Top States for LEED Multifamily Certifications in 2021

In the first half of the year, 106 multifamily properties received LEED certification across the country, based on USGBC data. Here are the five most notable projects from that list.
Image by Free-Photos via Pixabay.com

With 2021’s third quarter well underway and economic recovery in full swing, the multifamily market is thriving, with rents improving at record-high rates, and more recently in gateway markets, as well.

This also means that increased focus on housing persists, as homes continue to serve as workplaces, too. In addition, given the heightened awareness of green buildings and environmentally friendly amenities and features, green living is slowly but surely becoming the norm.   

According to U.S. Green Building Council data pertaining to LEED certifications in the residential sector during the first half of the year, 106 communities received the certification across the U.S. in 2021 through June: 17 became certified to LEED Platinum, 40 became LEED Gold certified, another 39 were awarded LEED Silver certification, and 10 hold the basic LEED certification.

California continued to lead in both the overall figure (29 communities) and in the number of projects (12 communities) awarded the highest level of certification. Washington, D.C., followed with 13 communities, succeeded by New York (9), Massachusetts (8) and Illinois (6).

Here’s an overview of five of the most considerable projects from USGBC’s ranking.

Project Name No. of Units Rating System Address City State Date Certified Certification Level
Millennium Santa Monica 356 LEED-HOMES MR v2010 2929 Pennsylvania Ave. Santa Monica Calif. 1/8/2021 Platinum
Watermark at Buzzart Point 453 LEED-NC v2009 1900 Half St. Washington D.C. 2/9/2021 Gold
Two Blue Slip 421 LEED-NC v2009 2 Blue Slip Brooklyn N.Y. 4/6/2021 Silver
The Harvey 177 LEED-HOMES MR v2010 480 Rutherford Ave. Boston Mass. 2/10/2021 Platinum
Aspire Residences 275 LEED-NC v2009 2111 S. Wabash Ave. Chicago Ill. 3/4/2021 Silver

1. Millennium Santa Monica, Santa Monica, Calif. – LEED Platinum

Millennium Santa Monica

The 356-unit property at 2929 Pennsylvania Ave. was completed in 2020 and certified in January 2021. According to Yardi Matrix, Dinerstein Cos. and Heitman own the community, which was built with a $136.4 million construction loan funded by JPMorgan Chase.

The unit mix consists of studios and one- to three-bedroom floorplans ranging from 511 to 1,469 square feet. Millennium Santa Monica includes 38 affordable units and has 705 subterranean and above-ground parking spaces.

The community’s LEED Platinum certification ensures healthier air quality through advanced air filtration and ventilation systems, as well as fewer toxins in the environment, not just through the selection of construction materials used in finished and overall construction—which also include recycled and regional materials—but also through advanced filtration and ventilation systems with indoor contaminant-control features.

The property is equipped with energy-efficient Energy Star windows and kitchen appliances, as well as energy-efficient air conditioning, heating and lighting, and programmable thermostats. Water efficiency is increased through low-flow water fixtures and drought-tolerant landscaping. In addition, residents have access to on-site recycling, fuel-efficient parking and electric car charging stations, as well as a carpooling/rideshare program.

2. Watermark at Buzzard Point, Washington, D.C. – LEED Gold

Watermark at Buzzard Point

Replacing a former office building, the 453-unit community at 1900 Half St. in one of D.C.’s Opportunity Zones received the LEED Gold award in February with a scorecard of 60 points. Yardi Matrix data shows that the asset was built with aid from a $22 million construction loan funded by United Bank.

The property, co-developed by Douglas Development and PTM Partners, was designed with LEED certification in mind; the site was thoroughly evaluated and materials were carefully selected. The developers paid close attention to minimizing water and energy usage and prioritized indoor air quality.

Watermark’s water-efficient landscaping, low-emitting and reusable building materials, quality control for stormwater design and alternative transportation weighed heavily in the LEED evaluation.  


READ ALSO: Spotlight on Watermark, DC’s Distinct Waterfront Development


3. Two Blue Slip, Brooklyn, N.Y. – LEED Silver

Two Blue Slip

The 421-unit property was also completed last year and received its LEED certification in April 2021 with a scorecard of 56 points. The 40-story tower is part of Brookfield Properties and Park Tower Group’s second phase of the massive Greenpoint Landing project, located in one of Brooklyn’s Opportunity Zones. The first tower—One Blue Slip—opened in August 2018.

Apartments in Two Blue Slip, designed by Handel Architects, span from 410-square-foot studios and one- to three-bedroom apartments ranging from 585 to 1,409 square feet, to penthouses with one to three bedrooms. The property also comprises an affordable component totaling 127 units.

The geometry of the building enables more than 70 percent of the apartments to benefit from water views and Manhattan’s skyline. Residents can access their apartments and amenity spaces throughout the building using their phones, via a keyless entry and home management system. Moreover, the public waterfront esplanade at Greenpoint Landing was extended to connect the Newtown Barge Park and the existing waterfront open space, which—combined—spread across more than 3 acres of picnic areas, open lawns and a sports field.

4. The Harvey, Boston – LEED Platinum

The Harvey

The 177-unit property replaces the former Hood Dairy Plant at the southeast corner of the Hood Business Park complex. The repurposing itself represents a highly sustainable feature.

The Catamount Management-owned asset was completed in 2019 and received its LEED Platinum certification this February with a scorecard of 82.5 points. The unit mix, which includes 23 affordable units, comprises studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 435 to 1,057 square feet.

Sustainability-wise, the project’s HVAC system was installed with tenants’ health and energy efficiency in mind and has solar panel roof hookups, which provide an option for solar power in the future.

The team used low VOCs and sustainable sources products such as FSC woods throughout the development process. Floor-to-ceiling windows in all units let in abundant natural light. Additional green amenities include electric vehicle charging stations, a rideshare lounge, two bike rooms to accommodate one bike per resident (there’s also ample additional bike storage on the adjacent campus), outdoor space that includes a courtyard with various seating areas and resident gardens, and wireless building access.


READ ALSO: Highlights of LEED Multifamily Certifications in 2020


5. Aspire Residences, Chicago – LEED Silver

Aspire Residences. Image courtesy of Draper & Kramer

Draper & Kramer’s 275-unit project opened in 2020 in Chicago’s South Loop and received the LEED Silver award in March 2021 with a scorecard of 54 points.

Yardi Matrix data shows that the development came online with help from a $69 million construction loan issued in 2019 by Helaba. The 25-story building includes 6,600 square feet of first-floor retail space and a unit mix that includes one- and two-bedroom floorplans, as well as one- to three-bedroom penthouses ranging from 529 to 1,411 square feet. In addition, 10 units are reserved for low-income residents.

The transit-oriented development was designed in tune with current resident needs and features keyless entry. It also has a private garage with charging stations and bike storage. The entire fourth floor is reserved for both indoor and outdoor amenities, from a yoga room with a virtual trainer to private workspaces with Wi-Fi. Aspire Residences also includes a roof terrace with a sun deck, cabanas, grilling stations, a swimming pool and of course, city views.