As an organization evolves, sometimes so must its surroundings. Life and routine seem to have settled in (for the most part) these days, but back in early May, things were the opposite of routine. We uprooted ourselves out of the space we called home for four great, important years that saw milestones like our 20th anniversary, and embarked on a journey in search of a new beginning.
All of us have at least a handful of fond memories born at 91 Hartwell, but as an organization dedicated to striving forward, and especially given our work with high performance & zero energy buildings, it became more necessary to better align the work we do with the space we do it in. We certainly can talk the talk – now it was time to “walk the walk”.
In this case, that was a pretty short walk across the parking lot, to our new office at 81 Hartwell Avenue.
The Place Beyond The Pines
They say sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you. Many (if not all) of us here at NEEP have ventured across the parking lot from 91 Hartwell, over the wooden bridge through the row of trees serving as the division of the two properties, to the café on the ground floor of the building at 81 Hartwell. Some of us (author included) became well acquainted with the menu of this particular establishment long before our move. Perhaps, a seed was planted. I’m not saying we moved just to be closer to the fresh sandwiches, free popcorn, and hot pizza. That would be crazy. But perhaps it helped crack open the doors of possibility every so slightly in the minds of a few.
Or maybe it’s just a café.
A More Efficient Future
The real motivating force behind the move, and probably most moves, is that our lease was coming to a close. We had long desired more control over our energy use as an organization, but were making little headway. Our concerns fell on sympathetic ears at 81 Hartwell, and over the coming months, Bob McTighe, our Finance and Administration Director, worked alongside architects, contractors, lawyers, and NEEP staff to create our new home from a blank slate. NEEP staff assembled a team assigned to specifics of the move, including selecting low VOC carpet and paints, new collaborative workstations, and high-efficiency products.
Some of the highlights of our new space:
- High-efficiency LED recessed lighting by Cooper Lighting / Eaton from the DesignLights Consortium Qualified Products List
- ENERGYSTAR certified dishwasher and refrigerator
- Low flow water fixture in kitchen
- Low VOC carpet, tile, and paints with “flush out” period after installation to reduce level of VOCs and improve air quality and work environment
- EV charging station (installed upon our request)
- Monthly electric benchmarking
- Requested HVAC balancing report upon buildout completion, with subsequent annual report
The Big Day(s)
A big part of the transition from old to new involved taking stock of our work and making the hard decisions of what to leave and what to keep. We shed the weight of our old work, making room for what was to come. As work continued, we packed our lives into giant orange bins and anxiously awaited over a long weekend what was to come. Many, many important days led up to our first day in our new space, and it had been a team effort with many milestones. This, however, was the day we had all been working toward. It was a new start, or a new version per say, for a new NEEP. A NEEP 2.0, if you will.
And all of this just to be closer to the sandwiches.