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Allston's Green District to Run Partly on Shame

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When most of us think of Allston, we think of green vomit, not the kind of green synonymous with environmentally friendly development. But one such firm is seeking to stamp a two-block area of the neighborhood between Commonwealth Avenue and Brainerd Road exactly that. It will be called the Green District and tenants who rent its planned 500 units of excruciatingly environmentally-friendly housing will have to sign green declarations. These declarations, per Gail Waterhouse in The Globe, will demand tenants think like Al Gore while showering (we said "like," not "about") and cooking and cleaning. For at least 80 units, the declarations will mean a collective power bill—good, old-fashioned shame. How can these apartments be so green? Let's look at the features of each building that the Mount Vernon Company either wants to build or renovate.

· The Element at 65 Brainerd: It will have bike storage and greenery covering the rooftop, which can be a natural temperature control for the building below it.
· The Edge at 60-66 Brainerd: There will be solar roof panels; charging stations for electric cars; and individual water meters.
· The Icon at 75 Brainerd: Roof-top solar panels again, and the units will be "small high-efficiency."
· The Gateway at 1298-1302 Commonwealth: Tenants will sign a utilities cost-saving pact. You don't want to be that guy, the one who drives up everyone else's costs. There will also be bike storage.
· The Matrix at 8 Griggs Street: The facade will be "super insulated."
· The Metro at 74-86 Brainerd: It will have high-efficiency heating and windows.
· A four-unit retail strip at 1304-1312 Commonwealth: It will include Hubway bike rentals.

The Element (rendered above) will open next month and 70 of its 100 units are already leased. The Edge is scheduled to open next June, and the rest will come after. Rents will range from $1,700 to $2,850 for mostly one- and two-bedrooms. We could be snarky right about here, and say the really environmentally friendly thing to do would be to make more efficient use of the development footprint by building larger, family-friendly homes so as to spare more people longer car and bus commutes into Boston from farther out. But this seems so laudable, so far-thinking, we'll leave it alone and see what happens.

· Getting the Green Light in Allston [Globe]
· Why the Hub Housing Market Could Get Worse, Much Worse [Curbed Boston]

The Element

65 Brainerd Road, Boston, MA