David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/File
The Boston-based developer Urbanica turned a vacant lot in Roxbury into four energy-efficient homes that generate nearly twice as much power as they consumed last year.
The $1.5 million project on Highland Street was Boston’s first energy-positive residential building and inspired the city to want to build dozens of similar carbon-free units.
“It was a prototype to understand how the technology works and determine market demand,” said Kamran Zahedi, president of Urbanica. “It was a good experience for us and now we’re trying to bring that kind of housing to different neighborhoods.”
The four townhouses use efficient building materials, double-thick insulation, and solar equipment to generate more power than they consume. The 2,000-square-foot units sold for between $217,000 and $550,000. Necessary solar energy equipment can be purchased for another $50,000 or leased for about $105 a month.
The price may seem steep, but the units cut utility costs by more than $130 a month, and homeowners will eventually be able to sell the excess power back into the energy grid.
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