Located in the northeast section of Baltimore City, The Maryland School for the Blind (MSB) is a private, statewide resource center providing outreach, educational and residential programs to children and youth from infancy to age 21 who are blind or visually impaired including those with multiple disabilities. MSB was founded and opened in 1853. Today it serves 60% of the 1,700 students in the state who are blind or visually impaired. However, it is the 164 years in between and the strong tradition of seeking continuous improvement that has sharpened the school’s resolve and positions the campus well for future growth.
Education at The Maryland School for the Blind is more than just teaching in the classroom. Its mission is to ensure students reach their fullest potential in the community by preparing them to become independent, well-rounded and successful citizens. Every year, their dedicated team of more than 380 teachers, therapists and support staff serves over 200 students with visual impairments and multiple disabilities on the school’s 110-year-old Baltimore campus. Additionally, they serve another 1,000 students, enrolled in local Maryland school systems via the school’s outreach programs and services.
Completeness and Need
In 2008, MSB’s president, Dr. Michael J. Bina, in coordination with the Board of Directors, developed and approved the “MSB School of the Future” campus master plan to replace and upgrade the aging campus buildings, many of which were unsuitable programmatically for the special needs of the student population. The majority of the MSB campus was built between 1900 and 1970 and primarily served students with blindness only. Over the past 40 years, the school’s mission changed to meet the complex needs of students with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. In addition to blindness, two-thirds of MSB students also have multiple disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, and severe cognitive impairments. MSB students require state-of-the-art, specialized, and supportive facilities.
Once the “MSB School of the Future” campus master plan was developed, a tapestry of financial supporters came together to bring the campus vision to fruition. The State of Maryland provided partial funding (approximately 84%). The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation provided partial funding for recreation areas. Additional private funders also contributed. As a private institution, the school was also responsible for as large a portion of the funding of the campus revitalization possible.
Without a doubt, the revitalization of MSB was necessary to support the… Continue reading
While typically Lorax is tirelessly working to help our clients meet their sustainability goals, this quarter, we took a moment to share our expertise in the fields of green building and wellness in the built environment. The green building and sustainability industry is ever evolving and adapting to the changing market. Lorax has seen trends in our local market as well as changes on a national scale to what building occupants are looking for and how we can best engage key stakeholders in green building. With new rating systems and benchmarking opportunities, it is no wonder local and national periodicals are looking to us to shed some light on the subject.
Featured in Baltimore Business Journal:
While initially a challenge and a differentiator, over the last 20 years since its inception, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), has become the standard for developers, architects, engineers, contractors, building operators, and occupants for their projects and developments. More and more of these stakeholders are looking to stay ahead of the curve to differentiate their properties from the rest.
Lorax is finding that the demand for health and wellness in the built environment is trending up. Specifically, WELL and Fitwel are two new building rating systems that measures a building’s performance based on their health parameters rather than their environmental enhancements.
According to our Managing Director, Krystal O’Hara, health and wellness “is the second tier of sustainability.” It goes beyond efforts that have become common place in the design and construction industry.
Visit the link to read the full BBJ article featuring Krystal’s expertise on the topic as well as contribution from our friends at Hord Coplan Macht!
Contributed to Building Operating Management – October Issue:
Have you flipped through the October “Green Issue” of Building Operating Management magazine yet? If you get the chance, make sure to check out Katie’s contribution, LEED Guidance for Green Interiors article on page 20-22, co-authored with Stuart Kaplow of Kaplow Attorneys at Law.
Geared specifically towards facility managers and their opportunities for involvement in maintaining a green building, this write up dives into LEED v4 Commercial Interiors updates as well as what USGBC’s new Arc platform has to offer for tenant spaces. The article outlines specific LEED V4 CI credits that present an opportunity for facility managers to get involved, and also highlights the major benefits of benchmarking building… Continue reading
I like my walls the same way I like my humor- dry. Rainwater intrusion and condensation account for approximately 80% of all construction-related claims in the US. Black mold has made news headlines as a public health nightmare and represents a huge liability for building owners. And energy waste is a common enemy of owners, operators, and tenants alike. These are not new problems, and the solution is neither new nor complex. All that’s needed to mitigate risk and save energy is this: An Expert.
Lorax recently had the pleasure of welcoming Intertek employee Adam Ugliuzza, a building science and envelope specialist, into our office for a highly informative discussion about Envelope Commissioning, also known more comprehensively as Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx). We explored the ways in which a BECx agent becomes intimately involved in a project from it’s very conception, through design and construction, and into occupancy. Perhaps more so than with standard equipment commissioning, early (think: conceptual design) involvement by a BECx agent is crucial, and can save Owners money and headache down the road. BECx agents can guide a team to selection of higher performing, more cost effective, and less error-prone envelope designs. They can add detail and intricacy to the design that preemptively addresses common construction defects. And when, inevitably, construction deviates from design, they have the keen eye to spot problems others won’t see.
While LEED v4 may dangle a carrot (2 points) for teams to pursue envelope commissioning, we’re certain the value goes far beyond LEED credit. Take a field-tested mock-up wall, couple it with a whole-building blower door test, and show off your utility bills to the neighbors. BECx can massively reduce air leakage, at worst saving you energy. At best, you can account for it in design, and downsize mechanical systems accordingly. Ears always perk up at the mention of first-cost savings.
BECx can range in scope from a quick design review to extensive laboratory testing. The building type and the Owner’s goals will play a major role in determining the right fit for a given project. Lorax and our network of BECx specialists, like Adam Ugliuzza, are here to help make that evaluation. If your next project has a roof or some walls, give us a call.
Young Leaders Tour Ellicott City was also featured on the ULI Baltimore Website.
On Thursday, August 31, 2017, the ULI Baltimore Young Leaders met at the Phoenix Emporium on Main Street in Historic Ellicott City to take a walking tour and learn about the revitalization efforts following the devastating flood of 2016.
While at the Phoenix Emporium, representatives from Howard County Economic Development Authority recapped the events of the flooding, the companies and properties that were damaged, and how the community rallied together to rebuild. Impressively, Ellicott City has retained nearly all of the original businesses that were affected by the flood.
Immediately following the flood, Howard County Economic Development Authority asked ULI to assemble a Technical Assistance Panel to consider what the future of the Ellicott City retail district might look like. The two-day TAP convened on January 11th and 12th at Millworks, HCEDA’s new business resource center, and co-working space. The speakers summarized the TAP findings.
TAP addressed key strategic questions, such as:
What does Ellicott City want to be?
What retail mix should it have?
What do we need to do (in the short and medium term) to make that happen?
For ULI Baltimore, the tour of Ellicott City was a different perspective on urban planning and revitalization. Ellicott City’s revitalization focuses on historic infill sites and are restricted by geography and existing infrastructure – much different than new construction projects.
After the presentation, the Young Leaders were invited to take a walking tour up and down Main Street to see, first hand, which businesses have returned, what work still needs to be done, and how the community has evolved to be more resilient in the face of future flooding.
While unfortunate, the tour of the flood recovery in Ellicott City was particularly timely with the recent flooding and future recovery of areas like Houston, south Florida, and Puerto Rico. With the success of their recovery, Ellicott City can share lessons learned and strategies for success.
The end of the summer has brought new colors in the trees, and two new Lorax employees! We have officially added another project manager and an administrative assistant to our team.
Sabrina Moroz has come on board as our Project Manager, bringing four years of local experience in legal project management to the table. Sabrina is quickly learning the ins and outs of LEED v4, diving right into a variety of projects ranging from schools, to healthcare, to commercial spaces. Sabrina holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering from Cornell University with a minor in Law & Society. She spends most of her free time running a home bakery. Sabrina is also the Lead Volunteer Coordinator for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Maryland Chapter.
Carly Abney, serving as our Administrative Assistant, is new to both Lorax and Baltimore! After receiving her degree in Sustainable Materials and Technology at North Carolina State University she made the trek from her hometown, Raleigh, NC, to Charm City. During her time at NC State, Carly spent four years working in IT and will use those skills on various upcoming analytics projects at Lorax. She also has recent experience in the green building industry, adding to her knowledge of LEED and sustainability. Outside of work Carly enjoys exploring her new city, as well as outdoor activities like yoga and backpacking, and “unrelentingly searching for the world’s best chocolate chip cookie recipe”…. maybe Sabrina can help her out with this one?!
With one month as Loraxians officially under Carly and Sabrina’s belts, we are thrilled to welcome both their expertise and enthusiasm to the green building and sustainability industry!
NGBS (the National Green Building Standard) is a third-party verified residential sustainability rating system. It is based on the ICC-700 Standard and focuses on three primary attributes: Healthy Homes, Lower Operating Costs, and Sustainable Lifestyle. Who doesn’t want that?! Lorax has 3 NGBS Verifiers, Andrea, Tim and Hailee.
In the second quarter of 2017, Andrea and Tim updated their NGBS accreditation to 2015 NGBS Verifiers, and Hailee has joined the crew as a 2012 NGBS Verifier. NGBS Verifiers, no matter which version of the rating system, work on residential housing projects to verify compliance with the National Green Building Standard. Tim, Andrea, and Hailee do site visits to make sure your construction is going according to plan and check on building product installation. Andrea is even an NGBS Partner of Excellence for 2016!
The National Green Building Standard is the foremost residential rating system in the United States. It is applicable to single and duplex style homes, as well as multi-family units. In addition to consulting, Lorax’s accredited verifiers act as the required NAHB liaison, submit the project for certification, and provide all requested responses through the NAHB website.
This year Tim and Andrea joined an elite group of 30 NGBS Verifiers to attend the invite-only annual NGBS Verifier Retreat held in Upper Marlboro, MD. What an eventful two days! To kick off the 2017 NGBS Verifier Retreat Tim and Andrea met with NGBS Verifiers from all over the country at a Baltimore Orioles baseball game. Nothing like getting to know your fellow Verifiers and the NGBS staff over a cold beer, hotdog, and a winning game for the O’s!
The down-to-business side of the retreat included presentations from industry leaders, a tour of the Home Innovation Research Labs’s Building Science Research and Testing Facilities, and spirited discussion on the future of green building. Lorax left with new ideas and new friends — we’re already looking forward to next year!
Update as of September 5, 2017: Applications are no longer being accepted for consideration. Thank you to all of those who applied and interviewed.
Lorax Partnerships, LLC is seeking new talent to join our team. Now, in our 15th year, we continue to expand our portfolio of more than 200 completed projects, and are looking to increase our capacity to support our expanding services and growing project workload.
We are seeking enthusiastic, self-driven, service oriented individuals to fill Project Management and Business Administrative positions. The candidates we select shall be people oriented, highly organized, and enjoy working in teams. Candidates for consideration will possess strong writing and verbal communications skills in a business environment. Proficiency with business office software such as MS Office products is a must.
We are open to new employees from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. The optimal candidates should have the desire to thrive in a team work environment, and be capable of tackling a steep learning curve.
What We Do
Lorax Partnerships provides sustainability and green building consulting services to building developers, owners, and occupants, as well as business owners, architects, and other real estate professionals interested in improving the environmental performance of their company, building or development project.
Our motivated and experienced project managers furnish building owners and developers with a single and knowledgeable point of contact for sustainable design, construction, and facilities management practices.
We work with organizations to integrate sustainability into overall business strategies through corporate environmental consulting; advising on waste management, energy usage, and operational efficiency.
We have depth and breadth of experience across a number of green building codes, standards, and rating systems. Since our establishment in 2003, we have helped to streamline and expedite the building certification process for our clients in order to achieve their sustainability goals.
Who We Are
Lorax’s prime value to our clients and their project teams is our people. The company consists of highly motivated and experienced staff that believes in the business, and what it stands for, and we are continually inspired by new challenges in a rapidly evolving industry. All employees are accredited in one or more green building rating system including Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), National Green Building Standard (NGBS), Green Globes, the WELL Building Standard, Fitwel, Certified Energy Manager, and Guiding Principles.
Where We Work… Continue reading
There are many different sustainability related codes, rating systems, and standards in the marketplace today, and even more project types out there! Suffice it to say, Lorax has the ability and know-how to help you with your sustainability goals! We’ve got an AP for that!
And now, in the second quarter of 2017, we have three additional accreditations to boast: a Certified Energy Manager, a Fitwel Ambassador, and three new NGBS Verifiers!
Certified Energy Manager (CEM)
Are you looking for knowledgeable advice regarding energy usage and suggestions for improving your overall energy efficiency? There’s An AP for That! As a CEM, Andrea has the knowledge and skills to evaluate your building’s energy usage and make suggestions for improving your overall energy efficiency. She takes a holistic approach to the entire building’s energy usage to look for ways to make small economic investments for huge energy savings. Since its inception in 1981 by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), the Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) is an individual who optimizes the energy performance of a facility, building or industrial plant. The CEM is a systems integrator for electrical, mechanical, process and building infrastructure, analyzing the optimum solutions to reduce energy consumption in a cost effective approach. CEM’s are often team leaders and help to develop and implement their organizations’ energy management strategies.
Looking for a fresh approach to certification systems that address occupant health and wellness? There’s An AP for That! Katie, a new Fitwel Ambassador, is recognized as a leader and active participant in Fitwel’s healthy building movement. As the concept of occupant health and wellness continues to rise as a priority for building owners and operators, it is no surprise that this new rating system is already being utilized on so many properties. Fitwel has a vision for the future where every building is enhanced to support the wellbeing of its occupants, and surrounding communities. It is a unique building certification system that positively impacts occupant health and productivity through an integrated approach to workplace design and operations.
They may be called Verifiers instead of APs, but we can’t forget about our resident NGBS verifiers! In the second quarter of 2017, Andrea and Tim updated their NGBS accreditation to 2015 NGBS Verifiers, and Hailee has joined the crew as a 2012 NGBS Verifier.… Continue reading
Lorax’s 2017 company retreat was held on April 27th and 28th 2017, and was a little challenging to plan; mostly because our 2016 retreat was so AWESOME!
During previous retreats, Lorax’s Principal, Neal Fiorelli, typically presented to the company and the focus was on the status of the company, our services, and our performance. Essentially Neal would provide a snapshot of what is happening in that moment in time at Lorax. Even our 2016 retreat focused significantly on our past and present.
This year, we changed our focus. The theme of the 2017 Lorax Partnerships retreat was “Future Growth and the Success of Lorax.” We have so much in store for the next chapter of Lorax! Lorax is growing to the point where our 3 “newbies” will no longer be “new” as we are seeking to hire again this year to add to our exceptional team. Katie, Hailee and Tim have brought a new enthusiasm to Lorax; with new ideas, new ways of thinking, exploring, and executing, we are primed for the next level.
So what is that next level and how do we get there? At the end of 2016, Lorax’s management team worked to develop specific company goals and objectives for the 2017 calendar year. Lorax staff was given the opportunity to select a company goal to focus on and teams were formed to spearhead the efforts. These teams are responsible for developing an action plan for executing their designated goal.
During Day 1 of our retreat each team gave a 30 minute presentation about the status of achieving each goal.
The presentations addressed internal knowledge transfer, technical expertise, high performance building strategies, health and wellness in the built environment, building occupant behavior, business development tactics, industry trends, a competitive and market analysis, improvements to company operations, and so much more. We are definitely looking ahead!
Day 1 also included team building exercises including the “Wall of Wonder” where we did a little humble-bragging about our recent accomplishments and “Defeating Your Competitor” where we developed a hypothetical competing sustainability firm and then outlined our strengths and strategies for outperforming them. Day 1 was exceptionally productive and forward-focused, but nothing compares to Day 2!
On Day 2, Lorax swung from the treetops at Go Ape! For 4 hours, Lorax zipped through the forest canopy, tackled dangling obstacles, overcame our collect fear of… Continue reading
Lorax is known throughout the Baltimore area as green building and sustainability consultants – but we decided we didn’t want to stop there! In an effort to be a good neighbor in our community, and help improve more than just the buildings within it, we have initiated a new Company Charity Matching Program.
Lorax is now matching all of our employee’s personal donations to various local charities, including the South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC), BARCS Animal Shelter, The Salvation Army, The Associated Jewish Charities, and the Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore. These organizations all have a special place in Lorax’s heart for different reasons.
- Neal sits on the Salvation Army Advisory Board
- Tim and Hailee volunteer as tutors at SBLC
- Katie is a participant of the Youth Leadership Council of The Associated
- Kristy and Krystal have adopted animals from BARCS Animal Shelter
However, we aren’t just putting our money where our mouth is… Lorax has been busy getting involved with these non-profits as well as several others!
Back in April Lorax showed power in numbers with over half of our company attending the SBLC Gala! After weeks of preparation by Hailee & the rest of the gala committee, we had an exciting evening filled with inspirational graduate speeches and unexpected auction winnings! We are so proud to support SBLC’s work to provide literacy, life skills training, and career services to Baltimore.
Throughout the spring and summer, our Lorax residents of Federal Hill – Tim, Hailee, Katie and Katie – have attended many Volunteering Untapped events. With a motto of Doing More for Bmore, VU organizes fun local volunteer opportunities on a monthly basis. From tree plantings with Blue Water Baltimore, to city clean-up efforts with the Waterfront Partnership, and handy work at the Baltimore Community Tool Bank, we’ve helped make a difference across our city, and can’t wait to see what events the upcoming months have in store!
As our work in the community continues into the hot summer months, Lorax hopes to continue a positive presence in South Baltimore and beyond!