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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thanks to Briv from for finding this article. Seems really interesting, and I'll try and post some pictures whenever the renderings are released.

Originally Posted by The Boston Herald
Southie may host first U.S. ‘zero-energy’ complex

By Paul Restuccia
Friday, May 16, 2008 - Updated 8h ago

Boston’s push to become a U.S. leader in the burgeoning “green” building movement is taking a huge step forward with plans to start building the nation’s first “zero-energy” multi-unit residential complex in South Boston by early next year.

The project, on the site of The Distillery artists loft building in South Boston at 516 E. Second St., would have 65 to 70 new units that generate all their power on-site by burning wood chips or vegetable oil. The project is getting exposure at the national American Institute of Architects convention, which began yesterday in the Hub.

“This is a huge thing in Europe and now we’re bringing it to the United States,” said developer Fred Gordon, who owns the Distillery building, which will be preserved.

“What Boston is doing with green design is impressive, going beyond its parochialism and bringing in the real experts from around the world,” said Hubert Murray, a Hub architect and past Boston Society of Architects president. He is a consultant on the Southie project, which is being designed by Next Phase Studios, a young Boston firm with green design experience on the well-regarded Genzyme headquarters building.

The zero-energy project is happening as city officials outlined Boston’s first-in-the-nation “green” zoning code yesterday to a packed house at the AIA convention.

“Other cities are looking to us as a model and want to emulate what we’ve done,” said Kairos Shen, director of planning for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, one of the presenters at the AIA forum.

Boston’s green zoning code, enacted last year, requires that projects larger than 50,000 square feet be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifiable and offers green building credits for energy savings, historic preservation, groundwater conservation and for transit-pass plans and car-sharing and bike facilities.

Zero-energy or “carbon neutral” buildings far exceed energy savings now required by the city. LEED standards can save up to 30 percent of energy use.

The South Boston project’s “passive house” technology involves completely sealing and insulating housing units and using ventilators for heat recovery and fresh air.

The project is about two-thirds of the way through the city’s large-project review process and the developer hopes to break ground by early next year. Gordon says the cost premium for the project is only 3 percent.
“We’ve set the floor citywide and we’re pushing developers not just to meet our expectations but to exceed them,” said James Hunt III, chief of the city’s environmental and energy services department and co-presenter at the AIA forum.
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