Boston E+ Green Building Program – 226 – 232 Highland St

The E+ Green Building Program is an intiative the City of Boston / Boston Redevelopment Authority purposed to proving the feasibility of regenerative multi-unit residential buildings and to building energy and environmentally positive homes in Boston’s neighborhoods. 226 - 232 Highland Street is the first building completed in phase one of the Program.

My family could afford to buy and own this house because of its passive design and E+ rating.  Although we didn’t realize it when we bought it, owning an e-positive house not only reduces our cost of ownership by lowering our energy expenses, it generates sufficient revenue to more quickly pay down our mortgage.  (Ted Resnikoff, Owner, 226 Highland St).

Urbanica Development and ISA Architects, the developer / design team, were selected through a competitive design competition held by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

A POSITIVE smaller footprint

Our goal is to create low-cost, energy-positive, and environmentally sustainable multi-family housing that stands as a model of responsible, contextual residential development.

Based in a holistic approach toward sustainability, using both low and high technologies in creative, efficient ways at all levels. However, it is the belief of the team that sustainability is not simply a technological fix, but a reconceptualizing of our outlook on the relationship between ourselves, the environment, and our lifestyle. The goal thus was to promote housing that actively engages residents with their local environment, neighborhood, city, and region. By re-evaluating and investing in our existing neighborhoods, they may become denser, more diverse, and more active while maintaining a smaller footprint on the earth.

Project Description

226 - 232 Highland Street is an adaptable townhome building that is a replicable prototype of efficient residential construction for Boston and similar cities through the Northeast. The building consists of four three-bedroom units, each approximately (1970 SF), in a row house configuration.

The building’s form and orientation serve to maximize natural daylight and solar gain for the photo-voltaic arrays that annually generate more electricity than is needed on site. The approach includes two major strategies for energy reduction: first, a super insulated envelope minimizes heat transfer without relying on mechanical conditioning techniques; second, feedback mechanisms that provide information and prompt to users in the house regarding their energy-related activities. The project is thus efficient in energy, resources, use, and space throughout.

embue Intelegent Buildings provides active monitoring of energy consumption and production for the each unit owner and public facing E+ Dashboard at: https://secure.embue.com/eplus-dashboard/.

The four unit project annually surpluses over 8,000 kWh of electricty, returning to the grid enough energy to annually power a typical code compliant home.

Quick Facts

General

Location
226 Highland Street
232 Highland Street
Boston, MA02119
United States
Building Type Multi-family rowhouse
Project Type Net Exporter
Basis of Performance Claim Verified,
Bedrooms 3
Conditioned Floor Area 1 955

Energy Summary

Energy Data Type Measured,
Renewable Energy System Type(s) Photovoltaics, Other,
Ratings

LEED Platinum Certified

Annual renewable energy generated 44 400

Envelope and Mechanicals

Subslab assembly

Unconditioned crawl space with vapor barrier with crush stoned at grade.

Foundation wall assembly

10" steel reinforced concrete.

Above grade wall assembly

12” double 2×4 - 24" OC wood stud wall with Zip system sheathing and Siga taping and fiber cement siding on furring. Wall cavity filled with dense-packed cellulose and interior drywall finish.

Door Assembly

Schuco Brand, Low-E, triple paned uPVC doors.

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 0.57

Project Team:

Other Team Member

Other Team Members:

Developer/Design Manager: Urbanica, Inc
Architect of Record: Urbanica Design
Design Architect: Interface Studio Architects
LEED Consultant: Interface Studio Architects
Energy Consultant: Conservation Services Group
Green Rate/LEED for Homes Provider: Conservation Services Group
Mechanical Engineer: Engineering Design Build

Ratings:

LEED Platinum Certified

Awards:

2015 AIA COTE Top Ten Award Winner

Completion

Completion Date: Sunday, September 1, 2013

Scope

New construction, wood frame, four unit townhouse building, three stories tall. Redevelopment of a vacant urban residential site.

Type of Construction New,
Number of buildings 4
Floor area of each building 7 909
Bedrooms 3
Stories 3
Conditioned Building Volume 21 728
Conditioned Floor Area 1 955

Location and Climate Details

Multi-family rowhouse

Address
226 Highland Street
232 Highland Street
Boston, MA02119
United States
Location Type Urban
Climate Region Zone 5
Köppen Climate Type Cfb
Lat. / Long. POINT (-71.0950072 42.323117)
Elevation 65
Solar Insolation 3.76 kWh/m2/day
Annual CDD and Base Temp 915 | 65 deg F
Annual HDD and Base Temp 5826 | 65 deg F

Site

Site Conditions:

previously developed land,

Site Description:

Fronting on Marcella St., Highland St., and Fulda St., the site gradually slopes up from Marcella St. to Fulda St. The site was vacant at the time of redevelopment however records from 1899 show a multiple residential buildings tightly fitted on the site.

Monthly Energy Data and Utilities

Energy Data Type: Verified,

Electric Utility: Eversource Energy

Gas Utility: None. There is no gas connection

Renewables and Energy Balance

Renewable Energy Sources:Renewable energy is generated within the building footprint (e.g. solar PV on the roof),

Renewable Energy System Description & Details: 235 W Panasonic HIT PV panels (Model VBHN235SE01) with an module efficiency of 18.6% (Installed at 4:12 slope) Enphase Micro Inverters (95.5% Efficiency Rate) Model: M210-84-208-Sxx Rheem SolPak RS80-40BP, 40 square foot solar thermal panel (2.4 Solar Energy Factor) with an 80 gallon storage tank for hot water requirement.

Annual renewable energy generated 44 400
Annual Renewable Energy Generated Data Type Measured,
Power Rating 235Watts
Renewable Energy System Type(s) Photovoltaics, Other,
Source of Annual Production Data Production values are all measured thru the embue Building Intelligence system based on active electric utility meter readings. A public facing Dashboard is available at: https://secure.embue.com/eplus-dashboard/

Walls and Roof

Super-Insulated and Airtight Building Envelope
Ceiling/Roof: 14’’ TJI with dense-packed cellulose + R-15 rigid above (R-62)
Wall construction: 12” double 2×4 dense-packed cellulose with Zip system sheathing and Siga taping (R-40)
Windows: Schuco Brand, Low-E, triple paned uPVC windows are utilized. U-value 0.139
Floor Over Basement: 14’’ TJI with dense-packed cellulose + R-15 rigid below (R-62)

Subslab assembly

Unconditioned crawl space with vapor barrier with crush stoned at grade.

Subslab R-value 0.00
Slab edge assembly

NA

Slab edge R-value 0.00
Foundation wall assembly

10" steel reinforced concrete.

Foundation wall R-value 0.00
Above grade wall assembly

12” double 2×4 - 24" OC wood stud wall with Zip system sheathing and Siga taping and fiber cement siding on furring. Wall cavity filled with dense-packed cellulose and interior drywall finish.

Above grade wall R-value 40.00
Cathedral ceiling assembly

14’’ TJI with Zip system sheathing and Siga taping + R-15 rigid above. Cavity filled with dense-packed cellulose and interior drywall finish.

Cathedral ceiling R-value 69.00

Windows and Doors

Window Assembly:

Schuco Brand, Low-E, triple paned uPVC windows.

Door Assembly:

Schuco Brand, Low-E, triple paned uPVC doors.

Average window U-factor 0.14
Door U-Factor 0.14
Door Area 128

Mechanical Systems

Space cooling - Manufacturer & Model Same system for heating and cooling, Same system for heating and cooling,
Space heating - Manufacturer & Model Mitsubishi H2i Hyperheat MSZ FE09NA/MUZ-FE09NA, 26 SEER, 10 HSPF, Mitsubishi MSZ-GE09NA/MUZ-GE09NA, 21 SEER, 10 HSPF,
Domestic hot water - Manufacturer & Model Rheem SolPak RS80-40BP, 40 square foot solar thermal panel (2.4 Solar Energy Factor) with an 80 gallon storage tank for hot water requirement.
Domestic hot water - capacity 80
Ventilation - Manufacturer & Model Zehnder ComfoAir 350 Heat Recovery Ventilator at (Effective Heat Recovery over 75%).,
Lighting Manufacturer and Model CFL Recessed Lighting and Fixtures,
Lighting Efficiency
Mechanical Equipment Installation Details and Comments

Blower Door Test: Infiltration was test at be 0.57 ACH (air change per hour) at 50 Pascals pressure difference. Air flow is allowed to move from the lower floors of the home to the top floor. Upper level windows and a clerestory condition allow for venting excess heat and help to provide more consistent interior temperatures.

Envelope

Air Changes per hour, ACH50 0.57
Air Changes per hour, CFM50

General Process

The project is the result of the Boston Redevelopment / City of Boston E+ Green Building Program. The design / development team was selected through a competitive design process that challenged leading practitioners to envision and building the next generation of residential urban structures. Integrated project planning was a competition requirement and included utilization and submission of a HERS model with the proposal. Upon designation the project team held a charrette with city staff leading the initiative. The developer worked with the New England Council of Carpenters to utilize the project as a learning and training site for apprentice carpenters.

Design for Adaptability:

The buildings are designed to last over 100 years.

Software Tools

Software Tools:

Auto CADD

General modeling information:

REM/Rate - Residential Energy Analysis and Rating Software v14.3

Lessons Learned

Outcome of Project Goals:

The primary objects were to build LEED Platinum, net energy positive, urban residences that were market feasible and replicable.

Discrepancies:

No. Of interest is that building performance has improved in the second year as owners fine tune their management and use of the building.

Rebates and Financial Incentives

Federal incentives
Local incentives
State incentives
Utility incentives
Other incentives
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