Last Thursday we met at the project site for The Emerson Lofts at Cottage Park in Cambridge, gathering with clients, fellow project team members, neighbors and friends to celebrate the launch of the project. To our pleasant surprise, Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis and City Council members Minka van Beuzekom and Leland Cheung were in attendance as well. Mayor Davis spoke about the many opportunities this project embodies, and how it is poised to help advance city moving into a sustainable future (And while we’re rather biased, we couldn’t agree more.) The project takes a vacant building with a long storied history and physical character and gives it a renewed purpose. Importantly, it will do so while treading lightly on the earth and infusing the existing community with new neighbors who will be able to contribute to and benefit from everything North Cambridge has to offer.
This project contains a multitude of sustainable materials, products and design strategies, and it has been designed to meet the LEED Certified standard. The project site is located close to public transportation, highly walkable and nearby to community amenities. The site itself is provided with drought-tolerant plantings and landscaping. Beneath the parking lots a new stormwater retention system along with roof drains will minimize surface runoff into city storm drains. Bike storage for each condominium unit is provided inside the building, with additional visitor bike parking spaces outside.
95% of the existing building’s brick and timber structure is being restored and reused. New Low-E coated, Argon-insulated glass windows have been installed throughout. Combined with the new white membrane roof (to reduce solar gain and the urban heat island effect) and interior lighting design, the building is now over 9% more energy efficient than the baseline standard for new buildings. In addition, 10% of the newly-installed materials are recycled, and 10% of the new materials in the project are produced regionally. Low-VOC finishes, paints and sealants are used throughout the building. As construction is on-going, 75% of construction debris is being diverted from landfills.
Last week’s event was a great opportunity to discuss the project on-site as it makes steady progress towards its completion (slated for early next year) and we were glad to be a part of it. It was a rare opportunity to pause, look back on the long process of financing, design, and approvals that made the project possible in the first place amid the on-going construction that is going to make it a reality.