Rice Participates in USGBC Building Tech Forum
SMMA Project Architect Matthew Rice, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, recently participated in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Building Tech Forum, hosted by Greentown Labs in Somerville. Drawing more than 200 design, construction, and real estate professionals from Greater Boston and beyond, the Forum examined the impact of design technology on future sustainable building efforts in the Commonwealth, as well as the relationship between innovation and real estate trends.
The USGBC estimates that 90% of current clean technology—encompassing concepts such as energy efficiency, recycling, daylighting, and green transportation—pertains to building performance. Green building and sustainability are core tenets of SMMA’s design practice, and the firm was proud to serve as an event sponsor, advancing the cause of environmental stewardship and promoting the importance of responsible design.
Matt took part in a panel discussion regarding integrative, comprehensive measures that highlight efficiency in the initial stages of design. Prioritizing proactive, holistic approaches, he explained that new software allows design decisions to be fine-tuned early in the beginning stages of the process, and said that life-cycle cost analysis is the most important request he hopes his clients will make. Matt’s perspective was joined by those of fellow panelists who, among other subjects, considered the ramifications of digitalizing construction and discussed which new technologies best empower end-users.
“Rather than waiting and reacting, we can proactively target building technology to maximize efficiency early on,” Matt said. “Ultimately, the goal should be to integrate sustainable building technologies in a seamless manner, rather than rely on gadgets and appliqués.”
Any discussion of sustainable building would be remiss without addressing its impact on future generations, a point that Matt drove home during the panel engagement. At a building committee meeting for Somerville High School, a commission for which he serves as project architect, Matt recalled the exciting moment when a student suggested a push toward a carbon-neutral facility. Engaging and educating young people about the critical value of sustainable design is the best means of ensuring green-building technologies continue to evolve to the point that net-zero-energy buildings become the standard, rather than the exception.