Sustainable Devens

Meetings, Agendas & DEC Business information
DEC News & Events
Development Services at Devens
Information for Devens Residents
Devens Maps
Sustainable Devens
Returns to DEC home page

Find Us on Facebook!

Follow us on Twitter

Star Communities

Devens, A Community of Mass Development

Devens Conservation Restriction marker

Devens, A Community of Mass Development


Devens Eco-Efficiency CenterLOC Exteriors
Entrance to Fort Devens
Residential street in Devens
Devens lake

Industrial Ecology

The Devens Reuse Plan defined sustainability at Devens as "development which achieves a balance of economic, social and environmental needs, while maintaining and enhancing the natural resource base" (Vanasse Brustlin 1994). The result of this early planning was a vision for what sustainability means to Devens, its residents, users and the involved public bodies: "the thoughtful and careful redevelopment of the base for the purpose of promoting economic development, social welfare, environmental protection, and natural resources." The DEC has since incorporated a number of strategies to achieve a more sustainable approach to redevelopment of Devens.

  • Green and Complete Streets in Devens:

    The DEC recently partnered with Tufts University, the Grant Road Developer, and Nitsch Engineering on a project highlighting the importance of green and complete streets in combating climate change, improving public health and safety, saving money, and creating more socially engaging spaces. The team created green and complete design options for Goddard Street and a number of resources:
    Full report: A Road to a Greener Devens: Implementing Green and Complete Streets Policy on Goddard Street
    Green and Complete Streets Guidebook for the General Public
    Green and Complete Streets Guidebook for Developers and Planners
    Green and Complete Streets Guidebook for Public Works
    Three Principles of Green and Complete Streets
    Green and Complete Streets Infographic

  • Apple Country Natural Climate Solutions Project
    Bolton, Devens and Harvard are collaborating with Nature to deliver climate solutions that will increase the resiliency of our communities and ecosystems. Nature-based solutions are cost-effective solutions providing multiple co-benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved air and water quality, reduced flooding, biodiversity, recreation, as well as improved physical and mental health. Learn more at:
  • Devens Releases Its Climate Action and Resilience Plan!

    In collaboration with our consultant Kim Lundgren Associates, the DEC officially released the new “Devens Forward” Climate Action and Resilience Plan. Devens Forward serves as a roadmap to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and prepare Devens for the impacts of climate change. The plan includes more than 70 actions as well as a Climate Action Toolkit for Businesses to assist them in reducing their own emissions as well. Explore the plan, check out our short video and more:
    Press Release
    Devens Forward Climate Action and Resilience Plan
    Climate Action Toolkit for Businesses

  • Devens 20/20: Advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals:
  • Want to learn more about the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and how Devens redevelopment is contributing to their advancement? This report takes a closer look at each of the 17 SDG’s in relation to the sustainable redevelopment efforts in Devens over the past 20 years and looks at how Devens is contributing to these global goals. The report also identifies where we might be able to improve our efforts to foster even more sustainable development.

  • Devens Community and Municipal GHG Inventory
  • Devens recently completed a Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Inventory for community-wide and local government GHG emissions in Devens for the baseline year of 2015. This inventory will form the basis for the Devens Climate Action Plan. that is currently being developed to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act by comprehensively addressing climate change on a local and regional level.

  • DEC Renewable Energy Facility (REF) Reduced Permit Fee Schedule:
  • To promote and incentivize clean energy projects and further support greenhouse gas reduction, improved air quality and the sustainable redevelopment goals of the Devens Reuse Plan, Bylaws and Rules and Regulations, the DEC has adopted a reduced permitting fee structure for REF projects.

  • Devens Biometric/Eye Tracking Phase 2 Study Report Released — August 2019
  • Using biometric tools to help understand our unconscious response to the built environment has been the focus of this cutting edge planning research collaborative between Tufts University and the DEC. The second phase evaluates conventional suburban development patterns with new-urbanist developments to help us understand how to better design spaces and places for people, rather than cars. View the report here.

  • REBA Presentation on Devens Sustainable Development
  • Real Estate Bar Association of Massachusetts (REBA) recently uploaded a video presentation on the sustainable redevelopment of Devens.

  • Devens Becomes a LEED Certified Community by USGBC
  • In 2018, the US Green Building Council (USGBC), a third-party internationally recognized sustainability rating system, certified Devens as a LEED for Cities and Communities Certified community. Read the full press release here. This brief article published in PLANNING magazine discusses the merger of STAR and LEED for Cities and Communities rating systems and highlights how Devens has used the rating systems to measure its progress towards its sustainable development goals. See the Devens profile on the USGBC website.

  • Devens Achieves 4–STAR Sustainability Rating
  • At the end of 2017, Devens was awarded a 4–Star sustainability rating from the STAR Community Rating System — the national leading framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability. Read the press release here. Learn more about how Devens achieved this milestone and became recognized for national excellence in sustainability by checking out our Certification Summary.

  • Devens Green Infrastructure Guidelines
    In Devens, where and how you build is just as important as what you build. This document provides applicants with an overview of what Green Infrastructure is, the local incentives and guidance on how to strategically locate and incorporate Green Infrastructure into projects to meet multiple regulatory requirements within the DEC Rules and Regulations. Download your free copy here.
  • Devens Net-Zero and E+ Housing
  • In addition to being an eco-industrial park, Devens is home to a number of existing and new Net Zero energy (NZEB) and E+ homes. Eight single family homes and twelve multi-family units were constructed as part of a pilot project in 2011 to demonstrate how energy and water efficient homes could be built at no extra cost than traditional homes. This pilot project integrated cluster subdivision and low-impact development techniques to become even more sustainable. The results of this pilot led to a series of regulation amendments that have fostered the development of an additional 124 units of highly energy efficient homes in an innovative New Urbanist neighborhood designed for people first, not just cars. This development, currently under construction, contains a mix of single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, quads, and 2x20 unit apartments and includes 25% affordable housing for low income as well as moderate/workforce housing.
    Key features of NZEB in Devens
    Single Family Net Zero and E+ Homes Pilot
    Multi-Family Net Zero Energy Homes Pilot
    Technical details of NZEB in Devens
    Emerson Green 124 unit innovative residential development
    Devens Innovative Residential Development Regulations

  • Devens Sustainable Housing Video — 10–27–21
    Devens sustainable housing projects were recently featured in a video by Stow TV, in partnership with the Sustainable Stow Committee in Stow, MA. Learn about how Devens approach to Net Zero Energy and Energy Positive residential development is helping Devens meet it's sustainable redevelopment goals and serving as a model for other communities.
  • Devens Complete Streets Policy and Prioritization Plan
  • In 2017 the DEC adopted a Complete Streets Policy to help ensure our streets are connected, accessible and safe for all users. The Policy includes a list of core commitments that the DEC and MassDevelopment have developed to further improve multi-modal accessibility for all Devens streets for all users. In 2018, the DEC undertook a public education and outreach process and completed a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan. This process highlighted gaps in the sidewalk network within Devens, gaps in bike infrastructure, the need for transit shelters, and the need to implement traffic calming measures in some areas to improve safety and reduce conflicts between residential and business uses. The Prioritization Plan then identified, detailed, and ranked specific projects that would address these needs. These projects will be undertaken as funding becomes available.

  • Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study – 11 communities vote "YES"!
  • In a clean sweep, eleven riverfront communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire all voted "yes" at their Annual Town Meetings to accept the "Nashua, Squannacook, and Nissitissit Rivers Stewardship Plan" locally-developed by the Nashua River Wild and Scenic River Study Committee, together with its recommendation to seek Wild and Scenic River designation from Congress.
    Learn more at

  • Devens Municipal Vulnerablity Preparedness Plan
  • Through a Grant from the State Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program, Devens has completed a comprehensive Climate Change and Natural Hazard Vulnerability Assessment, Preparedness, and Action Plan. This plan will help Devens become even more resilient and adapt to changing climate conditions. View the full report .

  • DEC Releases Pilot Study by Tufts University on Biometric Tools for Planning
  • The DEC recently partnered with Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning on an innovative research project: "Seeing the 'Unseen' in Devens: A Biometric Pilot-Study to Better Understand the 'Unconscious' Human Experience at Devens, Massachusetts". The study looks at how people unconsciously respond to different elements of the built environment, using one of the newest residential developments in Devens as a case study. Read the full report here.

  • Take a Sustainability Tour of Devens
    See some examples of the social, economic and environmental aspects that make Devens and the businesses and organizations here more sustainable.
  • Devens Eco Efficiency Center
    The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center provides education, technical assistance, networking forums, and partnership opportunities that help local establishments make better use of resources and achieve triple bottom line – economic, environmental and social – benefits. Learn about the non-profit's programs and services that promote sustainable business practices and how your facility can benefit from them.