From the 20,000 square foot vegetation-covered roof, to low-VOC paints and caulking, to the carpets, the Philadelphia Housing Authority has created a new 'best-practices' standard for green senior housing. It's called the Nellie Reynolds Gardens. Philadelphia, already a leader in building Energy Star affordable housing, is taking its commitment to energy efficiency and a clean environment to a new level, building its first "totally green building" in North Philadelphia.
PHILADELPHIA - From a 20,000 square foot vegetation-covered roof, to low-VOC paints and caulking, to carpets, the Philadelphia Housing Authority has created a new 'best-practices' standard for green senior housing. It's called the Nellie Reynolds Gardens. Philadelphia, already a leader in building Energy Star affordable housing, is taking its commitment to energy efficiency and a clean environment to a new level, building its first totally "green building" in North Philadelphia.
The building is called the Nellie Reynolds Gardens, which is now under construction. It's designed to be much more efficient in the use of energy, water, and materials, while reducing impacts on human health and the environment.
The new senior development, to be located at 25th and Glenwood, will have a 20,000 square foot "green roof" with natural vegetation three inches deep. The million-dollar roof will have between five and ten species of Sedum plants (rock garden plants) as cover.
The Roofrug(R) Green Roof at Nellie Reynolds Gardens will provide substantial cooling in the summer and moderate the cold temperatures in winter. Charlie Miller, president of Roofscapes, Inc., the company that will install the roof, estimates that energy savings from the roof alone will run from 10 to 20 percent. This "thin grain roof" is specifically designed for buildings no more than three stories high with at least 10,000 square feet of roof. It is designed to insure long-term durability with minimal maintenance.
The vegetation will also keep 300,000 gallons of rainwater from running off into the city's sewer system. Miller says this will reduce pollution and the strain on the system, by soaking up rain that falls on the roof. He says the plants extend the service life of the roof, reduce landfill waste, and ultimately improve the value of the property.
PHA will also install Energy Star appliances and fixtures at Nellie Reynolds Garden, use recycled or "Green Label" carpet and environmentally friendly paints, primers, and caulking to help preserve air quality in the three-story building, which will have 64 units and cover over 85,000 square feet.
Besides saving energy and preserving the environment, PHA's commitment to a totally "green building" helped speed its application for a building permit and will also help the agency in obtaining financing for the $23.4 million development.
PHA Executive Director Carl Greene says rising utility costs and a healthy environment have prompted the agency to make this extraordinary commitment.
"We know that every dollar we save on energy costs is a dollar we can invest in housing and neighborhoods. Saving money on energy is more important than ever, especially when federal funding for public housing has been cut severely. And a 'green building' such as this one protects the health of our residents, as well as the surrounding neighborhood."
Miller also says that the quality of any water running off the roof (during rainfall of more than two inches) would be higher because the plants will have filtered it.
The plants used for the "green roof" rely solely on natural rainfall. They have fleshy leaves and will flower at different times. Their foliage will vary in color.
Ted Dillon, home energy analyst for the Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), says PHA will save on energy costs while reducing emissions 13 to 14 percent. He says those numbers are significant.
A "green roof" also offers PHA the opportunity of receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building certification, signifying that the agency is an ecologically responsible community partner, adding to the prestige of the building.
PHA is the nation's fourth largest public housing authority, serving nearly 84,000 residents in Philadelphia. The agency is also a national leader in using innovative financing to develop the highest quality affordable housing that has led to the rebirth of several Philadelphia neighborhoods.
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Source: Philadelphia Housing Authority