Energy Efficiency for Homeowners

Finch Case Study: Cold Climate Air Source Heat Pump (ccASHP) System 

03-30-2021 15:20

Cambridge, Massachusetts is located in Greater Boston and sits across the Charles River from Boston. Although it is best known for being home to two distinguished universities – Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – this city is also known for its long list of wonderful attractions, its technology-based enterprises, and its charming neighborhoods. With all of these amenities, living in Cambridge comes at a high cost, as affirmed by the relentless increase in rent since the mid-1990s. To help address the city’s current need for affordable housing and to play a part in combatting the current climate crisis, Homeowner’s Rehab, Inc. (HRI) developed Finch Cambridge.

Finch Cambridge is a new six-story mid-rise apartment community comprised of 98 rental units of 1-3 bedroom apartments. It is located in the Cambridge Highlands neighborhood, directly across from the Fresh Pond Reservation, and conveniently close to grocery stores, restaurants, shopping centers, fitness establishments, and the Alewife MBTA station.

Designed to meet the PHIUS+ 2015 Passive Building Standard¹, the world’s most energy-efficient building standard at the time of building design, this airtight building has a layer of continuous exterior insulation that, in effect, creates a blanket around the entire building. Finch Cambridge’s two main energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) provide a balanced flow of air into and out of the building and help to manage humidity. Its large triple-glazed windows offer beautiful views of the Fresh Pond Reservation while succeeding to lock out all airflow when closed and helping to maintain the building’s interior temperature by taking advantage of the sun’s heat in the winter and deflecting it in the summer. The 106-kilowatt array rooftop solar panels are projected to offset 116,160 kilowatt-hours per year, which represents about 20 percent of total electricity required to operate the building. The most exciting characteristic for heat pump enthusiasts is the use of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems for its minimal heating and cooling requirements. 

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