By Erika Schnitzer, Associate Editor Atlanta—Gables Residential has received EarthCraft Multifamily certification for three new apartment communities. The EarthCraft program is a residential green building program of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association in partnership with Southface. In addition to achieving the certification, the company received the 2009 EarthCraft Multifamily Developer of the Year.“The City of Atlanta has a program that [will incentivize] developers to build toward a green standard,” Joe Wilber, senior vice president of investments for the East, tells MHN. “We feel like we are pioneers in the city because we did it without incentives being offered and without anyone else pushing it. We are the first in Atlanta to focus on rental multifamily.”The EarthCraft House Multifamily Program currently certifies low-rise projects. According to the program criteria, the Energy Star certification is mandatory for buildings that can qualify. For those buildings that are not eligible for Energy Star certification, they must still be 15 percent more energy-efficient than the 2004 Energy Code. In addition, all units must feature fresh air intakes. According to EarthCraft, there are currently 12 projects moving forward with this certification.Unlike other green building programs, EarthCraft works to address the climate challenges in the Southeast and helps promote sustainable building in areas with hotter and more challenging climates, Wilber notes.In addition to being built to the program’s standards, the communities, 820 West (pictured, at top), which features 248 units; the 329-unit Sheridan (pictured, below); and Century Center, which comprises 355 units, are all Energy Star qualified. These three communities, which have all been leased up, include more efficient HVAC systems, better-performing insulation and low-E windows. “We decided three or four years ago that we wanted to pursue this,” explains Wilber. “On our first project—820 West—we designed it to meet EarthCraft standards, and when priced out, we found it was not overly expensive. It maybe adds a 2 percent cost, yet the benefits were very significant and our residents would enjoy lower utility costs and cleaner air and our project would have less of an impact on the environment.”Gables Midtown, a 345-unit EarthCraft Multifamily project currently under construction, is the first Energy Star high-rise pilot project in the Southeast, and only the fifth such pilot in the United States. This community, which is slated for completion for this fall, includes similar energy-efficient features as the previous three developments, in addition to a more efficient skin that contains heating and cooling within the building, as well as a white roof that reflects heat, says Wilber.The demand for green building in Atlanta is slowly increasing, Wilber notes. “As it becomes obvious that utility costs are lower and air quality is higher, there will be more willingness to pay extra to live in a building like this,” he predicts.The communities offer one-, two- and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 850 square feet to 1,900 square feet.
Three Gables Residential Communities Receive EarthCraft Multifamily Certification
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