HOMES: NY Times Supplement


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April 1, 2010

HOMES: NY Times Supplement A spate of green building projects coming to market

HOMES: NY Times Supplement

The Green Label is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of environmentally friendly building techniques – some of them employed before tenants move in, and some after, The first steps of sustainability involve using green and recycled materials during construction. and minimizing waste. Other steps involve improving energy and resource conservation, such as the use of energy-efficient appliances and water-conserving outdoor public spaces. All of these disparate elements fall under the broad rubric called “green”.

The U.S, Green Building Council provides the widely accepted third-party benchmark – called LEED certification -that is awarded after the building is deemed Energy Star compliant by the Department of Energy. “l’m not sure that the public understands all the advantages of green, yet,” said Kinne Yon, a partner in Kenbar Management, the developers of 1510 Lexington Avenue. “It sounds appealing, but the LEED program is complex, and involves a lot of different features, many of which are during construction. Does the average person care that you recycle your building materials and construction waste? Water-efficient showers, toilets and showerheads conserve water and Energy Star appliances save on utility bills. People understand that”.

At 1510 Lexington, an 18-story rental tower at 97th street, Kenbar Management has taken green living a step further. Six years ago, the Smoke-Free Air Act prohibited smoking in restaurants and workplaces in New York City – and now,151O Lexington has become the city’s first entirely non-smoking residential development. Targeted for LEED Silver certification, 1510 Lexington Avenue is one of three luxury residential buildings by family-owned Kenbar Management in Carnegie Hill Place.

“People don’t always understand the advantages of green living, but they understand immediately the advantages of living in a nonsmoking multifamily building,” Yon continued. “We find that families especially care about green because the children in school are learning about protecting the environment”.

Saving an estimated 40 percent more energy than similarly sized code-compliant buildings, The Visionaire, the striking new 246-home, 35-story water-front condominium on the Hudson River in lower Manhattan, has become an industry benchmark for a high-end eco-friendly apartment tower. The residential condominium tower in Battery Park City received LEED Platinum certification last June, the first condominium building in New York City to be so honored.

The concept at the Visionaire is to combine green living with luxury amenities typically available in only the top Manhattan condos. Amenities at The Visionaire include a 24-hour concierge, fitness center and spa, an indoor lap pool, two landscaped rooftop gardens, childrens playroom and onsite parking. The residents’ lounge has a flat-screen television. seating area. a catering kitchen and same-floor access to a roof garden, the pool and locker rooms.

For Manhattan buyers who can afford the best, energy savings is not always the primary motivation behind green living. For them, freshly filtered air and water are the green difference-makers. “At The Visionaire, we’ve combined unprecedented green standards for filltered fresh air and water, energy efficiency and natural resource conservation with innovative design, high-end finishes and amenities and a remarkable location”, said Russell Albanese, president of The Albanese Organization. “The Visionaire is an unmatched luxury residential building offering an exceptional living experience – and it is a green building at the same time”.

Emerald Green, on 38th Street just west of Eighth Avenue, is the first sustainable development project for Glenwood Management, for one of Manhattan’s most respected developers. Leasing began for the first of its two 24-story towers in tlwetall. and it sold out by the end ofthe year. The second tower first began renting in February, and by the following month was nearly a quarter sold out.

The building appeals to a younger clientele looking for excitement. good transportation and a little grit, explained Gary Jacob, executive vice president of Glenwood Management. “The young professlonals like living in areas that are new and not yet well establlshed they don’t want the Upper East or Upper West Side. Green is a tiebreaker when they are consndering which building to move into. Even our name has green in it”.

Surfside Narragansett one of Gilbane Development Company’s premiere waterfront properties has brought its green building concept to one of New England’s most desirable beachfront destinations located directly across from Narragansett Beach ln Rhode Island. A National Association of Home Builders Green Building Award Winner, the eco-friendly Energy Star-qualified two- and three-bedroom condominiums and private town houses include an array of energy-efficient features.

High-performance windows and insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling equipment and additional renewable resource products contribute to lower energy demand and reduced air pollution. The windows and doors are Energy Star compliant, the energy-efficient appliances come with the Energy Star label, and the heating and air conditioning achieves a minimum of 90 percent efficiency. Additionally, the stone walls and terraces are built with stone native to the area. Other regional, renewable building materials are utilized whenever possible to minimize the energy expended on manufacturing and transportation.

Windermere on the Lake, located in North Stamford, which borders with Greenwich and Bedford, NM, has managed to take the green concept to the extreme in its oversized luxury homes. NRDC Residential, the developer for Windermere on the Lake. sold the first LEED-certified luxury home in the northeast for $2.4 million in December “The first home was 7,800 square feet, and required a very sophisticated level of materials and energy management- and was a real test of many innovative green techniques,” explained Mark Robbins, president of NRDC Residential. “Some people are concerned with square footage. but the important thing is carbon footprint, which is a very different thing”.

Reducing the carbon footprint in a home this large represents a significant technical challenge, but ultimately the technical achievements – such as the recirculation of indoor air eight times an hour with a heat-recovery ventilator, or the creation of an air-tight thermal envelope – are features buyers can appreciate. “lt is all about the architecture of happiness,” concluded Robbins. “l don’t think people are buying houses by the pound, or leveraging up to buy as much as they can afford with the expectation that it is going to double in value every three years. Instead, what motivates decisions today includes quality construction. They look at green certifications as seals of approval in quality. Buying green means buying a more controllable environment to live in. When we demonstrate that the net effect to living like this is cost savings. that gets peope’s attention”.