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$207M Supports Harvard Climate Goals

Green Bonds from MassDevelopment Help Finance University’s Green Buildings in Boston and Cambridge
August 09, 2022

Matthew Mogavero, 857-248-0868

Jason Newton, 617-495-1585

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MassDevelopment has issued a $207,830,000 in tax-exempt Green Bonds on behalf of Harvard University, which will use proceeds to finance or refinance three sustainable university buildings across Boston and Cambridge in support of Harvard’s climate goals. The bonds received the Green Bond designation by Kestrel Verifiers, which are approved verifiers accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). The bonds were sold through a public offering underwritten by a syndicate of banks led by Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC.

“Harvard University has proven itself a leader in green building standards, sustainability, and our collective effort to reach net-zero carbon emissions,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is proud to provide Harvard with tax-exempt green bonds for three projects that prioritize energy efficiency and the environment.”

Bond proceeds will support projects including the recently constructed Science and Engineering Complex at 150 Western Ave. and recent renovations at the Soldiers Field Park housing complex at 111 Western Ave, both located in Boston’s Allston neighborhood. Bond proceeds will also support the ongoing renovations at the Adams House student residences located adjacent to the undergraduate main campus in Cambridge.

Harvard University’s Science and Engineering Complex houses the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The 544,000-square-foot building was placed in service in fall 2020 and is recognized as one of the most energy-efficient, healthy, and sustainable lab buildings in the world. The complex is certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum and is the largest building to receive Living Building Challenge Materials, Equity, and Beauty Petal certification.

The renovation of the Soldiers Field Park, a four-building Harvard-affiliated housing complex in Allston built in the 1970s, was recently completed. All buildings were renovated and are separately certified LEED Gold. Adams House, an undergraduate student residence in Cambridge consisting of six buildings primarily built between 1892 and 1932, continues to undergo a phased renovation focused on increased capacity and standard of living. The Adams House renovations are designed to LEED Gold specifications.

“We were glad to partner with MassDevelopment to finance these innovative and important projects on campus,” said Harvard University Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Tom Hollister. “We hope the Green Bond designation will help illuminate both Harvard’s and MassDevelopment’s long-standing sustainability efforts and add momentum to the sustainable financing market.” 

Harvard University, a research university established in 1636, is the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning. Currently, Harvard enrolls more than 20,000 full-time equivalent undergraduate and graduate students at its 13 schools, including the undergraduate college, graduate schools, and several research institutions and museums.

Harvard strives to be a leader in sustainability, having first adopted green building standards in 2009.  More recently, in 2018, Harvard established goals to eliminate the use of fossil fuels on its campus by 2050 and achieve fossil fuel-neutrality by 2026.

MassDevelopment offers several financing options to benefit environmentally friendly projects across the Commonwealth, including the Brownfields Redevelopment Fund, tax-exempt green bonds, and the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Massachusetts program.

MassDevelopment previously provided green bond financing to another institution of higher learning. In January 2022, the agency issued a tax-exempt bond to help Springfield College build and equip a new environmentally friendly and sustainable 76,000-square-foot health sciences building. 

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2021, MassDevelopment financed or managed 416 projects generating investment of more than $1.86 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 6,578 jobs and build or preserve 1,909 housing units.