The world’s first LEED Platinum City, a designation received by Washington, D.C., in 2017, maintained its position among the highest-ranking markets in the U.S. in sustainability-focused practices. Sustainability, green building and social equity are high on the administration’s priority list, as the District of Columbia aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.
The District also leads in gross square footage of LEED-certified spaces per capita. Last year, in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Top 10 States for LEED list, D.C. had more than 39 square feet per capita and more than 23 million total square feet certified. The first half of 2021 expanded that total by another 4 million square feet of office space, and the multifamily sector had another 17 communities awarded the LEED certification at various levels.
In the list below, we’re highlighting the top 5 LEED Gold certified projects during the first three quarters of 2021, based on data provided by the USGBC. The ranking is based on the number of units, from highest to lowest.
|Project Name||Number of Units||Rating System||Address||Date Certified||Certification Level|
|Watermark at Buzzard Point||453||LEED-NC v2009||1900 Half Street SW||2/9/2021||Gold|
|One501||327||LEED-NC v2009||1501 Harry Thomas Way NE||9/29/2021||Gold|
|The Kelvin||312||LEED-HOMES MR v2010||1250 Half Street SE||9/7/2021||Gold|
|555||194||LEED-NC v2009||555 E Street SW||2/8/2021||Gold|
|Blackbird||167||LEED-NC v2009||1401 Pennsylvania Avenue SE||2/9/2021||Gold|
1. Watermark at Buzzard Point
The 453-unit community at 1900 Half St. is a perfect example of adaptive reuse. Watermark at Buzzard Point replaces a 1970s office property that sat empty for several years before Douglas Development and PTM Partners brought it back to life. The two co-developers built the asset with aid from a $22 million construction loan funded by United Bank, according to Yardi Matrix data. The property received the LEED Gold award in February with a scorecard of 60 points.
The act itself of repurposing a massive structure instead of repouring thousands of tons of concrete had a substantial positive environmental impact. Of course, the site was carefully evaluated, and the developers selected green building materials, minimizing water and energy usage, prioritizing indoor air quality. The project has water-efficient landscaping, low-emitting and reusable building materials, quality control for stormwater design and alternative transportation.
The Foulger-Pratt project at 1501 Harry Thomas Way Northeast was built with support from a $67.5 million construction loan issued also by United Bank. In September it received the LEED Gold certification with a scorecard of 62 points.
The mixed-use project, delivered in the spring of 2021, includes 9,200 square feet of ground retail space, as well as 33 affordable units. A unique aspect is that the 1.8-acre site is wrapped on two sides by the NoMa Parks Foundation’s Alethia Tanner Park, which the developer helped to restore. Specifically, the developer donated 23,000 square feet to the foundation to expand the NoMa Green to the east. This has allowed the NoMa Business Improvement District to eliminate the Z-turn on the adjacent Metropolitan Branch Trail and make room for a dog run.
Heat and hot water at the community are electric, and units are equipped with programmable thermostats and keyless entry. There’s on site bicycle storage, which shows support for alternative transportation.
3. The Kelvin
The property at 1250 Half St. Southeast has 312 units and 60,000 square feet of retail space. It is co-owned by Jair Lynch Development Partners and MacFarlane Partners and, according to Yardi Matrix, it currently has an undisclosed loan drew by Jair Lynch Development Partners in 2016 from a $107.2 million construction line of credit funded by Pacific Coast Capital Partners. The LEED Gold certification was awarded in September with a scorecard of 66 points. In addition, it also holds an Energy Star certification.
Notable green features include electric heat and hot water, electric vehicle charging station, bike storage, a recycling program and walking and biking trails. Not exactly a green amenity, but a unique amenity is the rooftop pool overlooking the Nationals Stadium.
City Partners and Potomac Investment Properties are the owners of the luxury development at 555 East St. Southwest, and they built the 194-unit community with aid from a $62.2 million construction loan funded by Citibank, according to Yardi Matrix data. The property got its LEED Gold certification in February with a scorecard of 60 points.
The 11-story residential component sits atop a 10,500-square-foot retail unit on the ground floor. The unit mix has 58 apartments reserved for seniors and 136 for families. Its sustainable design elements include an energy-efficient building envelope, native landscaping, ultra-efficient mechanical system design, green roofs and high standards for acoustic performance. In addition, for its development, builders used a high amount of recycled content materials, and 87 percent of construction waste was diverted. The design of the building includes high performance window frames and glass, as well as light-colored roofs to reduce the building’s heat island impact.
It boasts a 40 percent water use reduction from the LEED baseline by utilizing efficient fixtures. Energy savings amount to 28 percent over applicable code and LED lighting features daylight control system. A dedicated outdoor air ventilation system provides optimal filtered fresh air while recovering heat from the exhaust air stream. Heat is also recovered between apartment mechanical systems. Electric vehicle charging stations are part of the sustainability package.
5. Blackbird Apartments
May Riegler Properties built this 167-unit community at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. Southeast with aid from a $44.5 million construction loan funded by EagleBank in 2017, according to Yardi Matrix. In February this year, the asset received its LEED Gold certification with a scorecard of 62 points.
The project’s units feature floor-to-ceiling windows for abundant daylight, and the kitchens are equipped with electric range ovens and cooktops. Additional green features include electric car charging stations, a bike repair facility and a recycling program. On the ground floor there is a 12,500-square-foot a culinary clubhouse dubbed The Roost.