This past May, dozens gathered in Boston’s South End to celebrate the groundbreaking of a nation-leading energy efficiency project. Castle Square Apartments, built in the 1960’s, is a 500-unit complex that is home to low income residents. For years, these families have struggled with home energy inefficiencies, and some have even reported using their ovens to heat their apartments in the coldest of winter months. Now, Castle Square is the site of the most ambitious “deep energy retrofit” in the country and is being lauded as the future of affordable housing.
A deep energy retrofit is a renovation of an existing building that leads to energy savings of at least 50 percent. The Castle Square project is much more ambitious than the standard endeavor and is projected to reduce energy consumption by 72 percent. Led by an inspiring collaborative effort by the Castle Square Tenants Organization and a team at Boston-based WinnDevelopment, the building renovation will save the average family $430 dollars a year in utility costs, create 200 jobs, and will serve as a benchmark for other projects across the country.
With funding and support from several sources, including $4.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated through the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, this renovation will include a super insulated white roof, air sealant for interior walls, an insulated shell to cover the exterior brick walls, and high efficiency windows and doors. These installations will provide up to 10 times the insulation that is currently in place. In addition, solar hot water systems, new boilers, updated air conditioning, and energy efficient appliances and lighting are also being installed. Overall, these improvements are expected to yield the following results:
- 78 percent decrease in natural gas for hot water
- 60 percent decrease in electric usage
The Castle Square Apartment retrofit also features a community mobilization component. Community leaders and building professionals have and will continue to engage residents in the building development. Additionally, the Tenants Organization will help track project results, and together with developers will create a toolbox that can be used by others who undertake a similar project in the future.
For more information, check out the Castle Square Deep Energy Retrofit website.
*Images and graph courtesy of http://www.castledeepenergy.com/