more favorable leasing environment, or stopped altogether due to a lack of financing, TradeCenter 128 began construction.
With some of the needed support businesses reluctant to commit to a new venture in the uncertain economy, Cummings conceived, developed, and established two independent businesses it deemed integral to the project. As a result, the suburban business park now includes the popular Beacon Grille restaurant, a 350-seat, upscale eatery and function facility, and TradeCenter Executive Suites, a 30,000 s/f executive office suites center offering short and long-term office rentals and support services.
Cummings Properties, a full-service development, property management, and construction firm, leases and manages 10 million square feet of prime commercial space in 10 greater Boston communities. It received a MassSavers Business Award in November 2010 in recognition of several major energy efficiency projects.
Business Journal announces green winners
Boston Business Journal
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
No longer considered a fad, green business has become ingrained in Boston’s economic fabric.
Greater Boston’s businesses have responded to consumer demand for sustainable products, foods and buildings. The actions of budding green entrepreneurs might have elicited snickers from naysayers a decade ago but they are producing billions of dollars in revenue today.
Today, green equals jobs. The BBJ recognizes the companies and people leading the green job charge. By focusing on the companies, investors, corporations, and deals that are driving the flow of finance we allow our readers to not only keep their finger on the pulse of recent trends, but also to identify and act on new opportunities that are emerging
As green building and living becomes more common, government agencies at all levels are investing in the training of green industry workers.
The private sector is also active in developing the work force of the future whether it’s teaching electricians to add solar panel installation to their portfolios or architects getting LEED certification.
"It’s clear by the resources and manhours dedicated to green that it is here to stay. The BBJ’s Green Business Awards honors those who have found ways to become more environmentally conscious and put more Bostonians back to work," Business Journal Publisher Christopher McIntosh said.
The 4th annual Green Business Summit will be held on May 19 starting at 8 a.m. at the Seaport Hotel in Boston.
For more details, click here.
This year's winners are:
Sun Shining Somewhere
Real Estate Boston
We thought we were clever, attending NAIOP's solar power seminar in hopes it would warm us up. Turns out, we weren't alone. Yesterday, a standing-room crowd showed up for info on solar grants, tax incentives, and lowering energy costs.
managing partner of Prince Lobel Renewable (a meeting sponsor, and unit
of Prince Lobel Glovsky & Tye) says the real estate community is waking
up to solar as a revenue stream "when there aren't a lot of great
alternatives for people's money." Solar projects can generate income
through the sale of SRECs (solar renewable energy certificates), the currency
of the state cap and trade-style program between private owners and/or
developers and utilities. They can pay for themselves quickly by using
public incentives. In fact, the feds extended an expiring cash grant program
through 2011. Within 60 days of launching a solar facility, a building
owner qualifies for a federal rebate of 30% of the system cost. Also,
private solar programs can lower energy costs or enable owners to sell
energy to tenants rather than have them purchase it elsewhere.
We snapped Craig
and Novogradac's Tony Grappone (standing), a CPA tax specialist who explained
that an owner can depreciate the entire cost of a solar installation in
its first year of operation rather than the fifth. Craig says this has
huge cash value for corporate investors. Tony says that as long as a solar
project's numbers work, using clean power can allay owner concerns about
how utilities use their rate-payer income and help owners attract tenants
for whom being green is non-negotiable. Depending on investment goals,
the structure of a solar deal may be a partnership flip, sale leaseback,
or lease pass through.
Cummings Properties' Ernie Agresti says Phase I and II of the rooftop solar array at the company's mixed-use office complex in Woburn has saved $5,000 more than anticipated in its first full year of operation. With Phase III, completed three weeks ago, the solar system generates 40% of the electricity needed for the common areas. Trade Center 128 installed solar, and during a downturn it attracted new tenants, helping to lease the complex's 500k SF. Ernie tells us that when Cummings researched wind, "the payback wasn't there." For solar though, he expects energy savings to pay for installation cost within five years and "gravy" for the remaining 15 years of the system's life.
Tax and energy credits fuel renewable projects
Boston Business Journal
Cummings Properties first installed solar panels atop the parking structure at its LEED-Gold certified TradeCenter 128 office complex in 2008. After seeing the benefits in the bottom line of its operating budget, it followed up with another set of panels last year and in November put the finishing touches on a third array.
All told, 1,256 solar panels now sit atop the parking garages at the 400,000-square-foot complex, generating 250 kilowatts of power, enough to supply more than 40 percent of the electricity for lobbies and other common areas, and Cummings is already working on its next solar project.
In the shadow of Cape Wind, the highly visible and controversial wind farm off the Cape Cod coast, a wave of smaller sustainable energy projects has gained momentum as solar and other forms of green energy get a boost from state and federal tax breaks and advances in technology that have helped lower upfront costs.
“The costs for solar have really come down over the last five years and are much more competitive,” said Cummings Vice President Ernie Agresti. With federal tax breaks and state renewable energy credits, the upfront costs can be recovered in a matter of a few years now, he added. “We knew solar fit nicely into the project because we were doing structured parking and the numbers worked out.”
All told, the solar power generated on Cummings properties could satisfy the annual electricity needs for 30 homes. The firm is now planning to bring solar to its Cummings Center property in Beverly with a single installation larger than the first two phases at the TradeCenter property.
“It’s really good for the environment, the technology keeps improving and costs seem to be inching down,” Agresti said. “As long as the support from the state and the federal government is there, I think it will continue to grow.”
In the region, Massachusetts is considered a solar-friendly state, with incentives from the commonwealth, and a strong local solar-related industry — Cummings’ installation was completed with input from firms from Fall River and North Andover — helping to boost adoption, according to John Perry, director of regional commercial sales at GroSolar, which is based in White River Junction, Vt.
“With renewable energy credits in the state that can be sold into the open market in addition to federal tax credits, when you add in the avoided cost of electricity, the internal rate of return can be something that accountant like when they look at it,” he said.
GroSolar recently helped Princeton Properties complete its second set of solar installations at projects in Billerica, where its Boston Road apartment complex is now topped with a 200-kilowatt installation; and in Chelmsford, where Princeton Commons is now powered in part by an 82-kilowatt solar setup. Princeton estimates it will save $53,000 annually in electricity costs at those two sites alone.
Though the economics, and the local weather, favor solar, the state continues to support wind-power projects as well, though most that are being advanced are small-scale, or what the state labels community-scale projects. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently doled out $1 million in grants to support community-based wind turbine projects, including construction grants for projects in Plymouth and Cohasset.
Meanwhile, geothermal is also gaining traction, with residential-scale projects being completed across the region, and some larger projects moving forward as well, according to Josh Caplan, project engineer at Excel Energy Solutions LLC in Somerville.
One recent project Excel completed involved the renovation of a former mill building in Chelmsford, where water from the Stony Brook Reservoir is being used to fully heat and cool the building, avoiding some 11,500 gallons of fuel oil annually, which in turn will reduce carbon emissions by 130 tons per year.
Excel President Bill Souza said government incentives are helping to off-set the upfront costs of installing geothermal systems.
“With the economy moving forward, I think the market for this sort of project is starting to move forward as well,” Souza said. “We are definitely starting to see more things open up on the renewable side. There’s the warm and fuzzy part of being green, but when you start to see a 10, 20 or 30 percent return on investment and realize that once your investment is paid for that money continues to work for you, that’s a powerful case to be made.”
Cummings Properties receives green award
Woburn, MA — On Nov. 10, with Fenway Park’s “Green Monster” serving as an appropriate background, Gary Gresh, Cummings Properties sustainability manager, accepted a 2010 MassSavers Business Award on behalf of the company.
The exclusive award ceremony honored businesses, municipalities, and public institutions for completing or undertaking energy efficiency improvements this year with the help of programs from Mass Save or for supporting energy efficiency initiatives through Mass Save – an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts’ gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers. Notably, Cummings Properties was the only real estate firm selected for the honor.
“We are thrilled to honor the winners today,” said Robert P. Mahoney, chairman of the board at Cape Light Compact, one of the sponsors of Mass Save. “Mass Save is the product of a statewide coordinated effort to achieve energy savings through efficiency programs, and the 12 winners represent the best of those efforts.”
The award winners, sponsors from Mass Save, and other industry professionals received a behind-the-scenes tour of Fenway Park and a special meet-and-greet with Joe Castiglione, the voice of Red Sox Radio Network, WEEI.
Cummings Properties, founded in 1969, is a full-service real estate development, property management, and construction firm with 83 buildings in 10 Boston area communities. It has a long history of green business practices including building renovation and reuse; energy-saving design, construction, and property maintenance; utilization of recycled materials and equipment; and reduction of waste through recycling programs.
Cummings Properties has earned the government’s Energy Star rating for office buildings in Beverly, Marlborough, Medford, and Stoneham, and received LEED Gold pre-certification for the recently built TradeCenter 128 in Woburn. The company’s most notable “recycled building” is the two million square foot Cummings Center in Beverly, former home of United Shoe Machinery Corporation.
In addition to its environmentally responsible efforts with new construction, Cummings’ green philosophy is reflected in its renovations of older properties, including a current project to retrofit approximately 35,000 light fixtures throughout its portfolio with energy-efficient replacements. When completed, this project will save more than 13 million kWh annually–enough to power 1,174 typical homes for one year. The bulbs, ballasts, and metal from the “old” fixtures are, of course, recycled.
Gresh states that Cummings Properties’ motivation for its energy efficiency efforts stems as much from a desire to “do the right thing” as it does from potential cost savings, as evidenced by the company’s decision to hire a sustainability manager. Cummings was, reportedly, one of the first area real estate companies to create a full-time, permanent position for this role.
Gresh added, “Cummings has emerged as a leader in sustainability among commercial real estate developers in New England — something our management, employees, and clients are proud of.”
Gresh works closely with NSTAR, a Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility that assists companies in identifying and implementing initiatives to reduce carbon consumption, and also offers rebates and other incentives to encourage energy efficiency upgrades.
According to Gresh, “A cost benefit analysis, factoring in the incentives and the savings over time, clearly shows that energy efficiency makes good business sense.”
Dennis Clarke, president and CEO of Cummings, adds that his firm’s environmentally friendly features have become a significant factor in attracting new clients, including clean energy companies. Businesses seeking to make a favorable impression on environmentally conscious customers are also attracted to the energy efficient features of Cummings Properties’ buildings.
“The green movement has gained considerable momentum in recent years,” said Clarke. “This public awareness creates a competitive edge for companies that keep the environment in mind when making important business decisions, such as where to locate an office.”
Solar energy, while outside the realm of the MassSavers Award, is another major focus for Cummings Properties. The company is on the verge of completing the last of a significant, three-phase solar installation project at TradeCenter 128.
Gresh called the 1,256 panel, 250 kW project, located atop the five-story parking garage, “one of the most ambitious solar ventures in the state by a corporation.”
While the most recently installed, third-phase panels will be fully activated around November 17, much of the installation has been generating energy since late 2008.
In May 2010, Cummings installed a 120-panel, 30 kW photovoltaic solar panel array at its 8 Cabot Road locations in Woburn. While many of the panels are located on the roof, 20 panels act as awnings over the south-facing windows, further saving cooling energy and serving as visible reminders of the building’s energy-saving features.
Gresh estimates that, in total, the Cabot Road array generates approximately 50 percent of the energy used by the building’s common area systems.
Cummings Properties leases 10 million square feet of office space to 2,000 clients. Most Cummings Properties buildings are owned by, and for the benefit of, Cummings Foundation, Inc.
The following article ran in the May 16-22 edition of the Boston Business Journal's "Sustainable Boston" special section.
Developers see dollar signs in building green properties
By Denise Magnell
Among the advertisements touting the soon-to-be-completed TradeCenter 128 office complex along I-95 in Woburn is this new selling point: "An early leader in the green building movement, (owner) Cummings Properties latest development, TradeCenter 128, is LEED Gold pre-certified."
The 550,000-square-foot project is one of the first developments in Massachusetts - the River's Edge mixed-use project along the Malden River is another - to get the coveted "gold" standard. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, a trade group that promotes environmentally friendly building strategies.
"We absolutely believe in having this in our marketing of the building because we've seen others marketing this way. If we don't people will ask, 'Why not?' said James Trudeau, the design manager for Cummings Properties. "Tenants are using it when they compare one building to another. It's not a deal maker, but it makes people feel they are in a current, up-to-date project."
Along those same lines, Woburn-based Cummings is hardly alone when it recognizes the favorable impression green construction makes on the buying public these days.
In fact, a slew of developers and commercial brokers are finding it pays to go green. Put differently: Homebuyers and building tenants seem to like the idea of going green, and property owners are wagering that those potential customers are willing to pay for those features.
Boston-based BlueWave Strategies, a business-advisory firm that consults with companies on environmental issues, has seen the development and marketing of green buildings proliferate as sustainability becomes the norm in the commercial world. Some companies are even racing to secure LEED branding before their building projects are even complete.
"We're seeing it in ads and Web sites for the office sector, and it's beginning in the retail sector," said Stephanie Pollack, a BlueWave partner and senior vice president. "Precertification given by the U.S. Green Building Council allows companies to advertise that theirs will be a certified building when it is completed."
To be sure, branding seems to be a key component to the prefinished certification trend. The USGBC's so-called "core and shell" certifications were created to enable buildings to get credit for exterior green construction.
From only a dozen such certifications in Massachusetts a few years ago, there were 59 precertified through April, "with 1,300 in the pipeline," said Pollack. "What that tells you is there's clearly a market for it."
BlueWave consults on projects that include Southfield, a 1,400-acre mixeduse plan for the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station; Forbes Park, a brownfields redevelopment project on the Chelsea waterfront; and Harvard University's expansion into the Allston neighborhood of Boston.
Likewise, the Olmstead Green mixeduse project is advertised widely as Boston's first "green living" community. On the grounds of the former Boston State Hospital in Mattapan, it will include 500 condominiums and rental apartments equipped with energy-efficient appliances, bamboo flooring, recycled tiling and permeable pavement that allows waste water to seep into the ground rather than storm drains.
"In both instances, condominiums and rentals, it's advantageous to be green, kind of like getting the Good Houskeeping Seal of Approval," said Kirk Sykes, president of the New Boston Urban Strategy America Fund, which is co-developing the project.
CB Richard Ellis, a commercial real estate services firm, has agreed to pursue LEED certification for 100 office buildings it manages nationwide, and it is tapping another USGBC program to complete the task. That translates into 615 million square feet of commercial space where energy-saving and environmentally-friendly practices will be implemented. Several of those buildings are located in Greater Boston.
Shay Sims, a CBRE vice president in charge of green initiatives in Boston, said the program establishes best practices to lower a building's operating and energy costs.
"The tenants love it, they see it as a good recruiting tool," he said. "We believe going through this process creates a high value for these properties."
Cummings Properties LLC, 200 West Cummings Park, Woburn, MA 781-935-8000