Our Thoughts

Improving Indoor Air Quality: A Simple Approach to Optimizing Product Selection

The field of indoor air quality (IAQ) research is growing at such a rapid rate that standards and guidelines for ventilation rates and low-emitting products are often one step behind the data. The resulting building and product certifications make it difficult for building owners and designers to understand how certain products will affect their project’s indoor air quality, or how achieving certain rating system credits will translate to indoor air quality goals.

Linnean may not have an answer, but we can help. We agree that it’s challenging and possibly detrimental to attempt to catalog a sweeping list of building product emissions rates and ventilation rates for all possible scenarios. Instead, we’re working on a material-decision support tool using a simple, project-specific approach to help designers and building owners optimize their product selection for improving the quality of indoor air. Check out our white paper to learn more.


After Hurricane Harvey: reflecting on climate adaptation planning

Recent events like Hurricane Harvey—and now Irma—have us thinking deeply about how we can prepare for future storms. Counties and cities nationwide are developing climate adaptation plans to address the extreme weather that climate change will bring in its wake. Yet in this realm we fail to emphasize that planning and policy decisions that were made decades and even centuries ago (as well as today) continue to enhance inequality, and therefore climate vulnerability. We explore three of many ways in which we can start expanding the impact of the climate adaptation planning process in order to not only enhance resilience, but in doing so, create system change. Check out the full post below.


How building monitoring can improve facility resilience

Building management systems and utility tracking are not new to the field of facility management. But building monitoring, when designed and run effectively, can play a crucial role in improving a facility’s ability to adapt to and recover from the next event...

Getting down and dirty with composting toilets

When we think about waste, we often think about the waste generated through material use, not the nutrient ‘waste’ generated by people and animals. Conversations about waste tend to focus on ways to reduce material waste so we have less product to dispose of and/or more product that becomes reused or recycled. Material waste is easier to handle and control and is certainly less contentious to discuss than other kinds of waste...

Storm Water Management and Green Site Infrastructure

I get this question all the time, when I say that Linnean is monitoring a green alley in Boston. As a quick explanation, this alley between two buildings on an urban college campus covers a total of 6,000 square feet. However, it handles the stormwater from 24,000 square feet of roofs and paved area. There are 3 qualities that define how an alley (and the rainwater management system it embodies) can be considered “green”...

Don’t Let Your Environment Manage You: Track Site Performance

Similar to managing a building, a project’s environment and landscape must also be tracked for performance. Understanding a site’s attributes allows for facility managers to engage with their local environment. After all, the project’s local environment has a direct relationship with how the building can achieve optimal performance, from mechanical systems, landscape features, and occupant health...

Why Should Facilities Managers Care About Embodied Carbon Emissions?

Embodied carbon emissions — the greenhouse gasses emitted in the process of making and installing building products — seem pretty far from the traditional concerns of a facility manager. As it turns out, tracking embodied carbon and its cousin, embodied energy is probably the fastest way for a facility manager to reduce the climate impact of their facility. Let me show why...

Resilient Building Operations in Extreme Weather Conditions

If you were managing a building in Lower Manhattan last October, or in Vermont in 2011, or in Texas during the last year, you know that storms and severe weather are an increasingly frequent fact of life. Storms, such as hurricanes and tornados are becoming stronger. Heat waves are becoming longer. Floods are becoming more frequent. To top it all off, the threat of power outages and water shortages are becoming more pronounced...

Servicing Those Ecosystems: The Value of Trees

We use ecosystem services provided by nature in our everyday lives, and without much thought. Ecosystem services are characteristics of environmental processes that enable humans and living organisms to survive, and thrive. Ecosystem services inherently provide natural solutions to purify water, clean air, filter soil nutrients, and manage stormwater – to name a few. The benefits of ecosystem services come with...

Smart Buildings versus Green Buildings: Unfortunately, they are Talking Different Languages

It used to be that a sophisticated building had pneumatic controls managing the heating and cooling systems and banks of switches for the lights. If you wanted to know the overall energy performance of your building, you looked at your utility bills. While those days may not be completely over, modern building systems are managed through a generally complex assortment of sensors, controllers, software, and communications protocols. Modern building control systems...

Integrative design – for your site projects, too

Today, more than ever, the design and construction process has become more collaborative, emphasizing top-down and bottom-up creative processes that continuously engage the stakeholders during each stage. This process has created a new model of landscape design that has led to more efficient, creative, robust, and sustainable projects. It is called integrative design, and understanding its techniques will allow for more sustainable projects and lowered costs...

Reducing emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from building materials

Healthy buildings support happy people. As sustainable building practices advance, consideration for how a building can affect human health continues to grow. An essential piece of a healthy building is the quality of its indoor air. In fact, studies have shown that poor air quality not only affects health, but can also influence productivity and cognitive function...

Where do your carbon emissions come from?

Accounting for carbon emissions should be easy at this point. There are many tools that can help and it is an established process in international accounting processes. Unfortunately, the reality of accounting for carbon at the building or campus level is still complicated. Real estate asset managers, as well as corporate and institutional owners are being pressed to account for carbon...

Reducing Energy Use Intensity to Achieve Net Zero: The Role of Facilities Management

It has long been known that buildings account for the consumption of more energy than any other sector in the United States. Any attempt to reduce that usage to zero has been seen as a drastic, unachievable measure. However, with advances in technology and spreading awareness of the threats posed by climate change, more buildings are being designed to use net zero energy, a trend that is likely to increase steadily as time goes on...

Be a Hero With Lower Operating Costs in Your Building

Energy use reduction is a key part of a general cost reduction and operational efficiency effort for building managers. You can be a hero for saving your organization money by implementing relatively easy energy reduction strategies. Energy reduction focused capital projects can also provide new levels of amenity to building users, potentially increasing user satisfaction and saving money at the same time...

Storm Water Management and Green Site Infrastructure — A Public/Private Partnership

Boston’s harbor and rivers were once mocked for their dirty water, but the city has truly cleaned up its act, and some new green infrastructure in the Back Bay points to an even brighter future. The facilities team at the Boston Architectural College (BAC) has worked for over 5 years to create an exemplary project. All over the country, green infrastructure projects are being implemented, as campuses and communities come to realize the many benefits of using ecologically sound ways to manage stormwater...

Energy Investments for Tenants: Real Opportunities to Reduce the Cost of Occupancy

Energy and water use reduction is important to building owners and users right now, especially if you own your building and can control all of the building systems and users. But what do you do if you are leasing space? How can you get the advantages of reduced energy and water use and reduce your total cost of occupancy? Tools for reducing the environmental impacts...

Looking for Savings in the Bushes

Non-farming irrigation can eat up 50% of the municipal water supply in the cities of Texas, according to the Dallas Water Utilities, and this is not unusual in the United States. The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority reports that, during summer months, water demand increases up to 50%. The lion’s share of this increased demand feeds irrigation systems...