On a former industrial wasteland, Newburyport rental energy saving

Linda Laban – Realestate.boston.com correspondent

January 19, 2021 7:38 a.m.

A life focused on the community and respectful of the environment.

This is how Hall and Moskow Property Management and Development describes its ambitious, Net Positive Hillside Center for Sustainable Living in Newburyport, which recently completed the first phase.

Purposely designed to tackle the three main drivers of CO2 emissions – housing, food and transportation – the 4.5-acre site will eventually include 48 one, two and three bedroom rental units at market prices and , exceptionally, a 10 -bedroom in a shared residence with a shared kitchen.

Another unusual convenience is its on-site community-supported agriculture.

“Much of the site is edible landscape,” said Keith Moskow, development partner. “We have a large commercial greenhouse that also runs on solar power and an on-site farm manager. Residents can also participate in a work exchange plan for the CSA.

“We will be working with other farms because we can’t grow enough there,” added co-developer David D. Hall, “but the edible landscape is a big part here.”

Since the development is located on a former brownfield site, once a landfill for coal ash, trucks and cars, a massive clean-up operation preceded the construction of the development, not to mention the edible plantations.

“We removed 110 seedlings of soil from here. What’s left is clean, ”Hall confirmed.

The buildings are close together, New Urbanism style, and the roof terraces and porches encourage living inside and out. The construction uses “super-insulated multi-story concrete wall panels that are poured in place,” Hall said.

“It’s a very efficient way to build a high performance house,” he added. “This creates an envelope with very high energy savings. Airtightness is the most important element of a high-performance building.

. —Eric Roth Photography

The facility operates on solar energy, including charging stations for electric cars, and shared electric cars are available to residents. Permeable roads allow natural drainage, and rainwater is captured and used for irrigation and even flushing toilets.

Interiors are like any modern apartment: a calm mix of beige and white with a simple, open layout.

“They are modest and very, very comfortable,” Moskow said. “They record in a silent studio. In addition, the temperature is super uniform, so there are no hot spots or cold spots.

Interiors give off much less toxic elements.

“We used building materials that contain elements that are friendly to humans, friendly to all creatures. We used cork floors and wood counters, not composites, ”Hall said. “Each unit has an air sensor that measures CO2, VOCs, humidity and temperature. The [volatile organic compound] the levels are phenomenal.

To top it off is the location of the development within walking distance of charming Newburyport town center and the commuter train station.

. —Moscow and Hall

Hall and Moskow noted the tremendous help they received from officials at Newburyport and the State Pathways to Zero Net Energy program. In the long term, they want to bring their recipe for green development to the national level: “We are looking for other sites”, confirms Moscow.

Hillside is expected to be completed within two years. Already, all 10 houses in the first phase are occupied, and Hall and Moscow expect the next eight units, available by mid-summer, to be purchased. Rents start at $ 2,200 per month for a 600 square foot one bedroom, including four kilowatts of solar power and hot water.

“It’s still a construction site and they want to be here,” Moskow said. “People want to do well for the planet. It is a community that self-selects, that is interested and that wants to participate.

Contact details: Hillside Center for Sustainable Living is located at 17 Cottage Court in Newburyport. The Hall and Moscow offices are located at 2 Federal St. in Newburyport. Call 978-465-7047 or email [email protected]

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