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Boston Globe: It’s not easy being green — and Affordable — in Boston (Is it Getting Easier?)

Allison Friedman MA, United States 0 Ratings 98 Discussions 130 Group posts

Posted by: Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

Is it getting easier to be green in Boston? Globe writer Andy Rosen reports on current efforts, including:

-Boston construction over 50,000 sf must be LEED certifiable (whether certified or not)
-Affordable housing must be LEED Silver certifiable
-The E+ program (small scale) facilitates green and affordable housing
-Boston Housing Authority efforts to make 13 sites more energy efficient

According to E+ Builder Kamran Zahedi, factors such as subsidized land, public grants, and assistance from utilities and others are essential to make projects work. Mr. Zahedi estimated a 20% savings from all assistance/incentives.

Dan Helmed of the Boston Housing Authority confirmed that incentives and programs have helped facilitate improvements not otherwise affordable.

Such efforts are a great start - how do we improve the scale and keep green building affordable, especially since we know that healthy and energy efficient housing offer great returns over the long run?

Full article:

Interior Elements Taunton, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 0 Discussions 0 Group posts

Interior Elements // Environmental Interior Designer specializing in green building material selection and specification.

I just had this conversation last week as I addressed a group of architects about the changes to LEED V4 and the Materials credits. One architect challenged me on the fact that green is affordable. I agreed with him that in many instances the upgrades may cost more and even be double, however designers need to look at the whole picture to see that many sustainable initiatives are very affordable and in fact pay us back over time. As you mention utility incentives that offer free energy audits and weatherization rebates up to 75% off. I am now having my own condominium weatherized at 25% cost. Regarding healthier materials, think about less toxic materials and decreased doctor visits. This may sound arbitrary but if you think of asthma and the fact that off gassing finishes and non compliant carpet could be triggers, it makes sense. Affordability can be achieved with a little homework on our part.

Allison Friedman Weston, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 98 Discussions 130 Group posts

Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

I agree that we have to take the long view, but I was just talking to a developer who noted that this is very difficult for people who will own a building for a short time and must think of ROI during that span. How do we convert the long term returns to some short term benefit that will incentivize the developer? How much in incentives does it take, and is there a way to make this rewarding without those? Can vehicles like PACE loans help spread the costs out over the same time as the returns?

As for health, I am just so sorry we aren't all aware of this risk yet, and able to manage it. This is on my mind as I head to Greenbuild next week and plan to attend the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit. I asked for a water-based healthy poly this summer and the contractor said he would do it if I insisted. But then, I was not able to find a solidly recommended safe and durable product in time to start. I was disappointed - the floors stunk for weeks, and I know what that means.

Did you get an energy audit for your condo? Congrats! Great idea! Was that Mass Save? A committee I am on is wondering how we can get more people to sign up for energy audits - they are free and can result in significant energy savings, as you now well know.

I am excited to have us all help each other do this homework, by commenting on what we know best and have experienced and by helping each other out. Thanks for posting!

On: 11/12/2015 Interior Elements wrote:

I just had this conversation last week as I addressed a group of architects about the changes to LEED V4 and the Materials credits. One architect challenged me on the fact that green is affordable. I agreed with him that in many instances the upgrade…


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