Luxury Goes Green in Buckhead

Streets of Buckhead

A lifelong resident of Atlanta, Ben Carter has made an environmental commitment to the community by seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for his company’s luxury mixed-use development, The Streets of Buckhead. Featuring more than 500,000-square feet of world-class retail, dining and residences, The Streets of Buckhead will be one of the country’s most expansive and affluent developments to be awarded Silver status in the LEED Green Building Rating System(TM) when it opens in 2009.

“There was never a question in my mind that The Streets of Buckhead would be environmentally friendly and have a positive presence in the community,” said Carter, founder and chairman of Ben Carter Properties, developer of The Streets of Buckhead. “We are working to fulfill all the necessary requirements for LEED Silver certification across the entire development, which is uncommon for most mixed-use developments. I’m proud that in addition to making the commitment to bring this new luxury district to Atlanta, we’re able to make it that much better by also focusing on efficiency and sustainability.”

Streets of Buckhead

Established in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification confirms that The Streets of Buckhead is being built based on standards for environmentally sustainable construction. LEED promotes a whole building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Since its inception, LEED has grown to encompass more than 14,000 projects in 50 U.S. states and 30 countries, covering 1.62-billion square feet of development area.

Streets of Buckhead

Streets of Buckhead

LEED-certified buildings use key resources more efficiently than conventional buildings which are simply built to satisfy codes. LEED-certified buildings are, by nature, healthier working and living environments, which is thought to contribute to higher productivity and improved health and comfort for occupants. While initial construction costs for LEED-certified buildings are higher than conventional construction, often these costs can be effectively mitigated over time through lower operational costs for the structures, a benefit of higher energy efficiencies.

The many proactive initiatives that The Streets of Buckhead is pursuing in order to gain LEED certification include:

  • Recycled groundwater will be collected for cooling towers to reduce the use of valuable potable water, and reduce the demand on Atlanta’s already strained drinking water resources
  • Plumbing fixtures will be selected to reduce water consumption
  • Planned interior finishes will be selected to ensure good indoor environmental quality
  • Means of supporting alternative transportation are being explored, including such innovations as shuttles connecting patrons and employees to mass transit; parking dedicated solely to car/van pool and fuel efficient vehicles; and bicycle parking and storage
  • Overall, a reduction of more than 21 percent in energy use over more conventional buildings is anticipated

LEED consultant and commissioning authority, Commissioning and Green Building Solutions Inc. (CxGBS), has been retained by Ben Carter Properties to oversee The Streets of Buckhead’s certification. The firm’s Holistic Commissioning(TM) approach, which is being employed at The Streets of Buckhead, goes beyond the standard building commissioning procedures by examining the design process and re-evaluating buildings years after they are completed.

Streets of Buckhead

“While LEED certification is not new for many types of facilities, it is very new for mixed-use developments such as The Streets of Buckhead,” said H.J. Enck, principal and founder of CxGBS. “The project will be one of the first large retail and mixed-use developments to receive this certification.”

Ben Carter Properties’ decision to seek LEED Certification is not the first environmental achievement for The Streets of Buckhead. Like many urban properties, some of the individual parcels assembled for the property exhibited soil and groundwater contamination from previous or historical use. Rather than shy away from its commitment to revitalize the center of Buckhead, the company chose to take on extensive environmental cleanup under Georgia’s Brownfields program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. As part of this process, environmental sampling and cleanup were integrated into the excavation of building foundations and underground parking, and almost 300,000-cubic yards of contaminated soil have been removed from the property to date.

“Brownfield projects such as The Streets of Buckhead can transform neighborhood eyesores and stimulate local economies,” said Mark Smith, chief of the Hazardous Waste Management Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “When these benefits are achieved using private funding and through environmental restoration, the results are truly remarkable.”

Streets of Buckhead

Streets of Buckhead

Streets of Buckhead

© Business Wire / The Streets of Buckhead

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