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A Sustainable Home


The Sustainable Housing Demonstration Project has rehabbed a "typical two family Cambridge" house, demonstrating a successful reconstruction to a state of the art environmentally efficient home.

A team of New England's leading professionals in the engineering / design industry and Massachusetts Building Trade Unions responded to the challenge to engineer a rehab which would:

  • Improve health and safety standards for the building for residents, construction workers, and the community. Health and safety of the building took priority over any other criteria.

  • Reduce energy use by 50-75%

  • Reduce water use by 50%

  • Re recycled and non toxic building materials

  • Aesthetically as appealing or more appealing than standard construction. As this house was an existing strucutre, it was necessary to maintain the architectural integrity of the community

  • Be affordable. Affordability is evaluated on first cost as well as payback period basis.



Design and energy strategies demonstrate the principles and options of environmentally sustainable renovation and socially responsible approach toward neighbors and community at large. The strategy for success is described below.

Healthy House
Dramatically decrease source of toxic products int he house yb reducing the toxic substances / chemicals allowed in the house, controlling ventilation and monitoring moisture to prevent fungus, etc. Results by:
  • No VOC paint

  • No formaldeyde in the house. This means formaldehyde-free plywood in construction of kitchen cabinets.

  • No carpet (which has toxic glue)

  • Use of non-toxic glue (TACC from Rockland, MA)

  • No toxic cleaning products

  • Well controlled air venting system

  • Operable windows

  • No gas in heat, hot water, furnace or cooking stove. No possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Whole house vacuum cleaner system removes dirt, dust, dust mites through a sealed piping system

  • Indoor plants eat the toxic fumes and carbon dioxide, whie producing oxygen to increase the indoor partial pressure of oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.



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