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From the ground up, continued

Related Links

United States Green Building Council

The slogan on the organization’s Web site reads, "Build green. Everyone profits." Here, you can download a presentation that explains why, learn how to get LEED certification, or sign up to attend a training workshop in your area.

Artists for Humanity

AFH’s teenage artists produce everything from paintings and photography to silkscreen T-shirts and handbags. Visit the AFH Web site to view extensive online galleries of their work.

Boston Green Building Task ForceBoston Redevelopment Authority



Learn more about the city’s efforts to green up the city and see what environmentally friendly projects are coming to your neighborhood.

Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth

Chances are, you’re too broke to build green, and too old to join Artists for Humanity’s high-school program. But there’s a lot you can do on top of recycling last night’s beer cans. This 300-page book (by the editors of E/The Environmental Magazine; Plume, $16) offers tons of ideas.



From the roof of the completed Maverick Landing apartments (one phase of a larger housing-development process), Boston’s skyline is postcard-perfect on the other side of the harbor. The new apartment-townhouse complex, located across the street from LoPresti Park in East Boston, looks sleek and modern; it’s not immediately identifiable as affordable housing. Nor does it jump out as a green building.

In fact, it is both. Inside the brand-new apartments, you’ll find recessed fluorescent lighting, an air-handling system, and energy-efficient appliances. And there’s more to see on the roof than the beautiful view — an array of solar panels angle up to catch the sun, pumping energy into a generator that heats hot water and provides some of the building’s electricity.

"Until recently, I felt that ‘green and affordable’ [was an] oxymoron," said Bart Harvey, chief executive officer of the Enterprise Foundation, which is providing $75 million for additional projects in the state like Maverick Landing. (Enterprise recently joined MassHousing, a Bay State organization that helps low-income earners, and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a quasi-public institution, to build more environmentally sustainable housing in the state.)

Not only can the words "green" and "affordable" coexist, but they’re especially important when taken together. Boston has some of the worst asthma rates in the country, and economically disadvantaged, minority children — like those who might qualify to live at Maverick Landing — are often the most vulnerable.


From the 1920s until 1959, the city of Boston dumped enough garbage on Spectacle Island to enlarge it by 30 acres. In the early 1990s, developers used excavated materials from the Big Dig to cap the landfill, and installed walls to prevent toxic materials from leaking into the harbor.

Soon, the island will open to the public as a showcase for renewable technologies. Solar panels will power the zero-emission island, and "gray" sink water will be reused for landscaping (Gillette Stadium does the same thing).


At Harvard University, it’s not just a green building — it’s a green campus. Officially launched in 2001, the Harvard Green Campus Initiative (HGCI) is a student-faculty-staff collaboration that addresses everything from recycling to energy conservation to sustainable building. And in 2004, university president Lawrence Summers approved a set of campus-wide sustainability principles that will inform the institution’s controversial expansion into Allston and the future.

Much of the initiative’s success — recycling rates are up, and greenhouse-gas emissions are down — is the result of teaching new behaviors, says Leith Sharp, a native Australian who helped launch Harvard’s green-campus project. Through public-education campaigns, students were urged to turn off lights and computers if they weren’t in use. By working closely with environmental engineers, campus designers grew familiar with green-building codes. There’s been a "groundswell of involvement," Sharp says, that "will really allow the institution to innovate in a really significant way for Boston and really the world.

"If our universities cannot grapple with this, given their intellectual might," she adds, "then who will, and who can?"

Deirdre Fulton can be reached at dfulton@phx.com.

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Issue Date: August 12 - 18, 2005
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