Energy Positive Housing (E+) in Boston

Evening view up central spine shows commercial space at ground floor. Design by Studio G Architects ©

Evening view up central spine shows commercial space at
ground floor. Design by Studio G Architects ©

Wouldn’t you love to have your home produce more energy than it uses, and get money back on your utility bills every year?  And wouldn’t you love it if this home was in a vibrant urban neighborhood with extensive green open spaces and community gardens, near the T, a bike path, and major urban amenities?

We would too!  Studio G is excited to be part of a multidisciplinary team  that submitted the E+ Parker Terrace proposal for Energy Positive Housing in Mission Hill with Truth Box, Durham Polak and Peregrine Urban Initiative as developers; KMDG as landscape architect; and Steven Winter Associates as engineers and energy consultants.

Aerial shows Parker St. rowhouses and community gardens at left, duplex units at center, and apartment building with flats to north.  Design by Studio G Architects ©

Aerial shows Parker St. rowhouses and community gardens at left, duplex units at center, and apartment building with flats to north. Design by Studio G Architects ©

In response to a request for proposals from the City of Boston’s E+ Green Building Demonstration Program, we proposed 45 homes, including 7 condominium townhouses on Parker Street, and 8 duplexes and 30 flats on Terrace Street. The design includes extensive neighborhood community gardens and a meandering path through a green space with fruit trees and shrubs.  A grand stair cascades down the steep topography from Parker to Terrace Street and the Southwest Corridor Park below, offering views across to Fort Hill.  At Terrace Street, the ground floor at the street is a glassy, open commercial space to offer an amenity like a café to the surrounding neighborhood, and behind it a parking garage is tucked into the hillside, with rainwater storage tucked behind a vegetated wall where exposed.

Community gardens and gathering space link to a sloping path through the site. Design by Studio G Architects ©

Community gardens and gathering space link to a sloping path
through the site. Design by Studio G Architects ©

How can housing produce more energy than it uses?  We designed extremely thick walls with high quality windows and doors; we shaded the south facing windows to really reduce the energy demand. Small air source heat pumps provide heating, cooling and ventilation to each unit using minimal energy.  The roofs have deep overhangs to shade windows below and increase the roof area for photovoltaic and solar thermal panels that will generate electricity and hot water.  Averaged over the year, the rooftop panels generate more electricity than residents need, and its fed back into the electric grid, to provide power to surrounding houses.

Cut-away: Duplex units over garage; south facing wall of apartment building; a screen hosts vegetation and creates privacy for balconies and windows. Design by Studio G Architects ©

Cut-away: Duplex units over garage; south facing wall of apartment building; a screen hosts vegetation and creates privacy for balconies and windows. Design by Studio G Architects ©
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