Cooper Center wins $30K award for clean energy, innovative construction

The Cooper Active Living Center isn’t even built yet and it’s already winning awards.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently named the currently-in-construction senior community center (which will include spaces for the whole community) named the Cooper Center a runner up in its Embodied Carbon Reduction Challenge. And that runner-up status comes with $30,000.

The Cooper Active Living Center will offer what its title suggests: active living. The 32,000-square-foot facility, set to open in late 2025, will have a gymnasium with a suspended walking track, a game room, fitness rooms, activity spaces, an outdoor roof deck and more to keep seniors and their friends active and part of the community.

Wood you look at that

The Embodied Carbon Reduction Challenge report cited, among other things, the Cooper Center’s innovative use of wood in place of concrete where possible, as well as cross-laminated timber decking and roofing, stress-engineered glulam wood means, wood stud framing and wood I-joists.

Cross-laminated timber is prefabricated wood engineered by cris-crossing wood fragments and securing them with a very strong glue, and it’s both light-weight and about as strong as concrete with far fewer environmental impacts (lots more fossil fuels are used to create concrete and steel, according to MIT).

“The optimization resulted in 27% reduction in embodied carbon when compared to the baseline,” Newton Public Buildings Commissioner Josh Morse wrote in an email announcing the award.

According to a 2022 United Nations report, building materials account for about 9 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.