By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Silver Spring, Md.—The Blairs Residential Campus has become the first multifamily property to receive LEED gold certification under the Multiple Building and On-Campus Building Group Certification Program for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (or “EBOM,” as the U.S. Green Building Council styles it). The property, which is owned by the Tower Cos., is located on a 27-acre site in downtown Silver Spring that was an infill and previously developed site.
The Blairs Residential Campus LEED EBOM project includes the entire residential site at the Blairs and seven residential buildings: Blair Plaza, Blair House, Blair East, and Blair Towers A through D. These seven buildings are comprised of about 1,400 units, ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments.
Tower’s chief sustainability officer, David Borchardt, and project consultants from Sustainable Design Consulting (SDC), led the effort to win certification. The achievement of the gold was due in part to credits under categories such as alternative transportation, water efficiency, energy efficiency, and GHG inventory reporting and offset purchases.
For example, Borchardt and SDC conducted a transportation survey that included responses from over 60 percent of the apartment residents to show that there was over a 75 percent reduction in the number of conventional commuting round trips for regular building occupants. This success resulted in 15 points for offering alternative commuting transportation.
The property also received eight points from energy efficiency performance. Although existing residential buildings aren’t eligible to receive an Energy Star Score using Portfolio Manager, that energy intensity measurement was used to confirm that the seven buildings on average have an energy performance 32 percent better than the national average.
The Blairs received other points for water efficiency. A water use performance calculation determined that the water efficient fixtures installed at the seven campus buildings offer a reduction in water usage by over 38 percent, as compared to the baseline provided in LEED EBOM. The property also received eight points toward gold due to the fact that Tower offsets 100 percent of its emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon credits.