Passive House is now ingrained into the City of Somerville’s development policy. The City Council approved the new Somerville Zoning Ordinance in December.

This plan provides Passive House certification as qualification for density bonuses in residential projects. It also requires Passive House certification, or Living Building certification, in certain Master Planned Districts, including areas around the future Green Line station in Union Square.

Senior CIty Planner Dan Bartman was quoted in a Tufts Daily article saying, “Essentially, every new apartment building has the ability [to increase] the amount of dwelling units they can provide if they build a more sustainable building. We offer the exact same density bonus for buildings that are 100% affordable, and we’ve had really good feedback from people already expressing interest in doing one or the other.”

The plan includes Passive House certification as part of the requirement for  a Net Zero Ready building along with requiring no on-site combustion for HVAC systems or cooking equipment. By being a Net Zero Ready building, projects are able to achieve the density bonuses.

Read more about Somerville’s new zoning policy on their dedicated site here.