Green Skies Ahead

Jacqueline Nunez views the future of Boston residential development through green-tinted glasses, and she's making strides toward making that future a reality. A lawyer-turned-developer, the WonderGroup founder wasted no time setting new high-water marks in Boston neighborhoods with sustainable, expertly-crafted, inspired projects.

Jacqueline takes her role in promoting responsible development very seriously, and the people she chooses to help realize her vision are carefully selected. "Excellence begets excellence," she says. Her team is composed of highly accomplished people, skilled and passionate about their fields. Jacqueline doesn't believe in can't, so anyone who works with her has to be positive and resourceful enough to get around any challenge. "The projects I'm undertaking now require enormous amounts of collaboration, and give and take between people in all areas of expertise" Jacqueline says. "We all have to work cohesively."

Jacqueline is fast becoming the authority on green development in Boston, having already completed a number of projects in Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, and Roxbury. This year is set to be big for her as well. She's finishing up a lower duplex and upper triplex on Shawmut Avenue in the South End, and construction on a slick, contemporary condominium building on West Broadway in the heart of South Boston's hottest pocket is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2016. Jacqueline believes a site near the Allandale Farm in West Roxbury may be the perfect opportunity to create something truly special: a marriage between her contemporary architectural aesthetic and green design sensibilities.

She plans to build Boston's first entirely Net Zero Energy- and LEED Platinum-certified neighborhood. will also be the first project in New England constructed to FORTIFIED Home certification standards. With abundant open space, extensively landscaped grounds with predominantly native species, and bioswales that will improve the area's ecology and water management, the $20-million Allandale Residences promises to be a landmark development.

For this ambitious, 20-residence project, Jacqueline partnered with Merge Architects founder Elizabeth Whittaker, who has been incorporating sustainable strategies in her work since she founded her practice in 2003. "Clients we typically work with today are very open -- and often insistent -- that we build as efficiently as possible," Elizabeth says. "What is so extraordinary about Jacqueline is her dedication to achieve the maximum energy efficiency possible on each and every project she produces."

Pulling off such a daunting task requires a competitive nature, and Jacqueline will be the first to admit that she has exactly that. "I like to be ahead of the curve," Jacqueline said. "For example, FORTIFIED construction will likely be commonplace in Boston in 10 years or so. I will be proud to have homeowners assured that if a Category 5 hurricane came along, their houses would remain intact."

Many developers are deterred by the high cost of sustainable materials and building methods, and often abandon these practices when budget constraints kick in. But WonderGroup and Merge are looking at the big picture. After all, with buildings accounting for almost 39% of total energy consumption and 38% of carbon dioxide production in the U.S., it is critical that we not be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to investing in a greener future.