Greener and leaner: Lower energy and water consumption, and reduced work orders, in newly constructed boston public housing

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  • Michael Brod, New Ecology, Inc.
  • ,
  • José Guillermo Cedeño Laurent, Harvard University
  • ,
  • John Kane, Boston Housing Authority
  • ,
  • Meryl D. Colton, Harvard University
  • ,
  • Charlotte Gabel
  • Gary Adamkiewicz, Harvard University

The Boston Residential Investigation on Green and Healthy Transitions (BRIGHT) Study is focused on quantifying the effects of redeveloping public housing developments into new buildings with improved energy performance and indoor environmental quality. This report presents an analysis of utility consumption and work order requests at Old Colony and Washington-Beech, two redeveloped housing sites in Boston, Massachusetts. We compare the consumption of electricity, natural gas, and water, as well as work order data, from 2012-2014 to development-wide baseline data from 2006-2009. We found that despite the higher number of electric appliances in the new apartments (e.g., air conditioning and ranges), electricity consumption decreased 46% in Old Colony and nearly 30% in Washington-Beech when compared to the baseline data. Natural gas used for space heating decreased by more than 70% at both sites; and water use decreased by nearly 56% at Old Colony and nearly 30% at Washington-Beech. Work order categories that directly influence the residents' quality of life, such as pests, mold, windows and plumbing decreased by more than 50% in both renovated sites. In combination with previous documentation of health improvements in the redeveloped sites, these results provide further evidence of the magnitude of benefits from updating public housing infrastructure using green design principles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number329
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Energy consumption, Green building, LEED, Public housing, Work orders

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