In 2019, Mayor Marty Walsh began Boston’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050. Their first step toward achieving that goal? Committing to zero net carbon (ZNC) for all new city-funded affordable housing as well as municipal buildings and large buildings within the private sector.
To assist in this effort, we performed large-batch analyses of housing typologies and energy-conservation standards related to carbon emissions on several fronts.
Article 37 Carbon Neutral Zoning Policy
- We worked with the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) and BR+A to incorporate carbon neutral requirements into the Article 37 process.
- The effort included defining pathways through which projects can demonstrate carbon neutrality, as well as hosting a series of technical advisory meetings through which industry experts added input into the standard.
- The zoning code is one of the first in the county to explicitly address and require zero carbon operations.
Department of Neighborhood Development Guidebook for Zero Emission Buildings
- We worked with Placetailor Architects to create zero carbon guidelines and a ‘guidebook’ for all new publicly funded housing in Boston.
- We used parametric tools to evaluate hundreds of thousands of options that reduce multifamily housing’s carbon footprint. From these options, the team determined ideal ‘recipes’ of carbon-neutral solutions for different housing typologies, specified sizes of renewable energy systems and created a guidebook that outlines relevant details for the successful completion of these ‘recipes’.
- The guidebook ensures that all new publicly funded housing can achieve carbon neutral at a minimal cost premium, and are buildable by various skill levels of builders.
Carbon Neutral Building Assessment V2
- We spearheaded a collaborative effort to create a new Carbon Neutral Building Assessment Tool.
- The effort created a publicly available calculator that allows project teams to evaluate the zero-carbon potential of their buildings.
- The calculator provides commercial buildings with an easy-to-use tool that supplies a ‘recipe’ for a carbon-neutral building that teams can price very early in the design process.
- The tool is a critical component to enabling large new developments to evaluate the potential for zero carbon operations.
Zero Carbon Municipal Workshops
- We provided a series of trainings to project managers employed by the city, outlining the process and mechanics to oversee the design and construction of zero carbon buildings.
- We continue to collaborate with the city in an effort to develop a guidebook to assist city staff in this process.
- The effort’s goal aims to ensure that all new administrative, emergency (fire, police, etc.), and school construction will be built to zero carbon standards.