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Four House Boston

3 Hyper-Sustainable Townhouses Available at Fort House

3 Beds | 2.5 Baths | 1637+ sqft | Fort Avenue – Roxbury’s Fort Hill

All Units Are Currently Under Agreement

  • Smart & Conscientious Design
  • Whole House Energy Recovery Ventilatio
  • Minimal Energy Usage
  • Post-Fossil Fuel / Zero-Carbon Emission
  • Historic Boston Neighborhood

When they build houses in the future, they will look like Placetailor homes. Fort House is the embodiment of future housing.

First, it’s built like a thermos with 14” doubly insulated walls and triple glazed windows. Second, every square inch of Fort House, inside and out, is a testament to master craftsmanship, quality materials, and deeply considered design choices that go beyond aesthetic.

Every Placetailor build has been ‘one-of-a-kind’ and Fort House is no exception.

Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue

Site and Floor Plans

Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue Fort House: 76-80 Fort Avenue

Fort House F.A.Q.

Understanding the Distinguishing Elements of Fort House

What is Passivehouse?

Passivehouse design is the standard for residential and commercial building, which reduces the carbon footprint and minimizes energy usage. It’s a dramatically more sustainable model for building than the current building codes require. It is both environmentally friendly and vastly more economically efficient for the end-user than a typical newly constructed home.

How is Fort House different from other new construction?

Placetailor’s Passivehouse design means that Fort House is essentially built like a thermos — air-tight and insulated to the extreme. But more than just packing extra thick walls with insulation, the design element of the inner walls maximizes the thermal efficiency. Once the desired ambient interior temperature is reached, it takes very little energy (either by heating or cooling) to maintain it. Fort House uses Mitsubishi mini-splits for cooling and virtually invisible Stelpro electric baseboards for heating

If the unit is sealed so tightly, won’t the air get stale?

In every Placetailor home, hidden behind the walls and ceilings, you’ll find a well-coordinated labyrinth of tubing to bring fresh air throughout. Placetailor uses an Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system (by Zhender) to exhaust the stale, contaminated air, then replacing it with a constant flow of fresh, tempered, filtered air from outdoors. The ERV machine uses a tiny amount of energy (comparable to the wattage used by an incandescent light bulb) and is virtually silent. It brings in fresh and clean air to every space in the home, 24-7.

Will the ERV supply be cold when the outside temperature is much colder?

The ERV system, using the science of enthalpy, features an exchange component that tempers the incoming air with the energy extracted from the outgoing exhaust. The intake pipe runs through the basement before it comes into the house, so the air inside becomes tempered slightly, whether it is initially cold or hot. The loss of energy is so low that the energy required to maintain a reasonable interior temperature is roughly 10-20% of standard heating system. The low velocity supply air ensures that the clean, fresh air never creates drafts around the home. The air supply tubes are designed so that no sound will carry from room to room.

What’s the maintenance/upkeep for an HRV/ERV system?

Changing the filters every six months (Placetailor will change your filters for you the first time to walk you through the process). At the point of sale, Placetailor leaves instruction on maintenance, key equipment, and general use.

What is the difference between an HRV and ERV system?

They are fundamentally the same system with the sole difference being that an HRV system transfers heat while the ERV system transfers heat AND moisture.

What are the benefits of living in a home that uses an ERV system?

Fresh, filtered air is healthier. Full stop. Poor indoor air quality can lead to or exacerbate health conditions like asthma or allergies.

What utilities do I pay for?

There is only an electric bill. And the costs are MUCH lower. Since the HRV system recovers so much of the warm air from the exhaust, a Placetailor home doesn’t need a large or even mid-sized heating system. A simple, discreetly placed electric baseboard is all that is required to heat the home. Fort House uses Mitsubishi mini-splits for cooling, but again, very little is required to keep a comfortable temperature. The savings in energy are estimated to be 80-90% of the costs for a standard heating or cooling system. The association also pays a water and sewer bill to Boston’s Water and Sewer Commission.

Should the owner association decide such in the future, Placetailor did create space, on an area of the roof, separate from the roof decks, for a solar field. In essence, the roof is “solar ready”. But currently, there is no solar energy component in use.

Can I open the windows?

Yes! And the Eurologik windows are designed for multi-directional opening, depending on your objective. Though, with a literally constant flow of fresh, filtered air coming into the unit, the only reason to open the windows may be to hear the ambient sounds outside the unit or to feel the breeze from time to time.

Will my cats like passivehouse?

Cats, while they have no concrete understanding of how Passivehouse technology works, are, if nothing else, creatures of comfort. Who doesn’t love a constant flow of fresh, oxygen-rich air and natural sunlight? Your cats will love it. And for dogs, there are a multitude of parks in the neighborhood to enjoy.

What’s happening at the end of the driveway, down behind the abutting house?

This is currently a city-owned lot for which Fort House and the abutting owners have been invited to participate in the planning and stewardship of a public park amenity. The process will take some time, but there is momentum.

The park directly off of Fort Avenue, just above Fort House’s driveway is currently being redesigned by the city to become the Paula Titus Memorial park, which will be an additional adjacent public amenity for Fort House.

Does a ventilation system increase energy consumption?

A ventilation system with heat recovery considerably reduces your energy consumption. The energy won from the extracted air is approximately 15 – 20 times greater than the energy consumed by the highly efficient DC motors of the ventilation device.

Can the air in a ventilation system become too dry in winter?

When cold outside air is heated to room temperature its relative humidity drops and the air feels dry. The same applies to window ventilation. Zehnder has the enthalpy heat exchanger for this application. It provides heat recovery and recovers moisture from the extract air.

How can dust in the air pipes be prevented?

Dirt particles in the outside air are removed by the filter in the ventilation device. In addition, extract air filters and the special, smooth internal walls in the air ducts prevent dirt deposits. The distribution system is designed to allow easy cleaning of the air ducts.

About Placetailor

The very first Passivehouse home was built in Boston in 2008. And Placetailor built it. In fact, Placetailor was founded expressly to build Passivehouse homes. They have been leaders in the sustainable building industry ever since.

More than a build/design firm, of which there are hundreds in the Greater Boston area, Placetailor sees themselves as a cooperatively owned environmental and social justice architectural and build firm concentrating on urban future housing. Even in 2020, there are still less than a handful of firms in the Northeastern U.S. who build solely Passivehouse homes.

Their tagline, Occupy the Future, is a call to disrupt the status quo, to channel the sprit of a movement and lead a revolution in urban design and development. And they deliver. In all of their 18 projects since their inception, they have walked the walk. Employing master craftsmanship and a deeply thoughtful and unapologetically bold approach to design, they are the vanguard for urban housing of the future.

Car manufacturers aren’t making cars in the same way that they were in 1920. Why is housing construction tech still largely rooted somewhere in the 20th Century? Building codes aren’t keeping stride with the dramatic and often fast-paced changes we’re experiencing environmentally and technologically. Placetailor’s homes, like Fort House, are rooted in the future. Placetailor homes aren’t just about saving money on your energy costs (which of course they do), they’re about being a part of the solution.

So far, most of Placetailor’s work has been in the Fort Hill area of Roxbury. They are a part of the community there. They live in the community. Their headquarters are in Roxbury too. This shouldn’t be understated.

Placetailor is no ordinary firm. Fort House is no ordinary project.