Boston is an old city with many historic, yet inefficient buildings. However, some of the city’s newer and refurbished buildings prove that Boston is still a leader in scientific and political innovation. In fact, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently rated Boston as the most energy-efficient city in the country. This is due, in part, to the focus on green buildings and green retrofits. Read on for five buildings that are paving the way for Boston’s green future.
290 Congress St.
Boston, MA 02110
Boston Properties’ Atlantic Wharf in the Waterfront District is home to both commercial and residential space featuring Energy Star-rated appliances, super-efficient LED lighting and recycled building materials. The building has been awarded USGBC’s LEED Platinum certification, and is considered Boston’s first “green” skyscraper. It uses approximately 30 percent less energy than other similar buildings in the city.
19 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116
Boston’s first LEED certified accommodation, the HI-USA Hostel opened in the Theater District in the summer of 2012. Not only is the hostel affordable, starting at $29 per night, it is also a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facility with a staff that promotes green living practices to guests. The building features signage throughout indicating sustainable aspects of the structure, commonly known as the “green tour” of the building. The hostel also signifies a new wave of sustainable travel options. Hostels are more eco-friendly than hotels because of their shared facilities, common spaces and less demand for one-time-use products.
5 Channel Center St.
Boston, MA 02210
The Fraunhofer Center in the Seaport District is green inside and out. This building is actually where some of the world’s leading sustainable technologies are developed and tested. The facility is home to a CVF solar test laboratory and a Smart Grid research laboratory. The Fraunhofer Center is leading the way for building materials technology, so it is appropriate that its building is one of the most efficient in the city.
Boston Design Center
1 Design Center Place
Boston, MA 02210
Also in the Seaport is the Boston Design Center. While this building isn’t the most energy efficient, it is home to one of the most innovative and inspiring urban green living projects in the country: Higher Ground Farm. The farm is located on the roof of the building on nearly 55,000 square feet of space. The rooftop farm provides natural insulation for the building while producing tomatoes, arugula, basil and other food crops. Higher Ground Farm is less than a year old and is hoping to offer CSA membership options to city residents as the farm develops.
While not yet complete, Mayor Menino’s E+ Housing project in Roxbury will soon set the standard for efficient city residences. E+ indicates that the homes will give energy back into the grid, meaning that the homes will produce more energy than they use. The first townhouses have already sold for $529,000 each, much higher than the neighborhood average, but this shows that Bostonians are excited to see green housing options enter the marketplace.
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Cameron Bruns is the founder of BostonGreenBlog.com and co-author of Just Us Gals Boston. She lives in Boston’s North End, where her goal is to promote ethical, stylish, and sustainable lifestyle choices to all Boston residents. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.