Making the Business Case for Sustainable Design

Friday, January 26, 8:00-9:30 am, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA – Vicksburg Conference Room

We are kicking off the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center’s 2018 Green Building Roundtable by taking a closer look at why we should be integrating sustainable design into our day to day and long term business decisions.  Attendees will gain foundational knowledge to understand and make the business argument for Sustainable Design and Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting. We will also discuss the cost of green buildings and high-level effects of climate change on business, as well as decisions that individual organizations need to consider.  Register here.

This roundtable is registered for 0.5 GBCI (LEED General) and 0.5 AIA continuing education credits.


Don’t Miss the January EHS Roundtable

Friday, January 12, 2018, 8:00 – 9:30 am, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA

Several local Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) professionals are scheduled to share their challenges and successful strategies related to confined space, emergency response, contractor safety, and EHS incident reporting.  Bring your own EHS story to review and discuss with your colleagues.

Join us for this great opportunity to partner and learn from your local peers.  RSVP

Let’s Fix This

Friday, January 12, 2018, 8:00 – 9:30 am, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA

Does your facility have an environmental, health or safety (EHS)  challenge you would like to review and get ideas from your colleagues?  Do you have an EHS success story others would benefit from?  This month the group will present their EHS struggles and achievements with confined spaces, emergency response, contractor training, and EHS reporting.

Join us for this great opportunity to partner and learn from your local peers.  RSVP

Roundtable tackles emergency preparedness

Roundtable tackles emergency preparedness
By M.E. Jones
Nashoba Valley Voice
Friday, November 10, 2017
Vol. 3 No. 45

DEVENS – Hurricanes, Wildfires, Floods. When disaster strikes, businesses need to know what to do.

The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center’s monthly roundtable addressed that issue at its September session, when the topic was Emergency Preparedness. The speaker was Michael E. Russas, Response and Field Services Chief for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, or MEMA.

Emergency preparedness “makes good business sense” according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and “every business should have a plan.” In one of its pamphlets, FEMA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, lays out a “common sense” plan for businesses. It includes a go-to flow chart and emergency supplies list and it should be updated regularly.

In that light, DEEC Executive Director Dona Neely and Program Administrator Tracey Pierce chose an apt topic. Over the past summer and early fall, emergency plans were activated in many areas of the country as super-size hurricanes hit Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Devastating wildfires swept through Northern California. And a mass shooting in Las Vegas left scores of people dead or wounded. It reads like a perfect storm of disasters but Russas said the likelihood of a natural or human-caused disaster striking somewhere, anytime is almost a given. “Not if but when…” is his agency’s motto, he said.

That’s what emergency preparedness is all about. And from MEMA’s slant, it’s a business. To stay current and in “best practices” mode, the agency constantly takes feedback from other agencies and the public to assess and upgrade its operations, Russas said.

MEMA teams typically operate from a central location during major storm events and although satellite centers (trailers) can be deployed when needed, emergency responses are usually left up to the individual cities and towns, which have their own plans in place, Russas said. MEMA helps by coordinating emergency efforts, state-wide, compiling data from other agencies, such as weather reports, and reallocating resources while monitoring the storm from its war room at agency headquarters in Framingham, a windowless bunker built during the Cold War ear and recently remodeled with a Homeland Security grant, including new computer software. Now, his team can track a storm and pinpoint the worst spots on a map, as well as align needs with available resources.

New England’s weather woes trend toward blizzards and ice storms rather than floods, fires or tornadoes, Russas said. But power outages are fairly common and can cause big trouble, so the same advice applies in all cases: Be prepared for the worst.

“We take an all-hazards approach,” Russas said, from a flu pandemic to a hurricane.

It gave those at the table a lot to take away. Shannon Lozeau, of DRS Power Technologies said she’d take tips brought up during discussion back to her company in Fitchburg.

Monthly DEEC Roundtable agendas headline topics of interest to the business community, offering participants – owners, managers and other company representatives – a platform to share insights, experiences and ideas. “It’s an opportunity to learn from colleagues,” Neely said. For more information or to sign up for a Roundtable, contact


Great Exchange turns trash into treasure

Great Exchange turns trash into treasure
By Anne O’Connor
Nashoba Valley Voice
Posted:Tue Sep 26 10:29:22 MDT 2017

DEVENS — Savvy bargain hunters knew to arrive early; a line formed before the doors opened.
The Great Exchange turns the trash of one business into the treasure of another. Nonprofit groups score too.
The donated space in the cellar underneath the MassDevelopment offices was filled with shelves, boxes and assembled furniture on Sept. 20. All of the goods were kindly-used or brand new.
The room was a cornucopia of stuff. Plastic bottles and jars, binders and even toilet paper was there for the taking, just about anything except electronics or hazardous goods.
The exchange is part of helping organizations make better use of resources, the mission of the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center.
Since 2009, when the first exchange took place, over 400 tons of material have been diverted from landfills, said Executive Director Dona Neely. She estimates close to $500,000 in savings for the more than 225 institutions from 27 area communities that give or take at The Great Exchange.
Businesses save at two ends, she said. They reduce disposal costs when recycling and can reduce purchase cost by taking what they need.
Members of the nonprofit organization can fill boxes during several-times-a-year event or get larger items by making a donation.  The suggested amount is usually less than 50 percent of the value.
Non-members can join for the day. Only businesses and non-profit groups qualify and they do not need to be located in Devens.
The swap is held several times a year, now that there is a place to store the goods that Neely collects from businesses. It began as a one-time deal, a get-together with member businesses with clean things to discard and non-profit groups that could use those
This fall, food service-sized jugs from a manufacturer that left the area will find new purpose. Chairs from a cleaned-out conference room will provide seating for another group.
Katie Ferreira filled boxes with things that can be used for craft projects and with office supplies for the Guild of St. Agnes.
The family childcare coordinator who also runs the school-age program said she was getting a lot of everything.
The planned maker spaces at Lowell’s middle schools will benefit. The wide assortment of things “gets your creative juices flowing,” said Patty Myers, the STEM coordinator for the district.
“It’s been great,” she said. The September 2017 exchange was the third time she hunted for treasures at the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center.
The early to arrive were wise. Within an hour, some of the shelves that had been filled were nearly empty, Neely said.
“Hold” signs decorated chairs and cabinets.
The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center provides educational programs, technical assistance, networking venues and partnership opportunities to help establishments protect natural, material, human, and capital resources.
For more information visit:

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.