City, News

Roxbury sustainable housing selected for award


A townhouse complex in Roxbury is selected as a 2017 American Institute of Architects Housing Award Winner Friday morning because of its sustainability. PHOTO BY JINGYI LIN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Roxbury Highland Street E+ Green Building project was chosen to receive one of three 2017 American Institute of Architects Housing Awards given to U.S. houses in the “One and Two Family Production Home” category, according to a Friday press release from the Boston Planning and Development Agency and the Department of Neighborhood Development.

The four wood-frame townhomes, located in Roxbury at the corner of Highland Street and Marcella Street, were designed by Interface Studio Architects, an architectural company that was chosen through a competitive design contest last year, according to the press release.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said in the press release the city of Boston will continue to pursue projects to improve the sustainability of the city.

“In Boston, we lead the nation in so many areas because we constantly challenge ourselves to do better,” Walsh said in the release. “I thank the AIA for honoring our work alongside Interface Studio Architects and Urbanica in Roxbury.”

The selected home represents the city of Boston’s E+ Green Building Program, an agenda that is mutually run by the BPDA, the Department of Neighborhood Development and the Environment Department.

John Dalzell, the senior architect for the BPDA, said this house is one of many in the area receiving awards for its energy efficiency, and that similar houses should be built across the board.

“These homes are producing more energy than they use,” Dalzell said. “We need to normalize [this] practice with all of our new buildings with zero [emissions].”

Dalzell cited other instances of private homes being built with similar standards and potential for energy efficiency.

“It’s neat because the private market is seeing the practice and replicating the practice,” Dalzell said.

Daniel Bluestone, director of the Preservation Studies Program and a professor of history of art and architecture at Boston University, said using less energy is fundamental to a green home.

“Architects are increasingly focused on the problems of climate change and resource depletion, and green [buildings are] a response to that,” Bluestone said. “If you can figure out both how to build them and how to operate them using less energy and emitting less greenhouse gas, then in general you are addressing some of the issues of sustainability.”

The homes produce more energy than they consume in a year and are LEED Platinum certified, a certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council to homes with the most potential for sustainable design.

Bluestone said although the environmentally-friendly home in Roxbury is an improvement, the greenest buildings are those that already exist.

“Recycling existing buildings … is ideal,” Bluestone said. “They have embodied energy from previous generations, from previous harvesting of materials and workers were already paid to put the materials in place.”

Several Boston residents shared their support for sustainable building and greater environmental consciousness.

Carla Owens, 46, of Dorchester, said she would love to the visit the house and tries to do her part in helping the environment.

“I recycle, and I try to take public transportation as much as possible,” Owens said. “It’s the little things that really can make a big difference in the long run.”

Kathleen Hunter, 27, of Brighton, said she is pleased with the home as it represents big advancements for environmental sustainability.

“I really like the idea of going green, especially with the incoming administration throwing a lot of that kind of stuff out of the window,” Hunter said. “I do all the little things like recycling, but when you hear about a house like this one, it really makes you realize how little you are doing. If we all had [a] house like this one, the environment would be a much safer place.”

Coleman Riordan, 26, of Fenway, said protecting the environment should be of the utmost importance.

“Going green is something that’s really important to me,” Riordan said. “A lot of people bash it because they don’t think it’s cool. Some people don’t even think it’s important, like [President Donald] Trump, but I believe it to be vital to protect the environment, because right now we’re not trending in the right direction. Houses like this one are a step in the right direction.”







More Articles

Comments are closed.