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20 Charleston Green Guide

Local green buildings have an impact on the global community By Allison Cooke Oliverius aoliverius@scbiznews.com

W

hen people consider the advantages of building a green structure, there are the obvious ones the owner often experiences including tax credits, lower utility bills and increased property value — as well as knowing they’ve done something to help the environment. However the construction of a green building impacts everyone in a community, said Jenny Wiedower, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council’s South Carolina chapter. “It’s not just about the building owners saving money or feeling good about a contribution,” she said. “Not only is a green building using fewer resources and causing less harm to the environment, it’s a healthier and more pleasant experience for everyone that occupies or goes into that building. “Even small projects have a global impact,” she said. “Even if I never go inside a green building that has been built, I know it’s had an impact because somewhere coal hasn’t been harvested as much to power that building. It’s a green building in the local sense, but it can benefit everyone in the global sense.”

Increased productivity The Environmental Protection Agency has classified indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental concerns facing our country. Green buildings are generally healthier buildings, meaning they are built using nontoxic materials and equipped with efficient heating and cooling systems and moisture control systems. “The payback that often isn’t included in a business owner’s ROI in a green building is the reduced sick time that the employees and occupants experience, which can lead to lower insurance premiums. Healthier people leads to higher productivity, and in schools especially, higher test scores, better performing students and better performing teachers,” Wiedower said.

Built to last Buildings and renovation projects that are built to green standards are built to last, Wiedower said. “If you are going to invest more on a building on the front end, you are less likely to tear it down and send materials to the landfill,” she said. “You are not building a disposable building, which was a sad pattern we developed.” Wiedower added that durable buildings cost less to operate because there is less maintenance, and she said green buildings are more resilient to natural disasters.

Top: Harris Teeter anchors Rivertown Place, the first LEED-registered shopping center in South Carolina. (Photo provided) Right: The GreenHouse Learning Center. (Photo provided)

Does it have to be LEED to be beneficial? The Sustainability Institute recently unveiled an expanded office space for its Energy Conservation Corps. The 800-square-foot home was bought by the Institute in 2002 and given a green makeover then. But the space was recently expanded and additional green features were implemented so the GreenHouse can serve as an office space and a teaching tool for locals. The building is not certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. “That was intentional,” said Brian Cordell, executive director of the Institute. “We wanted to use technologies that are very affordable and could be used by the average consumer. That was our motive in the renovation.” “All green building programs are good in that they provide you with a pathway to a green building,” Cordell said. “They are all a pathway to the energy-savings results you are trying to achieve.” The following are examples of green buildings in the Charleston area.

GreenHouse Learning Center The Sustainability Institute East Montague Avenue, North Charleston Occupants of the former residence, which was built in the 1940s, paid utility bills upwards of $245 per month for the. But when the Sustainability Institute purchased the home in 2002 and turned it into an office, it installed a number energy saving features. The organization’s utility bills dropped to about $45 per month. Cordell said it took them 1 ½ years to complete the latest renovation and that much of the time was spent in material selection. He also said they formed partnerships with various businesses that donated materials for the project. “The renovations were done for educational purposes and it shows a range of

technology choices and material choices. We used local artisans and suppliers. Virtually everything we used came from within a 500-mile radius. The latest round of improvements include Structural Insulated Panel wall systems, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, spray foam insulation, salvaged wood and cork flooring, sustainable cabinets, desks and work stations made from pressed and recycled paper. It also features furniture made from local artisans, a rainwater catchment system to collect rainwater that is used to flush the toilets, low- and no-emitting paint and finishes and a native plant landscape. The building is open to the public and open for tours Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Free monthly educational workshops on sustainability are also offered at the GreenHouse. “We want people to come and see the building so they can be educated on material choices and how to make their homes more energy efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly,” Cordell said.

To find out more information on the services and programs offered by The Sustainability Institute and the South Carolina chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, visit www.sustainability institutesc.org and www.usgbcsc.org.

als were manufactured within 500 miles of the store, 95% of all construction waste was recycled and 50% of all wood used during construction came from certified sustainable forests. Freezer cases were designed with LED lighting and water saving devices were installed in all of the water fixtures. The store is 18% more energy efficient than the industry average and uses 65% less refrigerant load. It also has preferential parking for hybrid and low-emitting vehicles. cr bj

LEED certified projects in the tri-county region Project Title

Certified

The Urban Alliance Studio

Certified

Just Fresh - Seaside

Certified

North Charleston Elementary School

Silver

Half-Moon Outfitters Distribution Center

Platinum

Woolpert Office

Certified

WPC Inc.

Rivertowne Place Fox Capital Partners Highway 41, Mount Pleasant A shopping center that was designed according to environmentally friendly standards is now open on S.C. 41 in Mount Pleasant. Rivertowne Place, developed by Greenville-based Fox Capital Partners, is anchored by a 55,000-square-foot Harris Teeter grocery store. Three other tenants — O’Brion’s Pub & Grille, Rivertowne Spirits and Julius Alterations & Cleaners — are scheduled to open this summer, according to the developer. The 75,000-square-foot shopping center, which sits on 18 acres, is registered for LEED certification. The grocery store is the third LEED-registered store in the Harris Teeter chain. More than 20% of all building materi-

Certification Level

Edisto Beach State Park Education Center

The Navy Yard at Noisette

Gold Certified

Did you know? •

South Carolina lawmakers in 2007 passed measures that require any new public construction project to be built to LEED Silver certification standards. This includes new public construction over 10,000 square feet, major public renovation projects involving greater than 50% of the building, and K-12 schools. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification can take anywhere from 9 months to years, depending on the time it takes a company to implement various measures.

2010 Charleston Green Guide  

A guide to area businesses, individuals and organizations that are making progress with the environment in mind.This was originally a specia...

2010 Charleston Green Guide  

A guide to area businesses, individuals and organizations that are making progress with the environment in mind.This was originally a specia...