By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor
In order to highlight Boston’s commitment to innovation, sustainability and green building, two affordable housing communities in the city were listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) among the first multifamily housing properties in the nation to earn new ENERGY STAR multifamily certification for superior energy performance.
The 17 apartment and condo buildings across the country were recognized by EPA as top performers in reducing energy use, increasing affordability, protecting public health, and combating climate change. “Communities, renters and businesses all benefit when multifamily properties operate more efficiently,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “When these buildings use less energy, they also prevent greenhouse gas emissions, increase comfort, and lower costs for renters, making it a win-win for the environment, public health and the economy.”
Located at 476 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End neighborhood, Castle Square Apartments is an affordable housing community built in the 1960s and owned by Castle Square Tenants Organization in partnership with WinnDevelopment, the real estate development arm of WinnCompanies. Castle Square Apartments includes four mid-rise buildings and 19 town houses totaling 500 units of affordable housing, as well as 20,000 square feet of retail space.
In June 2012 the 540,000-square-foot community completed the nation’s largest Deep Energy Retrofit on an existing affordable housing community. As previously reported by MHN, the $8.18 million renovation process took over two years to complete and resulted in energy savings greater than 70 percent thanks to a super insulated shell installed on the outside of the building, an insulated reflective roof, high efficiency windows and extensive air sealing, and an array of additional energy efficient amenities. Six months after the renovation project was completed, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded Castle Square Apartments LEED Platinum Certification, which is the highest green building rating.
The second Boston property recognized by EPA is Shattuck International House, a residence owned and managed by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). Shattuck International House comprises three interconnected buildings located at 199, 203, and 207 Park Drive. Envisaged as a housing complex for HSPH’s graduate students and their families from the U.S. and abroad, Shattuck International House consists of a mix of one- and two-bedroom units totaling 70 apartments. The complex, which was built in 1920, has a long history with Energy Star certifications. Back in 2007 it was the first residence hall in Boston and one of the first dormitories in the country to earn an Energy Star Label and has kept this high standard ever since, striving to improve energy efficiency by improving lighting, heating and ongoing outreach to residents. According to EPA, all computers at Shattuck House have power management software enabled and residents are encouraged to shut them down when they’re finished using them. Furthermore, residents receive period emails with a “Green Tip of the Month” sent by the Harvard Green Campus Initiative.
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Images via Castle Square Apartments and HSPH