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E+//226-232 Highland

Interface Studio Architects, Urbanica Design

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E+//226-232 Highland

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Project Description

This project is a winner in the 2017 AIA Housing Awards in the One and Two Family Production Housing category.

The Roxbury E+ project consists of four three-story wood-frame homes in Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood. As part of the City of Boston’s Energy Plus (E+) Green Building Program – a pilot initiative aiming to develop models for energy positive market-rate housing – these infill prototypes marry affordability with radical high performance, producing a measurably net positive energy balance on an annual basis. This ambition engages with a new market of urbanites committed to minimizing their impact on the environment through lifestyle choices and investment in green construction practices. The design began with a right-sized, elemental box – simple and affordable to construct, and predictable in its ability to be tightly air-sealed and insulated. The massing was stepped in response to a sloping site, sloped for solar photovoltaic orientation, and inset with reverse bay windows to provide light and air while relating to adjacent facade geometries.

226 - 232 Highland E+ Townhouses consists 4 three-story residential units in Roxbury neighborhood of the city. The project is part of the city of Boston's Energy Plus (E+) Green Building Program-a pilot initiative to develop energy positive sustainable housing in emerging neighborhoods. Urbanica and Interface Studio Architects were selected through a design competition organized by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The homes are LEED for Homes Platinum Certified and achieved Net Energy Positive HERS ratings between (-6) and (-8). The building envelope is designed to be thermally robust: double-stud wall construction, high insulation levels, prevention of air infiltration at seams and transitions and the installation of triple-glazed high performance windows all help to reduce heating and cooling energy use. Each home is equipped with Solar Photovoltaic panels and a solar thermal panel to provide electricity and hot water for the house. The energy output from the Solar Photovoltaic panels is targeted to exceed the demands, with surplus to be feed back into the grid. The project utilizes high efficiency Heat Recovery Ventilator for optimal air exchange and ductless mini split systems to provide heating and cooling. Hard surface flooring promotes an environment with fewer respiratory irritants than a typical home. Interior finishes include low VOC paints and FSC certified cabinetry. All appliances are Energy Star rated. The lush and verdant landscape design uses native New England plant types that are low maintenance and drought tolerant.

Efficient framing strategies helped to reduce construction waste during the build process. Low flow plumbing fixtures and drought tolerant landscaping minimize overall water consumption. Permeable paving and site infiltration strategies also help lessen the strain on local municipal water systems. A comprehensive public awareness program through website, signage, presentation and public tours helped educate the public at large on sustainable green building strategies.

226-232 Highland St. E+ Townhouses demonstrate that the future of sustainable design can be contextual, performative and aesthetically pleasing. The project has been awarded the 2014 Boston Society of Architect (BSA) Housing Design Award and the 2014 BSA Honor Award in Design Excellence. Urbanica executed this project from all angles, from the start of the RFP process to construction completion; from sales and marketing to post occupancy monitoring.

Project Team:
Developer: Urbanica, Inc
Architect of Record: Urbanica Design
Design Architect: Interface Studio Architects, LLC
Structural Engineer: DM Berg Consultants, PC
Civil Engineer/Surveyor: C.L.G. Associates
MEP: Engineering Design Build, Inc
Solar Consultant: Transformation Solar
Energy Monitoring Consultant: Embue
HERS Rater/LEED Provider: Conservation Services Group
General Contractor: Urbanica Construction
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