Green buildings are making their way into the Charlotte real estate demographic. From businesses to apartments to universities, developers are considering sustainability practices and environmental objectives in regards to the planning, constructing and retrofitting of buildings in the Charlotte area. The following are the highlights of the greenest, most environmentally friendly buildings in Charlotte.
1715 W. 4th St. Ext.
Charlotte, NC 28208
Breaking ground amidst the financial crisis and real estate bust at the end of 2007, developer James Funderburk attributes Celadon’s success to the holistic approach towards building efficiency, the low maintenance required for building upkeep and the modern, minimalist design aesthetic that features sustainable materials and infrastructure. Funderburk says, “When other developers were dropping ‘green,’ Celadon went greener and committed to a LEED [Neighborhood Development] pilot project.” The “cool roof” that reflects sunlight, the sustainable bamboo flooring and the recyclable sound and thermal insulation are just a few characteristics that contribute to Celadon’s LEED Neighborhood Development certification (the first and only in the Charlotte area) and qualify the complex as an Energy Star home. Located in Wesley Heights, residents can choose from one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums with immediate access to the greenway for transportation and recreational use while living in close proximity to I-277 and many bus lines and stops. Celadon residents also benefit by paying 55 percent less on their utility bills compared to their neighbors of similar infrastructure. Interested and potential residents should contact Origin Development, LLC for more information about the complex and other green development projects.
1000 Louis Rose Place
Charlotte, NC 28262
Converted from an old IBM Building in the University area, the Environmental Way building is Charlotte’s first LEED Platinum Core and Shell project, retrofitted with advanced environmental technologies, such as induction lighting, a solar thermal heating system, gray water system and low-flow water fixtures. Within the building, owner David Bowles operates a heating and air conditioning company called Environmental Services of Charlotte and an electric company called EMCI. He rents out remaining office space to various businesses that engage in the mindset and practices of sustainability. Accredited as an Energy Star partner, energy efficiency remains a primary objective of the building, equipped with a photovoltaic solar panel system that sells extra energy back to utility companies, an “off-the-grid” vertical axis wind turbine and an ice thermal storage system that helps regulate the temperature homeostasis within the building. For the future, Environmental Way seeks to influence community green practices, including local farmers’ markets and sustainable tourism.
Fire Station No. 42
5620 Central Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28212
Firefighters at Fire Station No. 42 in Charlotte can now enjoy quieter sleeping quarters due to increased quality of insulation that reduces energy costs. Further mitigating energy demand, more natural lighting has been added through skylights and glass paneling in the vast bay doors. Certified LEED Gold Standard, the building also supports a solar thermal heating system. During construction, many of the materials were sourced locally, including recyclables, and 75 percent of waste was not destined for the landfill but rather repurposed to continue its life cycle. Incorporating community involvement, the City of Charlotte helped commission regional artist Zach Noble to create massive, metal gates for the station. Fire Station No. 42 serves as a commendable example for other public administration offices, including fire stations, police offices and utility buildings.
Queens University of Charlotte
1900 Selwyn Ave
Charlotte, NC 28274
Nestled within the campus of Queens University, Rogers Hall provides science and health classrooms, faculty offices and a student and community meeting space that features a 100-seat auditorium while obtaining a LEED Platinum certification. The 56,500-square-foot building features a rooftop greenhouse and herbarium for student learning, recycled materials (including the trees that were removed during construction), a storm water capturing system, an efficient HVAC system and maximized levels of natural light. Defining the exterior of Rogers Hall, a green wall that displays native North Carolina plants in a shape of a double helix helps regulate ambient temperature levels for the building. Rogers Hall aims to not only serve as an educational resource for Queens University students, but also aspires to engage the Charlotte community in sustainable development.
The Lyndhurst Project
1700 block of Lyndhurst Ave.
Charlotte, NC 28203
Banister Homes, Inc. constructed and designed two green homes in the Dilworth neighborhood that display aesthetically enjoyable historic features, such as molding and coffered ceilings, and incorporate sustainable design. The home at 1717 Lyndhurst Avenue is the first home in Charlotte to be LEED Certified, and the neighboring home is certified as an Earth Craft House, another third party certification for green buildings. These homes are also in compliance with Energy Star homes as they feature design, materials and appliances that require less energy to operate. These homes will hopefully inspire and influence potential and current homeowners about the benefits of environmental features and sustainability practices.
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Isabel Sepkowitz is a freelance writer. She is an environmentalist who values sustainability, education, and innovation for the emerging green economy. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.