By Celis Brisbin, Programs Manager

The Homes at Old Colony are new affordable apartments that offer energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, and reduced environmental impact. The project team achieved these goals through advanced construction techniques, sustainable materials and optimized systems designed to meet LEED and ENERGY STAR certification requirements at the highest levels.


Leading the effort, Beacon Communities Development LLC successfully partnered with the Boston Housing Authority to provide the experience and management necessary to transform the former defunct public housing complex into a new, affordable, sustainable and safe neighborhood. The Architectural Team, Inc. implemented a thoughtful master plan which replaced the 1940's barracks-like brick complexes of the original Old Colony project with a livable, accessible, vibrant multi-family community that fits seamlessly into the surrounding context and promotes engagement with the extended neighborhood. New Ecology, Inc. provided LEED and ENERGY STAR design guidance and management from project inception through occupancy, focused on maximizing attainable, cost effective sustainability and energy efficiency measures throughout the project.


Sustainable design strategies employed to meet the challenging goals set during the LEED charrette included: 

  • maximizing the benefits of the well-connected site location through attentive neighborhood design 
  • the extensive use of recycled and regional materials
  • ultra-low VOC materials throughout 
  • a highly efficient and well-sealed envelope with water-blown spray foam insulation 
  • low-flow fixtures and minimized irrigation requirements for landscaping
  • high efficiency fan coils and HRVs for each unit for the lowrise buildings
  • centralized ERVs for the mid-rise apartment buildings.  


The residential buildings at Phase One of the Homes at Old Colony achieved a Platinum level certification under LEED for Homes, and the Joseph M. Tierney Learning Center achieved a Gold level certification under LEED BD&C New Construction. Construction on Phases Two A and B were completed in Summer 2014, and these phases  

achieved a Platinum certification under LEED for Homes and LEED for Homes Mid-Rise, while Phase Two C is nearing completion for Summer 2015, and is anticipating LEED Platinum certification as well.  Both Phases One and Two of the redeveloped Old Colony community are entering the final stage of review under LEED for Neighborhood Development, and anticipate a Gold level certification.


Photo credits: Andy Ryan

Special thanks to Luke McKneally and Lauren Baumann at New Ecology for contributing to this project (and post)!

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