High Performance Without the High Price Tag
By David Bailey, Project Manager, Southface
Most intown Atlantans know that housing prices are rising and some rents have risen by as much as 70 percent. This means less affordable housing across the city for those who need it most, including seniors. For seniors living in the heart of the city, affordability is especially critical.
However, a redeveloped property in Midtown, called 10th & Juniper, demonstrates how affordability and sustainability can intersect, to the benefit of seniors, disabled residents, and low-income families.
Over the past year and a half, Southface staff alongside the project developer Columbia Residential, the Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA), and the City of Atlanta teamed up to restore a high-rise residential property on the corner of 10th and Juniper Streets that serves the some of Atlanta’s aging, disabled, and low-income individuals and families. 10th & Juniper was certified according to the National Green Building Standard, which promotes energy and water efficiency as well as improved indoor air quality. These building improvements translate to added health benefits, better comfort, and an improved quality of life for occupants.
“‘Affordability’ and ‘energy efficiency’ aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Nathan Culver, Senior Technical Project Manager at Southface. “We were honored to be a part of a dedicated project team that aimed to provide a healthy, well-built facility for these Atlanta residents to call home.”
With green building certifications and renovations of this scale, contractors and project team members work diligently from start to finish to ensure every design element and mechanical improvement will have a positive effect on residents, from the lightbulbs installed to the paints covering the walls. Some of these improvements include: interior paints that contain zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals that have been shown to have adverse health effects on humans when inhaled; increased ventilation; and added insulation along the building’s exterior and roof, which helps improve heating and cooling the units.
During the renovation of 10th & Juniper, Southface staff projected energy usage data using energy modeling software. From these models, staff members could provide recommendations to the rest of the project team on what improvements might have the largest efficiency impact, particularly on residents’ utility bills.
“According to the models, the newly renovated 10th & Juniper would see on average a 31 percent reduction in energy consumption and nearly 25 percent reduction in water usage. For residents, that means lower monthly utility bills and greater personal financial flexibility,” said Culver.
The grand reopening and ribbon-cutting of 10th & Juniper comes just three months after Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms unveiled a plan to make Atlanta “an affordable city for everyone.” As Invest Atlanta president and CEO Dr. Eloisa Klementich mentioned during the press briefing back in March, “Ultimately, we want to ensure Atlanta sees balanced, equitable growth benefiting residents in neighborhoods throughout the city.” With the reopening of 10th & Juniper and the investment in redeveloped affordable housing across the region, Atlanta could soon become a beacon for equitable growth in the Southeast and the United States.
David is a Project Manager at Southface. He provides communications for the EarthCraft green building certification program, and writes regularly on Southface’s other programs and initiatives.