Even your small projects can have global impacts.

 

Resilience

+ Resilient Affordable Housing Assessment

Linnean developed extensive resilience reports for hundreds of facilities for an East Coast affordable housing authority. The process included conducting on-site facility audits, mapping climate vulnerabilities, interviewing facility managers and residents, and recommending critical resilience upgrades to the building’s design, infrastructure, and mechanical systems. Recommendations covered design, operation, maintenance, and financial planning for facility resilience improvements, and focused on the safety of the low-income residents.

Accompanying these facility reports, Linnean developed an organizational report for the agency that provides comprehensive solutions for new policies, programs, and procedures to increase the resilience of the agency to climate change and other acute and chronic hazards. The organizational report offered recommendations to existing emergency management protocols and solutions to improve daily health and well-being of the residents—an aspect that will ultimately have a lasting impact on the resilience of this community.

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Image depicts flood zones within an urban area.

+ Ready to Respond: Strategies for Multifamily Building Resilience

Linnean Solutions, the Resilient Design Institute, and Curtis + Ginsberg Architects worked with Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. on the development of the Ready to Respond: Strategies for Multifamily Building Resilience manual—the first of its kind for multifamily affordable housing. The manual provides a comprehensive set of solutions and best practices to make tenants of affordable housing less vulnerable to climate change.

The manual is based on extensive resilience-focused research, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy in New York City, and lists key solutions that can be applied to both existing and new facilities. Linnean compiled a database of building-related damages from the hurricane in order to quantify typical cost of repairs in relation to different types of hazards. Using this insight, Linnean then evaluated resilience solutions for their applicability in the context of multifamily affordable housing, for their effectiveness against a range of natural and man-made disasters, for their cost of installation, and for their feasibility of implementation.

Linnean emphasized community resilience throughout the development of the manual, and has applied this research into actionable solutions in later projects that seek to improve resilience among populations facing a range of economic and social vulnerabilities.

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Image depicts resilience strategies developed in the report.

+ Building Resilience in Boston

Linnean developed the renowned report, Building Resilience in Boston, to advise the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, the Boston Society of Architects, the City of Boston, and the broader Boston community on climate adaptation solutions for improving the resilience of existing buildings in Boston. The report also prompted the creation of several additional tools to further Boston’s action on city-wide resilience.

Linnean reviewed national and international research, publications, and planning documents, and conducted extensive interviews with local experts to establish best practices for urban resilience planning. A comprehensive list of resilience solutions were compiled to provide policy-makers, architects, engineers, and the community at large with a single source of practical resilience solutions. The report also highlighted programs and policies that local organizations and governments can employ to mitigate vulnerability.

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Image of the Building Resilience in Boston report cover.


 

Sustainability

+ Kendall Square EcoDistrict

The Kendall Square EcoDistrict is a public-private organization working to advance innovative, district-scale sustainability and resilience projects in Cambridge, MA. Beginning in 2013, the initiative was led by representatives from the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Kendall Square Association. Today, the EcoDistrict’s members also include local property owners, businesses and corporate tenants, institutions, nonprofits, community leaders, and the City of Cambridge. With support from the Barr Foundation, the initial stakeholder group hired Linnean to serve as a process facilitator and sustainability consultant.

Linnean guided the EcoDistrict stakeholders toward developing shared goals, metrics to measure the goals, and future projects guided by the EcoDistricts Protocol. By leveraging collaborative action and district-scale efficiencies, these interrelated goals aimed to increase connectivity, amenities, and mobility within the community; reduce energy consumption; strengthen district resilience; engage residents; and foster ecological vitality. Projects included piloting an innovative, high density bicycle parking design and managing a district energy study that assessed the potential for a low-carbon, district-scale energy system in Kendall Square. A

Diagram depicts multiple EcoDistrict assets, including trees and public space.

+ Union Point Development

Union Point is a 1,500-acre re-development of a former naval air station south of Boston, which grew from collaboration between three towns, a visionary developer, local conservation commissions, and the state office of economic development.

Linnean guided decision-making around integrating sustainable water, wastewater, and energy infrastructure systems, and the potential to pursue a range of certifications for additional sustainability goals. Linnean helped the project team develop a common vision guided by sustainable and regenerative development parameters, and identified innovative technological strategies for urban infrastructure.

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Diagram depicts preliminary sustainability ideas.

+ Equity in Providence Sustainability Plan

Linnean Solutions is working with a team of organizations—including One Square World, Oredola Consulting, the Consensus Building Institute, and emersion DESIGN—to help the City of Providence become a national model of equity, sustainability, and resilience. The project’s approach builds on the City of Providence’s initial goal of creating a visionary, measurable, achievable, and community-oriented sustainability plan. In our experience, this is done by designing an inclusive, regenerative, and collaborative process.

The team thus designed a set of activities to support the City and communities in building their own capacity to hold constructive and inclusive conversations and to take collaborative action around equitable and sustainable development. The project aims to reconcile diverse community perspectives around a common goal—to create a balanced and thriving city for the people of Providence today and in the future.

+ EchoStone Housing

EchoStone Housing specializes in an innovative building system that delivers low-cost, affordable, and sustainable housing solutions to communities across the globe. Linnean supported Echostone’s work by verifying their sustainability claims by conducting a comprehensive life-cycle carbon analysis and operational energy modeling of a single-family residence designed in Panama.

Linnean evaluated material alternatives and passive design solutions, and also evaluated solutions to reduce daily energy consumption through mechanical systems and passive designs. Linnean’s analysis of carbon emissions embodied in the building’s materials allowed EchoStone to quantify the environmental benefits of their design, as compared with conventional building materials and practices in the area.

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Diagram depicts the scope of EchoStone’s life cycle analysis.

+ MLK Embodied Carbon Assessment

Linnean analyzed four design scenarios for the Martin Luther King School, designed by Perkins Eastman, to identify the design that would produce the least amount of embodied and operational emissions throughout the life of the building.

Linnean conducted a life-cycle analysis of the building’s materials to determine the carbon emissions from embodied carbon, and analyzed annual operating emissions from each design scenario. We examined whether retrofitting the existing building would save carbon over time, or whether tearing down the building and designing an entirely new facility would be more energy and carbon efficient.

The final analysis concluded that tearing down the original building (a brutalist concrete structure built in the 1960s) and replacing it with either of the three new designs would produce fewer emissions than retrofitting over time. Even considering the emissions resulting from the demolition and waste of the existing structure, the existing envelope and mechanical systems were so inefficient that they would cause significantly higher annual emissions than constructing one of the new designs proposed. D

Image of Cambridge’s Martin Luther King, Jr. School.

+ Improving Health in Communities Near Highways

Linnean, with a group of scientists at Tufts University and community activists in Somerville, published a report advocating for stronger municipal regulations to protect communities near highways from ultra-fine particles, a currently unregulated health hazard associated with concentrated traffic pollution. The report, Improving Health in Communities Near Highways, provides the most extensive research in this area of public health, and has received national coverage for its scientific findings, recommended design interventions, and participatory approach.

Linnean facilitated a design charrette with a group of architects, designers, urban planners, public health advocates, and concerned citizens to apply the strategies to sites in the greater Boston area. The charrette was helpful in understanding the practical implications of the recommended solutions to reduce exposure to near highway pollution. We compiled the ideas and illustrations from the charrette into the report, creating simple diagrams to clearly communicate the solutions to designers and public officials.

At the press release in March 2015, Somerville’s Mayor Joseph Curtatone and State Representative Denise Provost both advocated for reducing exposure to traffic-related air pollution. The scientists are currently working with the City of Somerville to incorporate these recommendations into zoning regulations.

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Image of the strategies discussed in the report.

+ Boston College LEED Consulting

Linnean provided Boston College with sustainability guidance and certification documentation for a major renovation of a newly purchased high-rise residential building. In the process of converting the residential building into dormitories, Boston College invested in energy efficiency and other sustainability upgrades to comply with Boston’s Article 37, an ordinance that requires new and existing buildings to be “LEED Certifiable.” Linnean assisted Boston College by aligning the college’s internal sustainability goals with the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED requirements to help guide future construction projects on campus.

This project was the first existing building that triggered the “LEED Certifiable” ordinance in Boston. Linnean coordinated with the City of Boston to determine which LEED rating system was appropriate, and how to track performance in accordance with the City’s zoning standards. In the end, Linnean developed a strategy for the College to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB: O&M) certification—including the anticipated credits for energy and water use, student commuting, indoor environmental quality, and green cleaning procedures.

The building was granted a Certificate of Occupancy based on the documentation provided by Linnean, under the condition that the building’s performance aligns with design aspirations.

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Image of BC’s dormitory.


 

Monitoring

 

+ Hitchcock Center for the Environment's Living Building

The Hitchcock Center for the Environment is an environmental education center that has been built to meet the stringent standards of the Living Building Challenge™ (LBC). Linnean was hired as a sustainability consultant under the direction of designLAB architecture firm to manage the LBC certification process and to help develop systems for environmental performance monitoring and data display.

Living Buildings require considerable innovation in design and construction to achieve certification, including collecting all potable water on-site, treating wastewater on-site through natural ecological systems, producing renewable energy on-site, and meeting other challenging technical imperatives. The project must undergo a third-party performance verification process by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) to ensure that the building performs to the design specifications.

Linnean’s role has been to coordinate with the Hitchcock Center project team and ILFI in order to manage the certification process—verifying that the Center’s systems will meet requirements and compiling the required technical documentation. Additionally, Linnean is currently monitoring the building’s real-time energy, water, and environmental data. The Center’s building dashboard displays this data, aiming to educate visitors on the unique design that makes it a “Living Building.”

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Image of the Hitchcock Center for the Environment’s building.

+ Green Alley Monitoring

The Boston Architectural College’s “Green Alley” is an ambitious stormwater management project for a public alley in the heart of Boston, built to both manage stormwater as well as serve as an educational tool for the college’s faculty and students on green infrastructure design, environmental impacts, and environmental monitoring systems. The BAC hired Linnean to design a system for collecting and publicly displaying live data from the college’s Green Alley.

The on-site monitoring system designed by Linnean consists of a weather station, flow monitors in the storm sewer overflow outlets, a groundwater-level monitor, and regular water quality tests—as well as an accessible public dashboard that displays the data in real time graphs in the lobby of the BAC’s main building.

Linnean’s continual monitoring has indicated that the Green Alley is achieving notable environmental benefits, including 99% stormwater retention, direct infiltration of site rainfall into the soil, a decrease in combined sewer overflow events, and an increase in water quality.

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Image of the green alley and monitoring data.

+ Lewisville

Linnean conducted the first sustainability and carbon assessment of municipally-owned properties in Lewisville, Texas. By tracking and compiling historical electrical, natural gas, and potable and irrigation water use data, waste collection data, and water and wastewater treatment data, Linnean developed a holistic evaluation of the municipality’s sustainability performance and carbon emissions from city activities.

Using the resource use data, Linnean provided the City with tailored, actionable solutions to reduce carbon emissions, with an emphasis on projects with low upfront costs and high potential return on investment. To ensure that the system for collecting carbon data and the report that Linnean developed would continue to provide value, Linnean developed an interactive resource tracking tool for the city. The tool creates an opportunity for the City to understand the resource and carbon reductions from their initiatives over time, and will allow a transparent way for engaging the public on these issues.

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Image depicts Lewisville’s emissions tracking dashboard.