Boston looks the way it does today because, decades ago, a pair of mayors unloaded real estate the city didn’t need. Kevin White and Ray Flynn sold off surplus public parking garages downtown and in the Back Bay, and the developers built Boston’s modern commercial core. The city is returning to that playbook once again, but this time, it’s not to add another office tower to the skyline. Instead, Boston officials are unloading excess land so developers can build Boston’s future: homes that don’t use any energy, but instead feed electricity into the grid.
Zero energy homes take some effort, but they’re far from impossible to create. Builders across the country are turning thick walls, high-performance windows, efficient appliances, sun exposure, and rooftop solar panel arrays into homes that draw little to no electricity from the grid.