Designing and building to a Passive House Certification standard for not one, but two historic buildings present all kinds of obstacles, but creating a super efficiency envelope while maintaining the historic elements is super challenging. But, it is important because it is the gold standard for energy efficiency that will pay dividends for years. The goal this project is to build market transformation. The key to making this work is the close partnership between Rees-Larkin Development, the City of Fitchburg, Unitil, ICF and the National Park Service, who oversees the historic preservation. In addition, because we were provided with money for energy efficiency design and pre-work, which isn’t usually done, it allowed us to work to the highest energy efficiency standard in the industry—qualifying for the Passive House Certification.
This project is really neat for several reasons: in that it spans both residential and commercial energy efficiency programs while pursuing the highest standards of energy efficiency (building performance); and it is being done in two buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
A project like this really pushes us to work outside our usual construction practices. The standards are very exacting and by having a great team it allows us to find creative solutions that not only meets the energy efficiency standards but maintain the historic character of the buildings. It will be the tenants who will benefit because energy efficiency buildings have lower utility cost and are more comfortable to live in.
Main project details
A historic firehouse and former furniture store aim to revitalize the gateway to downtown with 44 energy-efficient mixed-income apartments and 8,400 square feet of commercial retail space.
After nearly two years of renovations at 10 Main Street, The Apartments at Moran Square are now accepting applications for highly efficient residential units that are expected to use approximately 50 percent less heating energy versus a building that only meets the minimum building code.