In Brookline, on the edge of Boston, the Dexter Park apartments are ideally situated for students, museum-goers, movie-lovers, and classical music aficionados. They are also an example of forward-thinking energy-efficiency measures.
When you think of Boston, what comes to mind?
Your knee-jerk response might be blurting out “pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd” or “yah wicked smaht.” Or you think about all the historic features of the city, such as the iconic Freedom Trail and the fascinating Paul Revere House (and the required stop for cannolis at Mike’s Pastry while you’re in the North End).
If you’re closer to the Boston University campus, you’re delighted by the embarrassment of riches within walking distance. The spectacular Museum of Fine Arts on Huntington Avenue houses everything from regional masterpieces by John Singleton Copley and John Singer Sargent to 100,000 works of Japanese art. Not far from that, on Evans Way, is the one-of-a-kind Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, with its breathtaking Italianate architectural design and rich personal collection of the visionary founder herself.
If that isn’t enough culture for you, the Boston Symphony Orchestra performs at the 121-year-old, 2,625-seat Symphony Hall on Massachusetts Avenue. A National Historic Landmark, Symphony Hall’s acoustics perfectly accommodate the BSO’s lush orchestral sounds. (Fun fact: both the soundtracks for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan were recorded at Symphony Hall by the BSO.) Not far away is the iconic Coolidge Corner Theatre, home of a steady stream of independent and art film showings.
What’s more, students have their choice of options for world-class educational institutions in the neighborhood, including Simmons University, Emmanuel College, Northeastern University, MassArt, Wentworth Institute of Technology, and of course Harvard’s Medical School, Dental School, and T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Where you might find people of many flavors—cultural, academic, and professional alike—is in an apartment complex a few blocks away called Dexter Park.
Located on Freeman Street in Brookline, Dexter Park is great for anyone who wants to enjoy, well, everything. Built in 1972, the 409-unit Dexter Park is a pet-friendly complex with an in-house fitness center and mini theater. Apartments are modern, stylish, and comfortable.
But you know when you’ve found a great place to live when owners care as much about the efficiency and functionality of building systems as they do about appearances and amenities. In the case of Dexter Park, the Hamilton Company puts its range of expertise into its real estate holdings along with its property management, construction, and charitable foundation, which invests right back into the community.
So when Dexter Park began to show signs of its age, the Hamilton Company jumped into action. The complex had shown its commitment to energy efficiency years ago by installing a high efficiency summer boiler. These boilers were better sized for the smaller summer hot water needs and allowed the larger, less-efficient winter boilers to take a break. However, over time these boilers began to show their age, which manifested in an exhaust issue. Boston Fire detected the hazard, and the message was clear: shut down your side-vented summer boiler. And that’s when the Hamilton Company rang up GreenerU to take a look.
After performing an engineering study, GreenerU presented multiple options to solve the venting problem, including a simple fix of a new summer boiler and vent. But a boiler system installed in 1980 was nearing the end of its usable life. GreenerU took a look at the entire system and suggested a comprehensive approach to address the old and inefficient boiler system. The new system would vent all exhaust through one chimney through the center of the building, as originally designed.
Dexter Park’s facilities manager Steve Weinig agreed: not only would the apartment complex need a new heating system fairly soon, but a more efficient system would save on building energy costs over the course of the next 30-40 years of the boiler system’s lifespan. During the fall of 2021, GreenerU installed five high-efficiency Patterson-Kelley condensing boilers of the same size. This enables Dexter Park to use only one for summertime hot-water needs; the rest can be cascaded as needed, depending on the heating load required.
While Dexter Park falls just outside of Boston’s Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO)—a measure to bring Boston’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050—Brookline is moving in this direction. These efforts are local parts of an international movement to slow, mitigate, or reverse the effects of climate change, one of the largest global challenges facing us today.
With this project, as well as a larger apartment complex in Allston in partnership with Hamilton Construction Management, GreenerU is poised to assemble all of the pieces of a complex puzzle to help institutions navigate their way to climate neutrality. Whether it’s climate action planning with cultural and educational institutions, engineering technical solutions, or managing the implementation of all of the above, we’ve developed a reputation for understanding our clients’ needs and maintaining constant communication throughout.
So the next time you’re in the Fenway area of Boston, take a tour and plan to stay a while—and think about how much is happening behind the scenes to preserve this beautiful city, its inhabitants, and the planet.