Eco-Innovation Initiative (EII)
to recipient of the Boston Mayor’s Greenovate Award!
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The Talbot Norfolk Triangle Eco-Innovation District is a comprehensive effort at neighborhood scale sustainability that marries green, transit-oriented development (TOD), renewable energy, water conservation, alternative energy, sustainable food systems, waste reduction, and climate preparedness through resilience. This first-of-its-kind project in the City of Boston is working in a 13 block section of Codman Square with 1300 residents––the Talbot Norfolk Triangle––using the LEED-ND rating system as an organizing principle.
Over the course of its 3-year funding, the Eco-Innovation Initiative’s goals are to:
- Retrofit at least 15% of existing housing
- Build at least one highly efficient, new, mixed use Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)
- Explore local power generation models
- Construct and program new green spaces
- Develop resident support for increased sustainability
- Achieve LEED-ND Platinum certification––the highest level available
In the past year, EII has moved quickly and efficiently to meet the goals in these areas:
- Retrofit assessments for energy conservation were done on 525 TNT housing units. Plans for this year include expanding beyond TNT to include areas covered in forthcoming Fairmount Station zone in collaboration with B.R.A.
- Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) identified for Fairmount Station. Campaign underway to get it up and moving as a TOD point with its own Executive Committee in place and with representation across CSNDC working groups
- Local power generation models are moving forward with a feasibility study of a Community Shared Solar project is being explored in conjunction with Enterprise Community Partners. If implemented, a large-scale community solar project that directly benefits residents, businesses and institutions provides a new way for them and the City to accomplish neighborhood scale energy conservation and resilience. Other forms of renewable, alternative energy to be included in the feasibility study include, district heating and cooling––a direct path to climate preparedness and resilience––and anaerobic digestion, a means to reduce food waste while providing energy and jobs. Similarly, the project is poised to identify green infrastructure projects that will save money by reducing storm water runoff and conserving rainwater.
- New green spaces have been formed starting with the Ballou Avenue urban agriculture site which was recently awarded to CSNDC and the Friends of Ballou by DND. The site will provide the neighborhood grown, sustainable healthy food as well as a tot lot for children, work for youth, and opportunities for intergenerational learning. Starting in late May or early June, a green roof bus shelter demonstration project will highlight the issue. This is project is innovative as it is purpose is multifold to––improve water conservation by using greenery such as mosses and sedums as roof covering at bus stops as eco-environmental rain gardens. The project will also provide youth jobs in the covering and maintenance of the green bus rooftops, as well will soften the urban picture by providing a fresh and pleasing environmental landscape. The project is also exploring an alternative transportation partnership with Zipcar. Partners will continue to advocate for added bike lanes and Hubway locations, and added service on the Fairmount Line.
- Developing residential support is making significant gains since the focus of a November 2013 Eco Districts Charrette, attended by residents, city agency representatives, funders, and with leaders from as far away as Japan. Charrette participants generated new ideas for neighborhood sustainability; ideas that have been captured in a draft follow-up report. The project provides behavioral change by creating a new model of comprehensive, sustainable neighborhood scale development for other area CDCs and neighborhoods to follow, while working collaboratively with City agencies in novel ways as well.
- LEED-ND certification specifics––unlike other LEED-ND projects (which are typically new developments directly adjacent to transit), the TNT project area is focused on a "scattered site" existing neighborhood, 13 block area (with 1300 people living in it), not concentrated in a new, single building or connected series of them. That makes the project unique among other LEED ND projects in the area. The project is directly adjacent to the recently opened Talbot Station on the Fairmount Commuter Line. Over 30% of area residents work in the downtown and South Bay areas served by this line. Creating TOD adjacent to the station will allow some residents to live close to transit without need of a car, and to access new commercial space in a neighborhood that has high aspirations for sustainability. Utilizing LEED-ND in this way is innovative and could result in a project rating of at least LEED-ND Silver, but our goal is to get a Gold and eventually, a Platinum rating.
––Dave Queeley, CSNDC Eco-Innovation Fellow
The TNT Eco-Innovation Initiative project has resulted in multiple collaborations with other organizations and businesses. Current partners include: Millennium Ten, Talbot-Norfolk Neighbors United, The Boston Project Ministries, Codman Square Neighborhood Council, Talbot-Norfolk Neighbors United, Codman Square Neighborhood Council, the City of Boston, Enterprise Community Partners, Codman Square Merchants Association, Next Step Living, Coop Power, GreenDorchester, Boston Cyclists Union, Livable Streets, Walk Boston, Linnean Solutions, LISC-Boston, Enterprise Community Partners, YouthBuild Boston, Codman Academy, ABCD, Goody Clancy, Winn Mgmt. Representatives and thought leaders from most of these partners sit on the various Advisory or Working Groups affiliated with the project––the Eco Innovation Advisory Group (EIAG), TOD Working Group, Green Infrastructure Working Group (in process of formation), Retrofit Working Group (works with residents to save money on their heating bills by taking advantage of programs offered by the City and by ABCD), Local Energy Generation Working Group (focused on energy production and resilience efforts noted above)––and lends their critical thinking and expertise to the project. Acting as ambassador to the Codman Square Merchants Association, we are also poised to work with NSTAR and DND on the Small Business Energy Efficiency Program, an effort that will save area businesses money through energy reduction measures.