Founded in 1940, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a nonsectarian human rights organization powered by grassroots collaboration. They focus their work to promote economic justice, bolster environmental justice, and to protect rights threatened – by natural disasters, armed conflict, genocide, forced migration, and systematic injustice.

UUSC believes that all people have inherent dignity, power, and rights.

In partnership with dedicated volunteers, tireless activists, and inspiring grassroots organizations throughout the world, UUSC aims to ensure that fundamental human rights are realities for people and communities where they are denied because of who they are – women, people of color, refugees, religious minorities, and others.


The challenge for Ethan Adams, facility and operations manager, was to ensure UUSC’s facilities were sustainable to reflect the organization’s values. Ethan set an ambitious goal to achieve LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for UUSC’s national headquarters in Cambridge, MA.

As of July 2016, the U.S. has only 1,308 LEED Platinum buildings, and only 633 from existing building retrofits. With an estimated 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S., achieving LEED Platinum certification is a significant undertaking. Ethan reached out to Prism Energy Services for their years of energy efficiency and engineering experience.


Prism conducted a comprehensive site evaluation and identified both lighting and mechanical efficiency solutions. On the lighting side, the building was retrofitted to LED lighting upgrades. On the mechanical side, Prism installed controls and variable frequency drives (VFDs) on the make-up air unit (MAU); VFDs on two 7.5 HP hot water pumps, VFDs on the 15 HP fan on the cooling tower; and a building automation system (BMS) to control the building’s heat pumps, hot water condensing boilers, hydronic pumps, cooling tower, MAU, and rooftop unit (RTU). A Green Kiosk was also installed for Ethan to monitor real-time data and benchmarks related to the facility’s energy consumption. Furthermore, Prism commissioned the VFDs and controls and conducted an ASHRAE Level 2 audit for LEED requirement and scoring purposes.


Prism helped Unitarian Universalist Service Committee receive $100,799.45 in incentives from Eversource for both lighting and mechanical projects. UUSC is projected to reduce its energy consumption by over 116,000 kWh and save over $20,500 on its energy bills annually. Both lighting and mechanical solutions combined, UUSC is projected to become cash-flow positive in less than three years.

Since the new measures were installed, UUSC’s Energy Star score has continued to rise. As of July 2016, UUSC has achieved an Energy Star rating of 92, which is 21 points over the minimum to qualify for LEED.