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ARE HIGH-RISE GREEN RENTALS THE NEXT BIG THING?
Will green rental units take on new prominence as resource saving alternatives to single-family homes?


As cities continue to grow, forward-thinking architects and developers are planting prolific green housing and vibrant whole neighborhoods, one project seed at a time. And they’re focused on rentals. For example, the Albanese Organization, Inc. (AOI), a full-service real estate firm, set the pace for a greener urban America with the development of three LEED Platinum certified buildings in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City, one of the most affluent neighborhoods in New York City.


“Both apartment buildings use 67% less power on peak demand and 30% overall, compared to a typical building of it size, and the Solaire uses 50% less water than a typical building of its size,” says Michael Gubbins, AOI vice president and director of residential management.


Additional highlights include a four-pipe fan coil system that replenishes and doubly filters the fresh air in the buildings. And residents enjoy the sanctuary of extensive green roof gardens at both buildings.


But what about the less affluent?


James Dixon, director of architecture for Abode Communities in Los Angeles, says that green high rises can be affordable for mid- and lower-income residents because of lower operating costs.


To that end, in seeking housing project sites, Abode focuses on finding in fill sites within established neighborhoods with established infrastructure that are convenient to transit, jobs, services, schools, shopping, and other amenities.


“The immediate result is that we reduce transportation costs and time for our residents, increase their quality of life, and reduce the generation of green house gases,” Dixon says. “Many times, we are building on brown fields or helping repair blighted communities. So the very nature of our mission and of our projects is sustainable out of the box, and we would argue that density is a big part of it.”


Ultimately, some may still believe the infrastructure demands of higher density living compromise green building. Not so, says Dixon. “Density done well equals green.”


Touted as America’s first environmentally advanced rental tower, The Solaire is located at 20 River Terrace in Battery Park City, directly adjacent to the site of the former World Trade Center. The high rise is rated Level 2.0 by the Green Building Challenge, and holds U.S. Green Building Council LEED-NC, v.2/v.2.1 Gold Level status. In 2009 it was awarded LEED EB Platinum.


 


GTHURMHIGH-EFFICIENCY WINDOWS 


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06.2011
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