BRA expands green project – Project encourages Triple Decker owners to go green

October 6, 2010
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In the Northeast, specifically Boston and neighborhoods like East Boston, South Boston and Dorchester the phenomenon of triple decker construction in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s served to house the large immigrant families that were moving here from Ireland and Italy.

However, many of these properties, which line almost every street from Eagle Hill to Orient Heights, are over 100 years old and many are not very energy efficient.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) announced this week that it is expanding its Green Triple Decker project from two to five structures in Boston and is ready to accept applications from residents here interested in better greening their home.

In partnership with the federal Energy Star program, local utilities NSTAR and National Grid and Historic Boston Inc., the BRA has recently developed a strategy to improve the energy efficiency of Boston’s triple-deckers which will result in lower energy costs for occupants, while tackling a potent municipal green house gas emission target.

The Green Triple Decker program will provide grants, matched with utility incentives, to qualifying owner applicants to achieve significant energy performance improvements in Boston’s historic triple-decker housing style. Triple-decker owner applicants should be individuals who have planned some renovation work, are willing to work with a team of building energy efficiency experts to develop their project, and are ready to proceed logistically and financially.

“Tackling energy inefficiency in Boston’s housing is one of Mayor Menino’s sustainability and economic development priorities,” said BRA Director John F. Palmieri. “Leaky buildings cost residents more to heat and cool, and increase the City’s overall greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the City’s climate change report found that residents and businesses could save over $2 billion in energy expenses over 10 years if we reduced our green house gas emissions by 25%.”

The BRA is partnering with Historic Boston Incorporated (HBI) to ensure the retrofit of these historically important buildings will not only achieve energy performance goals, but also maintain the significant historic elements of these structures.

Working closely with program utility partners HBI, NSTAR and National Grid, Energy Star provider ICF International, and a general contractor, building owners will identify an energy efficiency retrofit work plan and budget that meets the program’s aggressive energy performance and greenhouse gas reduction goals while maintaining the significant historic qualities of the building. Building owners may be eligible for BRA and utility program rebates up to $27,000 per building, however they must also be prepared to finance, with cash or credit, the balance of the work plan cost.

“National Grid is pleased to partner with the City under the BRA’s Green Triple Decker Project,” said Ed White, vice president, Energy Products for National Grid. “We see this as a natural fit to help advance efficiency and promote nationally recognized strategies that help mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce energy costs.”

White said the city and Mayor’s priorities align with National Grid’s commitment to the Commonwealth’s three year plan that helps deliver efficiencies vital to future generations.

Penni Conner, NSTAR’s Vice President of Customer Care said NSTAR is in full support of Boston’s Green Triple Decker project.

“By expanding the project to include more structures, the City is ensuring that more of our customers will have the opportunity to share in the benefits of improved energy efficiency measures,” she said.

In addition to providing immediate and positive economic impacts to residents and reducing climate change causing green house gas emissions, the Green Triple Decker project will help inform future Recovery Act funded energy efficiency work in Boston’s substantial multi-family building stock.

This program will complement the City’s Renew Boston program, which received $6.5 million in Energy Efficiency Community Development Block Grant funds to launch a city wide energy efficiency effort focusing on the built environment.

To apply to participate in the program, please visit www.greentechboston.com.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with the first review occurring October 15.

Applicants may contact GreenTech Business Manager Galen Nelson at 617-918-4447 or galen.nelson.bra@cityofboston.gov if they have questions about the program.

Selected applicants will participate in a design charrette with the program partners to discuss energy efficiency retrofit options and related work plans and budge

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