181 Washington - Sustainable Location, Healthy Living, Connections to Community

Union Square Apartments, developed by Somerville Community Corporation (SCC) and located at 181 Washington Street in Somerville, MA, incorporates multiple sustainability initiatives in its design, construction, and operation to meet the LEED for Homes rating system. LEED for Homes Mid-Rise version 2010 is a green building standard specifically designed for residential and multifamily construction that encourages decisions to improve environmental, health, energy, and durability outcomes for buildings, as well as occupants, owners and managers.

Through the LEED for Homes Mid-Rise program, prerequisites and points in the categories of innovation in design, building location and linkages to the community, site stewardship, water efficiency, materials and resources, energy and environmental impacts, indoor environmental quality, and awareness and education are used to drive superior building design and performance. Union Square Housing has been designed to meet the Platinum certification level, the highest level of certification possible. It has already been certified through the Energy Star Multifamily High Rise program. It is designed to save 30.4% on energy costs compared with a building constructed to base code.

At SCC’s Union Square Apartments project, a major focus of the design effort has been on tenant comfort, health, and quality of living. This has been achieved in part through the use of LEED strategies such as:

* Third-party rated non-toxic materials such as FloorScore certified flooring
* Paints and sealants with zero or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
* Cabinets and other composite woods that have No Added Urea Formaldehyde
* Improved ventilation with fresh air delivered to each apartment

The landscape design includes drought-tolerant non-invasive plantings and efficient drip irrigation with weather sensing controls to avoid overwatering after rain. In order to minimize waste on the project, over 83% of the demolition and construction waste has been diverted away from landfills through recycling and reuse of the materials.

The project is ideally sited for tenants to have a reduced environmental impact, given that it is within walking distance (< 1/2 mile) of the Glen Park and Garden, Twin City plaza, East Somerville Community School, and over 30 other community resources. The building is located within ¼ mile of the 86, 88, 90, 91, and CT2 busses, with easy access to the Green Line at Lechmere Station, the Orange Line at Sullivan Station, and the Red line at Porter Square.

Bicycle storage areas for tenants, proximity to public transporation, and the property’s location in walkable Union Square combine to create a living community where most of the tenants’ trips can be made without the need for personal cars. This is beneficial for tenant health and well-being, as well as being affordable and environmentally positive.

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