What do harvest rainwater for irrigation, eSteam™, and learning gardens have in common? Siena Construction. Siena’s integral process, and approach to construction management, benefits from the principles of ecology and whole-systems thinking. Here are a few recent examples of how this forward-thinking firm integrates sustainable measures, both on their construction projects, and in the community.

Volpe Pavilions and Site Redevelopment

Siena recently completed initial preconstruction services for two new ground-up pavilions as part of the Volpe Transportation Center Redevelopment in Kendall Square. To prioritize sustainability, the design team and client proposed integrated systems aimed at reducing energy consumption, carbon footprint, ecotoxicity, biodiversity loss, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Siena played a vital role in evaluating the cost and schedule implications of implementing these innovative sustainable systems. They worked closely with the design team to enhance the net-zero ready envelope system, significantly reducing the size of the required mechanical system for heating and cooling. Noteworthy strategies explored include the use of Mass Timber framing and roof decking, which lowers the embodied carbon footprint compared to traditional steel and concrete structures. Additionally, a continuous enclosure system and rainscreen were implemented to optimize energy efficiency by effectively managing moisture, thermal, vapor, and air barrier systems.

The project also incorporates all-electric HVAC and hot water systems, efficient LED lighting with photocells to dim when natural light is sufficient, green roofs, living walls to mitigate stormwater runoff and showcase sustainable systems, rainwater harvesting for irrigation, and a blackwater system for campus-wide integration. 

Takeda Green Steam Project

Siena Construction recently completed infrastructure upgrades for two buildings on Takeda’s Central Square Campus. The projects both incorporated the use of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) technology to harness eSteam™ for heating and cooling purposes. This innovative approach utilizes waste heat from natural gas turbines to generate steam, resulting in significantly lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to conventional boiler systems. Siena played a pivotal role in overseeing the installation of the new green steam piping distribution within the designated buildings. 

MIT S-Lab Partnership

Over the past three years, Siena Construction has forged a strong partnership with the esteemed MIT Sloan School of Management’s Sustainability Lab (S-Lab). This collaborative initiative delves into the critical interplay between business, the environment, and society. In 2021, Siena and S-Lab joined forces to tackle the pressing issue of plastic usage in construction and demolition sites. Together, they identified strategies to achieve a remarkable 30% reduction through innovative approaches like reuse, recycling, and alternative materials. 

Building on this success, in 2023, the dynamic team devised a comprehensive methodology to measure the impact of ongoing community projects. By leveraging this framework, resources can be strategically allocated to maximize the influence and create lasting change for our valued community partners. 

Nonprofit and Community Collaborations

Siena’s commitment to making a positive impact extends through meaningful partnerships with local non-profit organizations. These partnerships encompass a range of collaborative efforts, including labor-based volunteerism, community activities, and financial support. Siena takes pride in actively engaging with a diverse array of local organizations that share a common vision of promoting expanded Environmental and Social Sustainability, Equity, and Education. 

  • City Sprouts. Over the past twenty years, learning gardens have been installed at every public school in Cambridge. Siena provides experience by serving on the board of directors and sponsors fundraising efforts for their annual Dig-It event, providing material and labor to build these school gardens. 
  • Cambridge Science Festival. Siena has been a longtime sponsor and exhibitor for the Cambridge Science Festival. 
  • Food Link. Siena volunteers weekly for food pick-ups and deliveries for Arlington-based food-rescue, Food Link, which provides meals to people in need. 
  • Innovators for Purpose. Siena partnered with IFP to construct and install a community-inspired art piece, 2 Blocks, in Kendall’s Termeer Square. 

Consistent with Kendall Square Association’s own mission, the success of Siena’s day-to-day construction operations rely on their ability to problem solve, communicate, and collaborate across a diverse team of owners, architects, engineers, consultants, and trades. Siena believes their community engagement, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts are the foundation that must be strengthened in order to support our ecological concerns and positive impact.