Category Archives: Projects related to Sustainable Design

URI – The Greenest College in Rhode Island

The Princeton Review recently recognized the University of Rhode Island as the greenest college in the State for the fourth consecutive year. Among the factors elevating URI above its in-State peers are several LEED-certified buildings recently constructed on campus. PARE has played a major role on all of these projects, including the $60 million, 140,000-S.F. LEED Gold Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences and the $22 million, 43,000-SF LEED Silver Hope Commons Dining Hall. The new $44 million, 429-bed Hillside Residence Hall was completed in 2012 and is currently pursuing LEED Gold certification, while the $75 million, 145,000-S.F. College of Pharmacy was constructed to LEED standards and completed earlier this year.

Here is a gallery showing some of our projects at URI.

NYC Blueway Plan

As we all know the Northeast US was battered during Superstorm Sandy, especially the low lying coastal areas from the mid-Atlantic up through southern New England. The New York metropolitan area saw some of the worst damage. The heavily developed nature of New York presented major problems on two levels – the high concentration of capital and infrastructure there put billions of dollars worth of economic development at risk, while the lack of once natural habitat eliminated the coastline’s ability to buffer storm surges.

But New York City is taking steps to protect its shores while enticing visitors and residents to rediscover the recreational opportunities its waterfront provides. Labeled the “Blueway Plan”, it will consist of construction of a 4-mile long storm barrier along the East River. Bike paths, boat launches, parks, and sandy beaches all plan to be incorporated, while ecological benefits include the redevelopment of wetlands and saltwater marshes. Click here to find out more about the project.

Does anyone pay attention to signs we design?

Does anyone even enforce the signs we spend time and thought putting on a plan and making sure get installed correctly?  I’m specifically talking about “Idling Limit” signs we have incorporated into many of our recent Massachusetts designs.  We have been including signs in the drop off lanes at schools, both in the bus drop offs and the parent drop offs.  The sign states that there is an idling limit, references a fine and the MA general law.

I’ve often wondered if people really respect the signs or if parents and buses still sit in front of the school idling and waiting for their student or students to come out of the school, say good bye to their friends and then make their way into the vehicle.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this article, “RI Bus Co. Busted for Excessive Idling” and see that idling laws have been enforced.

For more information on MA and RI idling laws check out the links below:

Massachusetts Laws                             Rhode Island Laws

URI – Hillside Hall Grand Opening

There will be a grand opening ribbon cutting celebration for the New Hillside Residence Hall at the University of Rhode Island this Saturday October 27th at 9:30 a.m.  The event is open to the public.

The University of Rhode Island describes the new residence hall as:  “The new 429-bed Hillside Hall is the most energy efficient housing complex on campus. A Living and Learning Community (LLC), Hillside Hall houses freshmen and sophomores who share similar academic interests. It’s the first time that pharmacy and nursing majors, and international students will be able to live together, making study, support, and relationship building easier for all.”

Pare Corporation provided the civil site design and geotechnical services for the facility designed by the Rhode Island architectural firm Lerner Ladds + Bartels.  The project is in the process of applying for LEED certification through the U.S. Green Building Council.  The project combines two stormwater rain gardens and bio-retention areas with the use of pervious pavers within the student courtyards for a complex stormwater management solution.  Below is a view of the building looking South with one of the rain gardens in the foreground.

Green and Economically Successful! -Rumford Center Project – East Providence, RI

The Providence Business News just reported that this project was given the 2012 Project of the Year Award by Northeastern Economic Developers Association.  Check out the full story here:  http://www.pbn.com/Rumford-Center-named-project-of-the-year,70445 This proves that a project can be both green and economically successful!  Fortunately, Pare Corporation had the opportunity to provide the site engineering for the Rumford Center project.

The original concept of this project as outlined by the development team, a partnership between Peregrine Group and Kirkbrae Properties, was sustainable.  Although, the project did not receive any sort of recognition on a rating system the development and design team were invested in doing the right thing for the environment.  Since the property had been the site for the Rumford Chemical Works it was previously developed and had nine buildings with a majority of the site being pavement.  Some of the more sustainable site features for this re-development are listed below:

  • Re-development Component: The project used existing land and buildings that had been previously disturbed
  • Remediation Activities:  Both buildings and site went through remediation to bring the complex up to current environmental standards
  • Reduction in Impervious Area:  The complex was primarily paved.  With the redevelopment impervious areas were planned and defined and are now outlined with pedestrian areas, landscaping and grasses.  This will reduce runoff and reduce the heat island effect.
  • Treatment of Runoff Water Quality:  As part of the proposed drainage design, deep sump catchbasins and a structural water quality treatment unit were installed rather than relying on the existing underground system.

Before Construction Photos

After Construction Photos compliments of Peregrine Group

Green Aspects of a Pare Project highlighted on Boston.com

Post Written By:  Allen Orsi

Dam removal provides many ecological benefits, including eliminating barriers to fish, wildlife, and macro invertebrate migration (habitat connectivity); improving surface water quality by reducing water temperatures, increasing dissolved oxygen, and increasing nutrient load;  reducing sediment starved flow; and restoring the surrounding area to a more natural and complex environment.

While PARE’s geotechnical division completes many dam evaluations and designs for repairs to deficient dams, dam repair is not always the best option.  After evaluating the structurally unsafe Curtis Pond Dam in Middleton, MA, a decision was reached with the dam owner to pursue dam removal.  PARE was subcontracted by Kleinfelder and worked closely with the dam owner and other project partners to develop construction documents for removal of the dam and for developing environmental permits to complete the work.

The project included removal of the dam to provide an unrestricted stream channel in the vicinity of the dam, bank restoration including coir logs and live stakings along select sections of the restored stream channel, and preservation of historical mill machinery salvaged from the dam during demolition activities.

Picture of Curtis Pond Dam Before the dam removal:

A picture after the dam removal:

For the full article on Boston.com check out this link: http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/22/curtis_pond_dam_removal_may_be_the_first_of_many_in_ipswich_river_watershed/

The ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos within this post were provided courtesy of SumCo Eco-Contracting.

PARE completes a Geothermal Standing Column Test Well

Post Written By:  Josh Rosenberg

Standing column wells draw water directly from wells into the building to heat/cool the ground source heat pumps (GSHP), either indirectly or directly, and then the water is discharged back into the same well. The goal of a GSHP system is to reduce the frequency at which the compressor must be powered on average throughout the year by evening out the extreme seasonal variations in temperature. This is because GSHPs exchange heat with the subsurface soil and rock, which has a relatively steady temperature throughout the year, compared with that of the outside air. Therefore GSHP’s require less energy to heat and cool buildings than conventional air-source heat pumps, creating a more sustainable means of heating and cooling a building.

PARE recently completed installation of an 1100-foot deep geothermal standing column test well within the City of Boston. PARE provided field observation during advancement of the well hole and during the well pump test. After completion of the test well, PARE provided our client with a Geothermal Data Report detailing the geotechnical drilling conditions, well pump test and recharge data, water quality testing, and future steps necessary to advance the project to full scale production. The test well and data report will provide our client with the information necessary to evaluate the hydraulic properties of the bedrock, assess the level of difficulty in installing the full production well field, and assist in evaluating construction budgets. PARE coordinated with our client to strategically place the test well where it can be converted into a full scale production well when the full scale system is implemented, to conserve space, materials and ultimately cost.

Pare Nominates Project for Award in Sustainability

Pare has submitted the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island for consideration in the 2012 Innovation in Sustainable Civil Engineering award being given by the ASCE. The Sustainable Design Committee reviewed several projects PARE has recently completed and selected the CBLS project as it fit the following award selection criteria:

  • Incorporated an innovative stormwater management system that serves as a “living classroom” in addition to its water quality and stormwater control benefits. Students and staff of the CBLS and other programs at URI can use the space for hands-on, real-world educational opportunities.
  • The project has allowed the university to promote, replicate, and extend additional developments in sustainability by adopting an increasingly sustainable approach to stormwater management on campus. Three new projects, two academic buildings and a new residence hall, are underway and are integrating comparable sustainable stormwater management practices.
  • Educates the public on sustainable stormwater management practices. The University’s Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program has used the design calculations and final construction details as an example for other communities in Rhode Island to consider to meet their low impact development (LID) needs.

Deadline for project submission was June 1st. We will submit a project each year for consideration for this award. Let us know if you are aware of a project that you believe may fit the selection criteria.

CBLS Nomination Figures & Photographs

Green Site Features under Construction at Plymouth North High School

Pare was the site engineer for the New Plymouth North High School project.  As part of the proposed improvements the following was designed; new vehicular and pedestrian access, associated parking, synthetic turf athletic fields and utilities.  Tom Perry took a couple of construction photos while out on site.  The construction photos show a bioretention area being installed where flush granite curb allows for roadway runoff to enter the bioretention area.   The other photo shows some permeable pavers for select parking areas and overflow parking.

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The project is attempting LEED Gold and has other green site features including an underground rainwater re-use tank to be reused for toilet flushing, pervious concrete in the area surrounding the concession stand, bicycle lanes from the school to each of the public streets, and underground infiltration along with the bioretention areas to increase recharge on site.

Wind in Westport

In October, the Geotechnical Division completed a subsurface investigation and geotechnical evaluation to support the construction of a wind turbine in Westport, Massachusetts.  The evaluation was completed as part of site specific conditions assessment to verify design requirements for a prefabricated/predesigned foundation system for the cast-in-place concrete turbine foundation.  PARE’s scope of work included the completion of subsurface explorations and evaluation of the encountered stratum and confirmation of the capacity of the subsurface profile to provide the minimum foundation requirements in the wind turbine design package.  The proposed foundation and tower support a turbine from XZERES Wind.

Posted By:  Cari Orsi

For more information about XZERES check out their website:    http://www.xzeres.com/