Written By Jill Pinsky, EPMA Treasurer

The 2019 EPMA Green Building Bike Tour took off from the Roxbury Crossing station and covered over 9 miles of the woodsy, bike friendly, community-garden-covered neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.

Jamaica Plain is often referred to as the greenest neighborhood in Boston. “Green” in this case refers to the large area of parks and vegetation, including many emeralds in Boston’s Emerald Necklace. However, after the Green Building Bike Tour, one could argue that the “green” designation also refers to the high concentration of sustainable infrastructure projects and green buildings nestled throughout.

The bike tour followed the Southwest Corridor Park down Columbus Ave where we met with the Assistant Director of the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources.

Up next we rode to the Roxbury Community College (RCC) solar parking lot and geothermal well field where the group got to meet with Kevin Hepner, VP of Admin and Finance at RCC. Tour attendees learned how the Roxbury Pudding Stone, the rock formation that lies under a large portion of Jamaica Plain, is an excellent conductor for geothermal.

Next the tour attendees were delighted when after climbing Fort Ave Hill on their bikes, Evan Smith and Jay from Placetailor Architects had cookies and water waiting for them and educated the group on the details of their Passive House design strategies. Afterwards, Evan (a Fort Hill resident and president of Placetailor Architects) and Jay joined on their bicycles and rode along with the tour while pointing out the many energy positive and Certified Passive House projects in the Fort Hill area.  

Afterwards the group continued down the Southwest Corridor and visited Bikes not Bombs and toured the bike shop and learned about the community programs offered to promote bicycling as a safe and sustainable mode of transportation.

Next the group rode over to the Hernandez Elementary School to learn about the school’s stormwater infiltration system that was designed to integrate into the landscape and play area as well as spark curiosity and serve as an educational tool for the students. Frank Stone, a bike tour attendee and a Hernandez School alum, provided the tour.

Around lunchtime the tour stopped by the City Feed and Supply on Boylston Street and got to speak with Noah Bondy who manages the “Mini” Feed.

Next the group took a self-guided tour of the Old Oak Dojo, New England’s first Living Building Challenge Certified project. Tour attendees got to sit peacefully in the community space (made entirely of salvaged and re-purposed materials) as well as ride a rope swing over the Dojo’s abundant permaculture garden.

The last stop on the tour was the JP Branch of the Boston Public Library. Utile Architects designed many of the sustainable features of the new addition. One of the highlights of the addition is the digitally printed ceramic frit pattern applied to the large front facade, the pattern was created using an analysis of the sun path across the façade in order to provide optimal daylight as well as shade. The group happily stumbled upon an ice cream fundraiser being held in the lower level. Tour attendees were happy to come away with free ice cream and library books.

The ice cream was a much-needed fuel to energize riders for the final few stops of the tour as we rode through the vibrant Arnold Arboretum on our way to Turtle Swamp Brewery where we ended.

Thanks to Blue Bikes for donating the adventure passes and to all those who contributed to make this year’s bike tour a huge success!

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