Introduction by Andrée

When Ken and I set out to create a new home for ourselves and the three boys, ages 8-11, in our blended family, we wanted to create a sustainable living space using very little energy and supplying much of our own food. We were astonished to find that there are few “green” houses open to the public, and none in New England. Most demonstrations are also expensive new construction, not much help in rehabbing an old building on a moderate income.

When we purchased an abandoned 100 year old former neighborhood store in the Bourne area of Boston, Massachusetts last July (2008), we decided to create the JP Green House - our home and an accessible model of zero carbon, sustainable living.

We are bringing the former Jack's Store up to passivhaus standards, establishing an urban farm & apiary, and turning the old storefront into a community space, energy education center and climate action resource.

We feel that the times urgently demand a new model of family and community life. We think that we serve our kids best raising them in a low carbon impact, local food, and neighborhood oriented home and by teaching them practical skills for self-reliance. Guided by Thoreau we devote as much time and energy as we can to climate activism.

Our project draws upon the accumulated wisdom and experience of many, many people who have invented, tinkered and tested to find better ways of building and living. We invite you - neighbors, friends and family - both to keep in touch and share your experience by signing up for our periodic (about every 2 weeks) newsletter. We appreciate comments and questions and welcome visitors.

Best, Andrée

link to Ken's introduction

The JP Green House is a zero carbon* demonstration project, sustainable urban model and hub for climate action founded by Andrée Zaleska and Ken Ward. We are rehabbing an abandoned, 100 year old, former neighborhood store located on the line between Jamaica Plain and Roslindale in Boston, Massachusetts. Our aim is to achieve passivhaus standards, win substantial independence from grid supplies of water and electricity, and supply a large portion of our food on a modest income. We are retrofitting the former "Jack's store" as space for workshops and trainings, neighborhood events and gatherings like our JP Family SongFest.

The JP Green House is located at 133 Bourne Street, Jamaica Plain. We welcome visitors & volunteers and have  activities and events. You can contact us at:


• more about the project
• more about us
• our blog


The day after closing on the old abandoned store I went into the basement and began ripping out partitions that had been tacked onto the original walls. The plan was to renovate two rooms and a small bath in the walk-out basement which Eli and I would move into within the month.

Therefore, I didn't really want to know why there was a strange bulge in the floor, which turned out to be a symptom of significant termite damage to the sill throughout the rear section of the building. The extent of the damage escaped our notice, despite home inspection and walk-throughs by several experienced folks, for the unusual reason that the damage was so extensive that it caused the building to drop evenly, leaving the interior looking plumb.

Neither our timeline nor our budget anticipated the need for rebuilding a foundation, but it has worked out for the better.  Because the magnitude of work, we turned to the new design/build firm Placetailor. Declan Keefe, Kevin Young and Simon Keefe  introduced us to the concept of passivhaus construction and have created a design that is super-energy efficient, affordable and attractive.

link to Placetailor site









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