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© Keitaro Yoshioka

This spacious two family Somerville home located near Davis Square was the first net zero home in the city. The building itself dates back to the 1800’s. The lead architect on the project, Franziska Amacher of Amacher & Associates in Cambridge, has been in the green building business for 25 years. She is LEED accredited, and has taught courses in Sustainable Architecture and Design at Wentworth Institute of Technology.

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© Keitaro Yoshioka

Many of the materials used in the building process are reused or recycled; even the bathroom floor tiles were sourced from the building’s original slate roof. The Amacher team was able to utilize wood from a nearby demolition at Tufts University. The house is 100% free from fossil fuels and features recycled furniture in both apartments.

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© Keitaro Yoshioka

Problems prior to renovation included layout problems, asbestos, cheap wood paneling, and old carpets. The green construction practices used during renovation include everything from solar panel installation to a comprehensive HVAC system and insulation. In 2013, the structure received a runner’s up title in NESEA’s Net Zero Competition.

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© Keitaro Yoshioka

The apartments are about 1360 sq ft each and feature a hybrid solar panel system that provides electricity and thermal panels for hot water. Reorganizing the layout of each apartment increased the usable floor space by 50%, and made for a much more open, livable floor plan.

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© Keitaro Yoshioka