Local Company Helping Housing to Go ‘Green’

With construction on an environmentally friendly, two-family dwelling underway at 67 Beech Glen St. now underway, the Fort Hill section of Roxbury is a rapidly growing enclave of green housing in the city.

Tend Developments of Charlestown is partnering with Placetailor, a Jamaica Plain-based, cooperative design and construction firm, to build the neighborhood’s newest high-performance “passive” house based on Passivehaus – a self-imposed German standard for energy efficiency in construction. To achieive this goal, well-positioned windows capture sunlight to heat the well-insulated, custom-fit homes while a heat-recovery ventilator is used to stream fresh winter air inside.

Declan Keefe, strategic director for Placetailor, said the home, which is being built on speculation, has yet to be listed on MLS (Multiple Listing Service), although it has already generated substantial interest among prospective buyers.

The first passive home in Fort Hill was erected at 67 Dudley St. in 2008, and Keefe said a dozen more are expected to break ground in the neighborhood within the next year.

Placetailor is also renovating and expanding Fort Hill’s community center to help bring it into compliance with the Passivehaus standard.

“This is a trend that’s already started, and it’s exploding right now,” Keefe said. “It’s evidence that the real-estate market is responding to a higher-quality product.”

Another indication of the trend’s growing popularity is larger multi-unit “passive” developments now in the pipeline: While one- to three-unit dwellings was previously built, Keefe said he is now seeing plans for five units and upwards.

Keefe also expects developers to look at Fort Hill as a model for building “passive” housing elsewhere in the city.

“This is a great representation of what can happen other places,” Keefe said. “ Anywhere where there’s land left, there’s interest in building quality housing stock to this standard.”

Meanwhile, Jim Labeck, president of Tend Developments, points to other city neighborhoods as fertile ground for more “passive” homes.

“I believe urban centers are the best opportunity for establishing some sort of model for sustainable, environmentally responsible development,” Labeck said. “We can take advantage of existing infrastructures, public transportation and walking distance economies.”

            For more information on “passive” homes, visit www.placetailor.com.

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