A man demonstrates the solar panels on the roof of Adams Court

Combined green expertise and an ethos for affordable housing

Adams Court, Mattapan, Massachusetts

A passerby would never guess that these five unassuming buildings are at the forefront of green technology. For decades, Adams Court has provided affordable rental apartments for 95 low-income families in Mattapan. But ten years ago it was more noteworthy for its rodent population and lack of heat than for its state-of-the-art photovoltaic cells. Then Nuestra Communidad Corporation purchased the building and began an in-depth restoration project. Most visible are the brand new kitchens, updated appliances, and gleaming hardwood floors. With the backing of BlueHub Capital, known then as Boston Community Capital, Nuestra Communidad engaged in deeper retrofits, too, upgrading mechanical, electrical and fire safety systems and installing new insulation and energy-efficient windows. Then attention turned to the flat roof, perfectly southward facing. Again, Nuestra looked to BlueHub Capital, this time to install solar panels, which should provide almost 100% of the electricity needed for the building’s common areas. The move places residents of Adam’s Court squarely at the vanguard of the renewable energy revolution.

By combining energy efficiency and conservation measures with renewable energy, Adams Court is reducing energy use and stabilizing its utility costs—which means that the low-income residents of Mattapan are leading the way in reducing their carbon footprints.