Are we really so “green”?

Massachusetts is one of the greenest states in the U.S… but what does that really mean? With advances in alternative energies and initiatives throughout the state to improve our energy independence, one may think we are well on our way to being one of the most sustainable and energy conscious places around, right? Not so fast!

Our neighbors to the north, yes, Canada, specifically Victoria, British Columbia, has an upper hand on much of the state, and the U.S. for that matter. The Dockside Green, having completed construction in September 2010, has become one of the world frontrunners in green and sustainable communities. Developed on a 15 acre brownfield site formerly used by a company in the lighting industry for more than a decade, the Green has implemented sustainable practices that have earned Dockside Green its second residential LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)Platinum award, one of the highest accreditations for green and sustainable practices pertaining to edifices.

So, what has Dockside Green done in terms of making their homes and buildings more sustainable by which we could follow?

The Green is already using energies that we have just began implementing, such as wind and solar, but the Green goes far beyond what we are using today in terms of sustainability. The Green has taken advantage of “green roofs” on which rainwater is filtered by vegetation, reducing storm water run-off and filtering the water for use. The run-off water is rerouted and used in lavatories as flushing water. The vegetation also reduces heating and cooling costs by adding mass and thermal resistance and increases agricultural space. The site as a whole typically uses 65% less water than those of traditional developments. The design of the buildings have led to such efficient heating measures that much of the heat is sold-off as needed. The design and construction, along with financial savings measures have made the Green an “affordable community”, typically housing families with incomes of $30,000 to $60,000.

The following link is an interview with one of the developers, Joe Van Belleghem, in which he explains the plan and procedures of the Dockside Green (about 27 in total length): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jD7rATl39Y

If you would like to know more about the Dockside Green, please visit their website: http://www.docksidegreen.com/Home.aspx

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