Green development -- not just for tree-huggers
Originally published in slightly different form on the Boston LISC website on February 8, 2011
If you were writing a news article about a green redevelopment of an affordable housing complex, which section of the paper would you put it in? The Boston Globe chose the Business section. Read the article --- "Castle Square upgrade: South End apartments built in 1960s to get green makeover" --- here.
Castle Square — a tenant-owned, 500-apartment complex in Boston's South End — is going green.
A huge undertaking, it will receive comprehensive energy efficiency and mechanical upgrades to achieve a whopping 72 percent energy savings.
But why the Business section of the newspaper?
Perhaps because using innovative technologies — such as solar-powered hot water systems and super-insulation, together with common sense, like sealing air leaks and installing energy efficient appliances — isn’t just something for tree-huggers.
It’s good business.
In fact, much of a typical “green redevelopment” is intuitive: Why use more energy than you have to?
However, a building is a complex system and formulating a plan to make that system function in the best possible way can be truly challenging. Kudos to the Castle Square Tenants Organization for pursuing a long-term strategy to keep operating costs low and decrease energy use.
Castle Square Technology Center
Small decisions have a powerful impact
Castle Square’s green makeover is a perfect example of how business, health, environment, and community are interrelated. It’s the small decisions, added together, that make a powerful impact.
When the tenant-owners of the apartments choose to install resilient flooring, for example, they not only decrease long-term maintenance costs, they also reduce the airborne particulates and chemicals that can trigger asthma attacks.
When kids don’t get rushed to the emergency room, they don’t miss school and their parents don’t miss work. When a carpet isn’t being replaced every six years, our landfills are less encumbered.
The countless small decisions made in concert, across entire neighborhoods, driven by residents, are what comprehensive community development is all about.
Together they can — and do — elevate the quality of life for everyone.
Posted in Boston, Parks, Open Space & Greening, Thinking Out Loud