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Green My Digs: 5 Most Eco-friendly Apartment Buildings in America

3p Contributor | Monday June 27th, 2011 | 0 Comments

By: Tim Eyre

The robust global environmentalism movement has impacted virtually all aspects of American life. And while green building practices have been utilized in single family construction for some time now, developers in the multi-family sector have only recently started taking notice, recognizing that the added cost of implementing eco-friendly design and construction principles may pay off by attracting green-minded residents. Below are some of the most eco-friendly apartment complexes in the United States.

The 20 on Hawthorne

Portland, Oregon

The 20 on Hawthorne

The green movement and sustainability are nothing new to Portland, Oregon. The city is known for its green spaces and its citizens’ efforts to preserve the Earth’s natural resources. In fact, Popular Science named Portland the # 1 green city in the United States. So it may come as no surprise that the first apartment building on this list is in beautiful Portland. Developers of The 20 on Hawthorne achieved a Gold Certification rating from the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. And it shows. The building was constructed with an eye toward reducing resident’s utility bills, boasting high performance windows for optimal insulation, Energy Star appliances and energy efficient lighting. Everything about The 20 on Hawthorne seems to promote a sustainable lifestyle. The bottom floor of the building houses almost 5,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, which was also constructed pursuant to LEED guidelines.

The Millennium Waterway Avenue

The Millenium Waterway

The Woodlands, TX

While Houston, Texas may not be the beacon of sustainability that Portland is, the green movement is catching on there too. In nearby The Woodlands, Texas, the Millennium Waterway Avenue represents one of the greenest apartment communities in the state and one of the first LEED certified multi-family communities in the area.

The Blairs

The Blairs

Silver Spring, MD

Just a short commute from the hustle and bustle of our nation’s capital is the Blairs in Silver Spring, Maryland. Comprised of several separate structures, including Blair East, Blair Plaza and Blair Towers, the Blairs’ buildings are all completely powered by wind. And the developers of the Blairs were innovators in the green multi-family building movement. The Blair Towns, another part of the apartment complex, was the first apartment building in the United States to receive LEED certification.

Folsom + Dore

Folsom + Dore Apartments

San Francisco, CA

Because eco-friendly building techniques generally increase the cost of a construction project, most developers traditionally market green multi-family projects to a middle- to upper-middle class demographic. However, the developers of San Francisco’s Folsom + Dore apartments defied convention by bringing LEED certified accommodations to lower income residents. This project represents an innovative merger of environmentally sensitive construction practices with affordable housing. The residents of Folsom + Dore even include several former homeless individuals.

Emerald Green

Emerald Green NYC

New York, NY

While Folsom + Dore married affordability with sustainability, the developers at Emerald Green in Manhattan’s trendy Garment District combined eco-friendly design and construction with luxury. Residents at Emerald Green enjoy designer finishes rivaling any chic condo in the city with an eco-friendly twist (think bamboo flooring and an interior garden), as well as first class amenities, including a state of the art fitness center, around the clock doorman service, maid service, and valet parking.

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