Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor
Silver Spring, Md.–Will green features in apartment residences attract renters in a market with a fair amount of choice? The Towers Cos., developer of Ecopads at The Blairs in suburban Washington, believe sustainability will get renters interested and in the door.
The Ecopads, available in one building as large studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, are part of Tower’s first-phase greening renovation of The Blairs, in which every building is registered for LEED New Construction or Existing Building certification. All together, The Blairs consists of 1,400 apartments on 27 acres, along with 150,000 square feet of office and retail space.
The Blairs complex includes three high-rises, four mid-rises and 78 LEED certified-townhouse units at Blair Towns, an infill development. It’s also near a Metro station (part of D.C. and environs’ mass transit system) as well as various dining and entertainment options, which presumably cuts down on automobile use among residents.
“Ecopads are designed for a new generation of renters who are looking for more than just shelter and location,” Marnie Abramson, a principal at the Towers Cos., tells MHN. “They expect to have a healthy building, with high-end, sustainable finishes, managed by a company that will continue those practices in the management and maintenance of the property.”
Considerable attention to greening detail has gone into The Ecopads, models of which are available for viewing, with a small group open for immediate occupancy, according to Abramson. The units’ kitchen interiors feature 35 percent recycled Silestone countertops, Energy Star GE Clean Steel appliances and gas ranges, formaldehyde-free European-style Eco Cabinets, and built-in recycling centers.
Further, paints and carpets have no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), all flooring is manufactured with ultra-high recycled content, and no solvent-based stains and coatings were used in carpets, cabinets or countertops. The Ecopad units also feature Kohler WaterSense Fixtures and “Budget and Monitor” Smart Meters.
The Ecopad non-smoking building also boasts social laundry rooms–in case social media isn’t enough for residents–furnished with high-end LG washer/dryers in a lounge-like atmosphere, with leather club chairs, large flat screen TVs and art on the walls. Tenants also have access to the private Crescent outdoor/indoor entertainment area, which comes with barbecue grills, flat screen TVs and plush patio furniture.