Green Buildings Combine Healthy Living with Energy Savings
Whether it’s a commercial or residential green building project that is designed from the ground up to be eco-friendly or an energy-efficient retrofit, developers are realizing energy and cost savings, while creating healthy environments.
Commercial projects are realizing significant savings. As an example, Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, which consumed 14 million kilowatt hours of energy a year in 2001 before its energy-efficient retrofit, now consumes nine million kilowatt hours per year as of the end of 2008, reports the Financial Post. This translates into a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption.
Yorkdale spent $300,000 on the lighting retrofit in 2007, which led to saving 850,000 kilowatt hours per year, reports the Financial Post. The mall also installed a building automation system allowing the building to shift and shed its electricity load usage during peak times, according to the article.
In addition, through Toronto Hydro’s Conservation and Demand management program, Yorkdale uses its back-up generators when the utility takes the mall off grid during peak demand periods to alleviate demand in Toronto by 1,300 kW, reports Financial Post. In return, the shopping center receives an annual incentive payment. Incentives range from $150/kW to $350/kW, according to the article.
As one residential example, developer Denale Inc. recently broke ground on its new carriage home community in Manayunk, Pa., that combines sustainability and luxury. Sheldon Crossing will offer modern amenities and sustainable features exceeding Platinum LEED certification standards, according to the developer. The development is focused on creating a healthy environment with improved air, acoustics, and water quality.
The builder, Lehmann Companies Inc., is on track to acquire more than the 100 points required by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for Platinum LEED certification by the time construction is completed in 2011. The first model homes are expected to open by November 2009.
Key environmental features of the homes include PV solar panels, green roofs for additional living space, Icynene insulation, high efficiency heaters, Kohler WaterSense plumbing fixtures, water purification, heat recovery ventilators, beam central vacuums, smart home automation, porous pavers, and Energy Star appliances, windows and doors.
These homes are expected to reduce utility bills by consuming less energy, water, and natural resources, and save money on future maintenance due to their durability and quality construction.
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