Greening Affordable Housing

It’sec difficult to keep upward amongst the always-changing world of technology, in addition to that’sec peculiarly truthful inward a plain similar affordable housing, which moves rattling easy from concept to ribbon-cutting. Kim Vermeer ’82 helps projects rest on runway.


Kim Vermeer ’82very time y’all mean you lot have it figured out, the standards modify,” says Vermeer, the founder in addition to president of Urban Habitat Initiatives, a private, Boston-based consulting business firm that helps affordable-housing developers see their goals for sustainability as well as climate resilience.


A few years agone, free energy efficiency was the key destination for novel buildings, she points out, just today, carbon emissions reduction has taken middle phase. “That’sec pushing everyone to electrification, together with it is a very big challenge figuring out how to make that,” she says.

A coauthor of the 2020 revised edition of Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing, Vermeer has been tackling such challenges for 25 years—well-equipped alongside a grade inwards art and pattern from MIT. A native of Michigan, Vermeer joined the Peace Corps later MIT, overseeing construction projects inward Tonga. She and then went to Harvard’sec Kennedy School for a principal’second level inward planning together with worked for the Rhode Island Housing too Mortgage Finance Corporation.

In 1996, she took a year off to move, including 6 months inward Europe. “I was struck by what a unlike approach they took to state use,” she says. The compact urban centers seemed so unlike America’second suburban sprawl. She too revisited the South Pacific, where she saw residents replicating Western patterns, building suburban homes on farmland. “I thought, this is simply non sustainable,” Vermeer says.

Green housing was merely emerging as a field and then, so Vermeer created her ain concern. “Following lessons from MIT, I decided to learn my manner into this novel champaign,” she says. She earned credentials inward Leadership in Energy as well as Environmental Design, or LEED, together with founded Urban Habitat Initiatives inwards 1997 to assistance organizations set and run into goals for affordability, sustainability, too equity. “We must address equity together with affordability every bit function of an environmentally sustainable solution,” she says. “It’s non either-or.

This is the run she continues today, near latterly guiding the LEED certification procedure for several big Boston affordable-housing projects. At the same fourth dimension, she plant to spread sustainable practices through her podcast “Green in Action,” which she launched in 2021. “We’re focused on sharing success stories as inspiration,” she says.