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Zeina Talje: Developing Passive House and Net Zero Condos

For this week at the Passive House Accelerator’s Happy Hour Talk, highly experienced developer and realtor Zeina Talje gave the main presentation. In addition to having more than 20 years in the field of real estate, Talje is a woman of many talents; she has a degree in architecture and an MBA in her repertoire, as well as being a LEED AP, a licensed general contractor, and a Passive House consultant. In 2017 she founded her own development shop, Z Capital Investments. She discussed her company’s recently completed condominium building in Boston, Mass., 52 Fisher Avenue. 

Finished in December of 2020, the condominiums are located in Mission Hill, close to downtown Boston, and total six units of almost net-zero construction. These condos are currently pending PHI low energy certification. As for why she decided to pursue Passive House standards for her buildings, Talje listed three key aspects—policy, affordability, and community. In formulating her goals for the project, Talje ended up designing with three major ambitions in mind. The first was to develop these condos for first time home buyers with a price point of $575,000; the second target was meet the highest possible levels of sustainability that was economically feasible; and the third goal was to complete construction in just 18 months. All three goals were eventually accomplished. The condominiums were harmonious with the area’s urban fabric while having an overall energy reduction rate of 80%. The performance of the building was communicated to potential buyers in terms of allowing its residents to live, breathe, sleep, and work better and healthier – especially important given the COVID-19 pandemic. Solar power was one mechanical area that people easily understood, and while passing the tax gains through to the new owners was a challenge, its appeal worked, as 52 Fisher Avenue sold out within only 2 to 3 months.

View the chat transcript.


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