LEED BD+C: Homes v3 - LEED 2008
71 Westminster Avenue
LEED Platinum 2014
Although the fire was a tragic event, the reconstruction of 71 Westminster Avenue provided a unique opportunity to reconstruct the building to the highest sustainability standards and exemplify the best in green affordable housing. With this goal, Urban Edge elected to pursue a certification for the building under the LEED for Homes program.
In 2011, a six-alarm fire devastated Wardman Apartments, an affordable housing development in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston owned by Urban Edge Housing Corporation. There were no fatalities due to the courageous actions of residents and firefighters. But thirteen people were injured and more than 75 residents became homeless. Twelve families had to be relocated for over two years, as their building was demolished due to damage from the fire.
Although the fire was a tragic event, the reconstruction of 71 Westminster Avenue provided a unique opportunity to reconstruct the building to the highest sustainability standards and exemplify the best in green affordable housing. With this goal, Urban Edge elected to pursue a certification for the building under the LEED for Homes program. Indoor air quality concerns were a particular focus of the project, given the high incidence of asthma among the populations served.
Located in a historic neighborhood of Boston, 71 Westminster is within walking and biking distance to several public transportation options and local amenities. The building’s green design features encompass building systems and components and reduce energy usage; provide a comfortable, healthy indoor environment; and facilitate greener living for tenants. Features include increased air sealing to the exterior and between neighboring units, high efficiency heating equipment, filtered and tempered supply air provided through an Energy Recovery Ventilator, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, energy efficient appliances, high-efficiency lighting, local and recycled content materials, and interior finishes with low-VOC content. The building’s landscaping is composed of native, drought-tolerant plantings. When water is required for irrigation, it is supplied from storm water collected in a catch basin in the basement, removing the burden on city water systems.
The environmental impact of all construction-related activities was minimized. The waste management plan resulted in over 75% of construction waste being recycled, while the panelized wall design allowed for off-site construction to reduce installation time, minimize field-constructed deficiencies, and reduce waste produced onsite.
Two years after a devastating and traumatic fire, twelve families have sparkling new homes and the community has an attractive new asset that sets the standard for green affordable housing.