We diligently sort our recycling. We drive our hybrids to the nearby market to buy locally-produced organic food. We are looking for ways to live more harmoniously with the planet. Real estate developers have carefully noted this trend, and many have been building new “green” energy-efficient condos as well as retrofitting existing units to decrease their impact on the environment.
The features in these new green condos range from solar panels on the roofs, to sustainably-harvested bamboo floors in the living spaces, to super energy-efficient appliances that reduce the owner’s carbon footprint and utilitybills. And these new green condos are not just for upscale buyers. Around New England, green features have trickled down to affordable condos.
As this survey of notable green New England condominiums shows, there are a myriad of green options that helpboth the planet and the bottom line.
Gull's Nest Condominiums –Green Goes Affordable
Provincetown, on the very tip of Cape Cod, is known for many things: an active nightlife, great beaches, whale watching trips, and, now, affordable green housing. The country's first affordable housing unit to achieve LEED certification at the platinum level is Gull’s Nest Condominiums, located just outside of downtown Provincetown on the site of what used to be the Gull’s Nest Inn. The former motel was knocked down for this project, but, in accordance with the many stipulations for LEED certification (see sidebar), much of the original building material was recycled into thenew condominium units.
The centerpiece of the Gull’s Nest certification, however, rises above the structure. On the roof of the L-shaped building are 100, 175-watt solar modules that are expected to provide up to three-quarters of the residents’ energy needs. Liz Argo of Solar Wrights, who provided both the initial technical consultation as well as the actual solar installation, was gratified by the interest generated by the project: “I was on-site when it was being finished,” Argo explains, “and I was thrilled by how many people entered the lottery that was held to sell off the units.” She concludes that the added green features may have helped create more than just marketing buzz. “Nothing feels more ‘home’ than something in which you have pride,” she says. The popularity of Gull's Nest is a clear demonstration that many potential home owners of all economic backgrounds are interested in reducing their impact on the environment. Significant energy bill savingshelps as well.