As the City of Boston changes its approach to green housing, residents could see the impact spread beyond city-sponsored projects.
“Right now every project I look at, I look at… energy efficiency,” said Kamran Zahedi, the principal at Urbanica Development.
Zahedi’s firm recently won a bid to redevelop a city lot in Roxbury and install a set of four townhomes so energy efficient that they will actually generate more power than they use.
Under normal conditions, he said, the designs his firm assembled would have been too expensive to be profitable on the real estate market in that section of Roxbury, but the Boston Redevelopment Authority offered a $15,000 subsidy for each unit.
Zahedi expects to break ground on that project in August. He said he had never considered such deep-green designs before and expects this project to serve as a prototype for future buildings in the city and beyond.
“Hopefully some of the costs can be shared and some of the techniques can be standardized,” Zahedi said—which was the BRA’s intent.
John Dalzell, an architect with the authority, told Patch recently that the city asked for the hyper-efficient, “energy positive” proposals for three city lots (including the one Zahedi won) in an effort to change Boston’s housing landscape.
The effort drew a total of eleven firms to submit a total of fourteen designs. The competition awakened Zahedi—whose firm submitted plans for all three lots—to the potential viability of such sustainable designs. For other firms, though, it inspired them to take their already-green standards a notch further.
“Our current projects incorporate a lot of this technology, just not all of it,” said Charles Aggouras, the president and CEO of GFC Development, Inc.
Aggouras said his firm built the first LEED certified house in Somerville, but expects his bid-winning efforts on two adjoined homes in Jamaica Plain to bring his green work to a new level.
“Things that we learn though these projects get incorporated in all kinds of ways into all kinds of other projects,” Aggouras said.
And that, Zahedi said, is important for the future.
“Energy keeps getting more expensive and more scarce,” he said.