Green Community Development

MACDC and its members see community development and environmental sustainability as two highly aligned and intertwined movements and our Green Community Development Program is designed to help our members more fully integrate environmental goals into their projects and programs.  Over the past ten years, we have worked with several partners, in particular New Ecology Inc, Boston LISC, Boston Community Capital and the Low Income Energy Assistance Network (LEAN) to advance these efforts; and CDCs have embraced the effort fully.

We documented the Green Initiatives of our members in a report published in 2010 entitled “Community Development Goes Green: How MACDC Members are Embracing Environmental Sustainability”.

As detailed in the report, these green initiatives fall into 5 categories:

  • Development of green buildings, through new construction or rehabilitation;
  • Green improvements, including energy efficiency improvements, to existing homes or businesses;
  • Green space creation and preservation
  • Green job creation; and
  • Green community education and organizing.

MACDC continues to advocate for public resources, such as funding for brownfields redevelopment and other State and federal programs that support our members’ efforts to develop green housing and commercial space and open space development.  Over the past two years, MACDC has focused on three particular environmental outcomes:

  1. Increasing Energy Efficiency in Existing Buildings- MACDC, its members, and allies are engaged in numerous initiatives to provide energy retrofits to existing buildings, including the more than 14,000 apartments owned and managed by MACDC members.  The LEAN Multifamily Initiative  is a multi-year program that channels utility funds statewide to retrofit buildings of 5 or more units where at least 50% of the units are affordable.  MACDC helped launch this program in 2010 and is represented on the program Advisory Committee by two member organizations, which enable us to continue advocating for its effective implementation.  In 2012 alone, utilities provided over $25 million for energy retrofits.  MACDC also provides outreach to its members on WegoWise, a program developed by New Ecology, Inc. that provides free services to nonprofits statewide to help them “benchmark” their current energy usage, and thereby make them eligible for other resources.  Additionally, MACDC partners with Boston LISC on the Massachusetts Green Retrofit Initiative, which convenes CDCs involved in this work and funds the services of a shared consultant to plan and implement strategies to reduce energy use.  LISC recently received a $1 million HUD grant to expand their program statewide and we are assisting them in outreach for that effort.
  2. Achieving Transit Equity – MACDC is a member of the Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) coalition a broad based coalition advocating for improved public transit across the entire state. We are also promoting transit oriented development through a project with MAPC and LISC to explore the feasibility of creating new loan and equity funds that can directly support TOD projects. We are also working to promote TOD along the Orange Line, the Fairmount Line and the Green Line through our partnerships with MAPC, LISC, the Fairmount Coalition and the MA Smart Growth Alliance.
  3. Fostering Smart Growth- MACDC is a founding member of the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance  which is working to improve land use policies so we enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods while reducing suburban sprawl. Working with SGA we are fighting for improved zoning laws, strengthening the Community Preservation Act, and targeting state investments to projects that advance smart growth principals. We are also actively engaged in the SGA’s Great Neighborhoods program  which supports smart growth development efforts in five Boston area neighborhoods, including four where our members are playing a leading role.