By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Silver Spring, Md.—Solaire Metro Apartments in suburban Washington, D.C., has earned LEED Gold. The distinction is still fairly uncommon; Groveton Green Apartments, a 226-unit apartment community in Owings Mills, Md., was recently awarded the first multifamily LEED Gold certified project in the LEED for Homes program in the state of Maryland.
Solaire is a 17-story high-rise that contains 295 studio, one-bedroom, one-bedroom plus den, two-bedroom and two-bedroom plus den residences. It’s in the Ripley District of Silver Spring, a revitalization area centered around a new transit center, which lends itself to foot, bike, bus, Metro and MARC train transit. The Silver Spring Transit Center is one of the region’s largest transportation hubs, with nearly 60,000 users every day.
In addition to being TOD, Solaire is 100 percent smoke-free, includes energy-efficient appliances, and low-flow fixtures that developer Washington Property Co. says reduces utility bills and the impact on the environment. Bozzuto Management Co. manages the property.
According to a report released last month by the World Green Building Council, there are a number of benefits from green buildings throughout the lifecycle of a building to different stakeholders. The report, “The Business Case for Green Building: A Review of the Costs and Benefits for Developers, Investors and Occupants,” examines whether or not it’s possible to attach a financial value to the cost and benefits of green buildings. It says yes.
Most obviously, green structures save money through reduced energy and water use and lower long-term operations and maintenance costs, the report notes. Energy savings alone typically exceed any cost premiums associated with their design and construction within a reasonable payback period.
More than that, the report asserts, building green doesn’t necessarily need to cost more, particularly when cost strategies are integrated into the development process right from the start. Also, as investors and occupiers become more knowledgeable about and concerned with the environmental and social impacts of the built environment, buildings with better sustainability credentials will have increased marketability.