City’s Façade and Signage Program to Kick Off on July 12

City’s Façade and Signage Program to Kick Off on July 12

The City of Chelsea will begin a downtown façade and signage improvement program in a kick-off meeting on July 12.

Business and property owners in the downtown, as well as other interested parties, are invited to this meeting to learn about the rollout of the program and to meet Nathalia Hermida.

Hermida will be available throughout the summer to provide free design services for signage and façade improvements of downtown properties. During this meeting, Hermida will detail the design process, what assistance she’ll be able to provide and how to engage her services.

Along with responding to inquiries solicited through this meeting, Hermida will also be approaching specific identified properties. Those interested in the program who cannot attend this meeting should contact Mimi Graney, Downtown Coordinator at mgraney@chelseama.gov.

Design consultation with Hermida will be available both in English and in Spanish.

The City of Chelsea Façade and Signage Program meeting will take place on Thursday, July 12, at 8:30 a.m. at Chelsea City Hall, third-floor Committee Room.

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Wynn Boston Harbor to be on the Forefront of Energy Efficiency

Wynn Boston Harbor to be on the Forefront of Energy Efficiency

By Seth Daniel

Wynn Boston Harbor is working closely with well-known international companies to implement battery technology into their building, a new technology that will help them store cheaper power purchased during off peak hours, and contribute to an overall energy usage that is but 60 percent of what would be expected for a building of its size.

The new battery technology program complements two co-generation plants, a rainwater irrigation system, a huge solar array and a “very aggressive” LED lighting program.

All of it will combine to make the Wynn Boston Harbor facility one of, if not the, most efficient large building in the region.

“We will be running at 60 percent of what the standard energy usage calculation is for a building like ours,” said Chris Gordon, president of Wynn Design and Development Massachusetts. “The interesting thing is when you look at green buildings…it comes down to less energy usage…These buildings are so well insulated and sealed that you save a lot just on leaks. The window seals are so much better than they were 30 years ago, it’s amazing. You save when you use less. Interestingly enough, years ago people started to build green buildings because it was the right thing to do. Now it’s a good business decision and a good environmental decision.”

Perhaps setting the pace for efficiency is a program that will likely be the first of its kind in the Boston area – an emerging technology using battery storage devices to optimize energy usage.

It’s something Gordon said is very new, but he predicted would likely be in every building, and in several homes, in the near future.

The change, he said, is the new technology being developed around better battery storage. Several companies have pushed the limits on new battery technology for electric cars, solar power and for energy efficiency.

Gordon said they are working with several companies to put an array of batteries on their property, but don’t have a specific company named as of yet.

The idea, he said, would be to install a 90,000 sq. ft. solar installation on the roof of the function hall and entrance, which will generate solar energy to be stored in the batteries.

The bigger savings, however, will be having battery storage available to store power purchased from the grid at off-peak times.

“You don’t want to buy power at peak periods, so if you have storage capacity using batteries, you can buy when prices are low,” said Gordon. “There are times of day and times of the year that are more expensive and they don’t want you to buy then. For example, in the summer with lots of air conditioners running, you don’t want to buy energy on a hot day. It’s more expensive…I don’t know if we’re the first, but we will be one of the first certainly to use this in Greater Boston.”

He said they will employ one person on site to monitor commodities markets to decide which time is best and what time is not best to buy energy. He indicated that all of this is just now available because of the rapid innovations in battery technology, which allows for smaller installations.

“The battery technology in a building like ours is a new concept,” he said. “In the old days, using them for energy efficiency was tough because they were massive. Now they are a lot smaller and you can put them in a building and they don’t take up as much real estate.”

Another major piece of the operation will be two co-generation plants that are being installed in the back of the house.

The units are about 15’ x 10’ and generate electricity that will be used to power the building. Co-generation works on the principal of heating water and creating steam by burning natural gas. Both the steam and hot water are then used to heat the building. However, as they are created, they turn a turbine that creates electricity as a by-product – electricity that can be used immediately in the building or stored in the battery system.

The two co-generation plants will produce 8-10mgW of electricity.

“Co-generation produces hot water, steam and also electricity,” said Gordon. “We’ll produce a lot of electricity with them, but we’ll keep it all on site. That means we’ll produce a lot of our electricity and the solar will be used on site as well…All in all, we believe we’ll be able to run 70 to 80 percent of the building’s functions just off of the power we have inside if we want to or need to.”

He said that if there is a power outage, they believe they will be able to power all critical functions, and still have enough left over to maintain the usual comforts.

“After all the critical functions are accounted for, like the lighting and heat, there will still be a lot more left,” he said. “People will be quite comfortable in an outage. You could pave people there as an emergency shelter really, because we’re well above the flood plain and we will have ample power stored.”

Other efficiency measures include:

  • A 10,000 sq. ft. green roof on top of the second floor of the building.
  • A giant water tank in the parking garage that will harness and store all of the rainwater on the site. That rainwater will then be used in the irrigation system to water all of the extensive plantings inside and outside the building.

All together, it also equals a tremendous amount of savings for the resort.

“We don’t have the exact figures yet, but we’re using 40 percent less than we should, and so you’re looking a very big number in terms of savings on energy,” he said. “We hope that it not only saves us money, but also that it sets the pace for everyone else.”

Above the Flood Plain

Many might have seen the photos of water rushing into the front doors of the Golden Nugget casino in Mississippi late last week as Hurricane Nate hit the Gulf Coast, but Wynn Boston Harbor officials said they don’t ever expect such a thing to happen at their resort despite being right on the Mystic River.

That’s because early in the process, officials said, they decided to change the design of the building so they would be well-above the 500-year floodplain and the storm surge levels too.

Chris Gordon of Wynn Design and Development Massachusetts said they don’t expect to get that kind of flooding on their waterfront site.

“The flood levels are at nine feet, and even with flood surge added, that’s still just 11 feet,” he said. “The garage entrance is at 13 feet and the entrance to the building is at 24 or 25 feet. In addition, all of the utilities have been moved out of the garage and are on top of the Central Utility Plant. If the garage does flood someday, we just pump it out. The pumps are already there and ready if need be. We don’t ever expect to see the garage flood, but if it does, we just pump out the water. It really does no harm.”

Gordon said it all goes back to a willingness to look at resiliency in the Boston area and go the extra mile instead of fighting it.

“Instead of debating it or trying to discredit it, we said, ‘Let’s just move the building up.’ And that has worked out really well.”

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Double Decker

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This odd contraption was spotted this week on Eden Street as its inventor and builder, Jose Javier Mejia, took a ride down the street. Mejia said he built his first “two story bike” four years ago and rode it all the time. However, someone ended up stealing it. Recently, he refined his design and built another one. He said he takes it to Revere Beach all of the time, and gets lots of strange looks. He said he has designed a double-
seater, two-story bike that he will weld together later this summer so that he and his friends can ride at the same time. We can’t wait to see that!

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MGC Adopts Flexible Licensing Award Process

MGC Adopts Flexible Licensing Award  Process

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) is getting set to begin the evaluations of both Region A casino applications next Monday in a complex, but deliberate, process that is likely to last one week or, perhaps, more.

Like the previous slot license award, there will be no simple up and down vote about who to award the one license to – either Mohegan Sun in Revere or Wynn Resorts in Everett.

On Aug. 21, the MGC reviewed an outline of the process, which will include a ratings process of five specific areas and discussion of conditions on the license.

The target date for awarding the license is Sept. 12, but it could take longer according to MGC Executive Director Rick Day.

“I think at least from the approach here it seems very clear that we have got that week targeted,” said Day at the meeting. “But in the end, the process is designed to allow the timing Commission needs part of the information and to get appropriate responses from the applicants of the complex reports and conditions that are there. I think the concentration is the best result for the Commonwealth as opposed to a particular day…It’s also the recognition that you just mentioned that the complexity of both projects and the nature of both of those projects is that it may very well take time to get a clear understanding of what those conditions and what each of the evaluation parts say. So, I think it’s the concept is to make sure that the process is flexible and be able to take different steps along the way if you need it.

Commissioner Jim McHugh agreed that the target date should remain, but there should be flexibility to go longer.

“That’s really an important point,” McHugh said. “We’ve said and maintain that we’re starting on the 8th. We are starting on the 8th, and we said we are finishing on the 12th. We are going to make the award on the 12th. We will try to do that. But if we don’t do that because we are trying to make sure that we get the best result for the Commonwealth, we will continue with perhaps pauses to have these back and forths with the applicants straightforward until we do finish them. If that takes a few extra days, so be it. But the object is to ensure that we have a fair transparent process that results in the best – in the best bagging for the Commonwealth, and this is designed to assist us in doing that.”

The Commission will begin by making reports on four different areas of study.

First will be a return to the suitability discussions of all applicants – whether or not there have been any changes in status to applicants.

Then, after all the suitability discussions have been had, the Commission will move on to analyzing and rating each of the two proposals on the subjects of Building/Site Design and Finance.

The second set of discussions will be on the subjects of Mitigation and Economic Development.

The final discussion will be an overview of all four categories.

That will launch into what is expected to be a prolonged and potentially complicated process of adding conditions and correcting any errors made in the presentations.

The Commission will submit a series of questions and comments to each applicant and then put the meeting in recess.

That will allow the applicants to answer the questions and discuss the conditions.

That back and forth will continue until all have been satisfied.

No ratings will be discussed until the overview process.

Again, rather than an up or down vote on the two projects, there will be ratings for each project, with the license going to the project that has scored the best. With that in mind, a project may get favorable ratings, but if the ratings are eclipsed by the other project, the other project would be awarded the license.

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Eastern Salt’s Public Waterfront Park

Eastern Salt’s Public Waterfront Park

C1Eastern Salt employee Paul Carlson gives an impromptu tour to John Schwagerl of the sprawling, green amphitheatre at
the new industrial-themed park on Marginal Street – which should be officially opened later in the year. The park incorporates
many marine themed items, including a wheelhouse from an old boat and old marine docking elements. They even
used the granite discarded from the old Chelsea Street Bridge, and the ‘spines’ of the old oil tanks that used to dot the site
(as seen above). The design of the new park has already won a national landscape design award.

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