Gables Old Town North, a LEED for Homes Mixed-Use Development Benefits its Residents and the Local Community Gables Old Town North in Alexandria, Virginia, embraces its historic setting in a myriad of ways throughout its recent development process and within the development itself. The community demonstrates the company’s commitment to sustainable, healthy living via enhancements to both the apartment homes and amenities. This mixed-use development is a 232 apartment home and townhome-style community offering 51,000 square feet of retail space and is pursuing LEED for Homes, Silver Level and Fitwel Certification. LEED for Homes, developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), is a voluntary green home certification system for assuring homes are designed and built to high quality standards and are resource-efficient and healthy for occupants. Fitwel is a building certification that uses evidence-based design and operational strategies to support the health and well-being of the building’s occupants and surrounding community. Fitwel was developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the General Services Administration (GSA). Location & Connectivity The community spans a full two-acre square block, is an infill site and was previously developed as a grocery store, strip retail shops and large surface parking lots. The re-development of this site has revitalized the neighborhood with its new housing, retailers, restaurants and businesses and is significantly contributing to the economic development of the area. Gables Old Town North has local resources, businesses and services to offer residents within ½ mile. The community is a short walk from the Potomac River waterfront and historic district and two local parks. The development has a Walk Score of 88 “Very Walkable.” “Walk Score analyzes walking routes to nearby businesses, services and amenities. Addresses within a five-minute walk to these destinations receive the maximum score,” as defined by Walk Score. The community green and public open space is a welcoming place to gather and features a commissioned acrylic and metal sculpture representing the historic “stone wall” built to shore up the area for the canal turning basin. Promoting Green Commutes Gables Old Town North offers alternative forms of transportation with sustainable commute options. The community is located within ½ mile walking distance to the METRO station. Low-emitting vehicles have access to preferred parking spots located close to building elevator banks. Residents and retail customers can charge their electric vehicles at the charging stations located onsite. Cycling residents can store their bikes in the secured, covered storage area and bike workshop. This location encourages cycling for commuting or recreation with a Bike Score of 86, “Very Bikable.” “Bike Score measures how good an address is for riding a bike. Scores are calculated by assessing bike lanes, hills, destinations, road connectivity and bike commuting share mode,” per Walk Score.
Interior Environments The qualities of a home impact how we feel. A comfortable and quiet respite with good air quality, and an environment conducive to sleeping support a healthy lifestyle. The air we breathe is one of the most important contributors to wellness. Gables Old Town North is a 100% smoke free community eliminating exposure to second hand smoke. All homes have a fresh air circulation system which automatically brings in fresh air at regular intervals. The apartment homes and ductwork are sealed tight to control pollutants and improve comfort. Interior materials impact air quality. Homes were painted with low VOC paint. They have luxury vinyl plank, hard surface flooring certified by FloorScore, an indoor air quality certification for flooring. Building operations manage air quality onsite with practices focused on managing moisture and green cleaning procedures. Residents will sleep soundly in their quiet homes with a building that’s designed and constructed to control exterior and interior noise. Light is controlled by black-out shades in the bedrooms, yet during the day, beautiful daylight enters each home through expansive energy efficient windows. Natural Resource Use Residents will have a high quality living experience in premier apartment homes that are healthy, comfortable and efficient, while using natural resources responsibly. LEED-certified homes are built and tested to be energy efficient ensuring comfort with minimal energy use. LEED homes are more efficient than homes built to code standards, based on average HERS ratings.1 The Home Energy Rating System (HERS) is the industry standard by which a home’s energy efficiency is measured. It’s the nationally recognized standard for inspecting and calculating a home’s energy performance, per the RESNET HERS Index. The systems in these homes include LED lighting, ENERGY STAR® dishwashers, refrigerators and washers, programmable thermostats, high efficiency HVAC systems and hot water heaters, and high performance low-e glass windows. The building maintains cooler temperatures with a “cool roof,” a white or light colored roof membrane with a high solar reflectance index (SRI) which benefit the homes inside. This roofing type also positively impacts the local community by helping to reduce heat island effect. This is caused by dark roofs and paved surfaces which absorb the sun’s heat during the day making the air temperature in urban areas warmer than surrounding suburban and rural areas. Like fossil fuels used to generate energy, water is another precious resource. Homes have WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures and will use 20% less water than a typical fixture and offer an equal to or more enjoyable experience than standard types. In addition to saving water, high performing fixtures using hot water like showerheads, bathroom faucets and dishwashers (uses less than 6 gallons per cycle) also save energy because the hot water heater is not working as hard. Water efficiency and conservation strategies are designed in the landscaping and irrigation system. Ninety percent of the plants used are drought tolerant and require less water. Invasive species were not used throughout the community. Grass areas on the grounds are limited to reduce watering and fertilizer needs. Drip irrigation is used to water most of the planting beds, it is more efficient than spray heads. Controllers and moisture sensors manage water use by watering only when needed. Rainwater is harvested in a 14,900 gallon onsite cistern to reduce the use of potable water for irrigation. 2
LEED for Homes signifies a high quality, sustainable and healthy place to live. Each home is third-party inspected, performance-tested and certified to perform better than homes built to standard building code. One hundred percent of Gables new developments built since 2015 have earned green building certifications. Visit gables.com/everyday-green/ for more information. 1
Benefits of Green Homebuilding, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)