Solar Powered Townhouses Open in Cambridge, Massachusetts
To create this sustainable housing for downtown Cambridge, Homeowner’s Rehab Inc hired Mostue & Associates Architects and held multiple “green meetings” to develop a Sustainability Charter for Trolley Square.
The 40 affordable residential units and 2,800 square feet of commercial and community space, an underground garage, and 14,000 square feet of open space are designed to bring an infusion of energy and foot traffic for the many locally-owned businesses along this stretch of Massachusetts Avenue.
Originally the roof was not designed for solar, because funding came late. It had no parapet, which put some constraints on construction. Consequently, Lighthouse Electrical Contracting had to install the 43 KW solar system so it could withstand 120 mile per hour winds.
Walking is encouraged by an internal raised garden that is planted above the garage roof, forming a central plaza. Entrances are raised above the courtyards, and are personal and individual, suggesting the townhouses in the area.
Photovoltaic array installed on the roof provides solar energy
Energy-efficient lighting and appliances
Common area lights use occupancy and daylight sensors and timers
High efficiency boilers, thermostats and variable speed fans
Cellulose insulation in walls exceeds code by 30 percent
Windows are insulated with argon-filled glazing and low-E coating
Low flow showers and dual-flush toilets
Storm water retention tanks slow the flow of storm water
Drought-tolerant native plants on the grounds get rain harvested irrigation
No asphalt/parking lots: underground garage is under a central planted courtyard
Low-VOC paints and sealants throughout