JCHE: Ulin House


Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) builds and manages affordable, non-sectarian housing communities where seniors can live independently. The average age of JCHE’s residents is 80 years old and nearly one-third are over the age of 85. JCHE’s Brighton, Massachusetts campus offers a supportive community for older adults that includes social, cultural, and recreational programs to facilitate active, healthy aging in the community. Ulin House is one of three interconnected buildings that make up the Brighton campus. The building includes 239 studios and one-bedroom units spread across two interconnected, ten-story towers with double-loaded corridors that are oriented such that half of the units are located on the east side of the building and half face west.


Ulin House was completed in 1971 and was JCHE’s first property. It was originally equipped with a single thermostat for the entire building, which resulted in east-facing units being overheated in the morning and west-facing units being overheated in the afternoon. Ulin House did not have a make-up air system in the corridors, which caused extreme drafts when entry doors were opened and allowed cooking smells to spread from the apartments into the hallway and adjacent units.

In 2007, JCHE embarked on a program to modernize its building portfolio with an emphasis on increasing adaptability and operating efficiency. The goal of the program was to create communities that could adapt to residents’ changing needs and abilities throughout the aging process. In addition, JCHE pays all utilities except for telephone and cable TV, so reducing operating costs allows JCHE to enhance resident services to promote successful aging. Ulin House is the second property to be renovated in JCHE’s portfolio-wide modernization effort.



In 2013, JCHE completed a green retrofit of Ulin House using a $42,409,000 HUD 221 (d)(4) loan it received while participating in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) “Markup-to-Market” program. The retrofit included multiple energy and water efficient measures such as:

  • LED lighting
  • Energy Star appliances
  • Additional insulation
  • Cogeneration system (CoGen)
  • Energy Management System (EMS)
  • New windows
  • Low-flow toilets and faucet aerators
  • Replacement of bath tubs with accessible showers
  • Make-up air conditioners in corridors with energy recovery ventilators (ERVs) that prevent outside air from rushing in when doors are opened
  • Individual thermostats with control valves on the baseboards in each unit, allowing tenants to control temperature within the parameters of the EMS and preventing them from opening windows when units are being heated


In addition to energy and water savings, Ulin House’s retrofit produced several complementary benefits:

  • Accessible showers that are easier to use, safer, and more attractive;
  • Reconfigured kitchens with expanded cabinet storage and an opening to the living space; and
  • A sun-filled “greenhouse” building entrance that serves as a beloved gathering spot for residents, who use it to wait for rides, pick up large packages, and greet guests.

Annual Energy Use

(Source EUI)
Baseline (2012)
157 kBtu/sq.ft.
Actual (2015)
129 kBtu/sq.ft.

Energy Savings:


Annual Energy Cost

Baseline (2012)
Actual (2015)

Cost Savings:


Sector Type



Brighton, Massachusetts

Project Size

141,000 Square Feet

Financial Overview

Project Cost: $32,600,000

Entrance to Ulin House
Entrance to Ulin House

Residents enjoy community walking trails
Residents enjoy community walking trails