Tower Companies' The Blairs First Multi-Family USGBC® Certified LEED® Gold under Residential Campus Program for EBOM

Aug 07, 2012, 11:00 ET from The Tower Companies

ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Tower Companies announced today that The Blairs Residential Campus is the First Multi-Family to receive LEED® Gold Certification under the Multiple Building and On-Campus Building Group Certification Program for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance ("EBOM") version 2009 on July 25, 2012. Tower's Chief Sustainability Officer David Borchardt and project consultants, Sustainable Design Consulting (SDC), led the effort.

This exciting news comes just after Tower received the U.S. Green Building Council ("USGBC") National Capital Region ("NCR") chapter's 2012 Awards of Excellence event for Project of the Year for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance ("LEED EBOM") for Blair Towns, the world's first ever multi-family residential LEED Platinum Certified project under EBOM version 2009.

"The LEED Gold certification of the Blairs Residential Campus demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Mahesh Ramanujam, COO, U.S. Green Building Council. "This project is one I was fortunate enough to have been involved with. I saw first-hand how dedicated The Tower Companies are to green building, they are a prime example for building owners across the country. I was also struck by Jeffrey Abramson, partner at The Tower Companies and his commitment to USGBC's mission and passion for LEED."

The Blairs is located on a 27-acre eco-progressive live-work-play community located on a mixed-use urban campus in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, that was an infill and previously developed site. The Blairs Residential Campus LEED EBOM project includes the entire residential site boundary at the Blairs and seven residential buildings; Blair Plaza, Blair House, Blair East, and Blair Towers A through D. These seven buildings are comprised of approximately 1400 residential studio to three bedroom apartments.

The Blairs Residential Campus project was awarded 69 points and achieved LEED Gold certification under the new Campus Program for LEED EBOM by pulling together a team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable local consultants, vendors and contractors.

"This was a unique and large undertaking which enabled our employee team of sustainability executives, property managers, and building engineers to work closely with these companies. We are also grateful to the U.S. Green Building Council for their decade of leadership," stated Tower partner, Jeffrey S. Abramson.

The achievement of the Gold Certification is due in part to the team being awarded key credits under categories such as alternative transportation, water efficiency, energy efficiency, and GHG inventory reporting and offset purchases. For example, the team conducted a transportation survey that included responses from over 60% of the apartment residents to show that there was over a 75% reduction in the number of conventional commuting round trips for regular building occupants. This success resulted in 15 points under Sustainable Sites Credit 4, Alternative Commuting Transportation.

In addition, the team received 8 points from Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1, Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance. Although existing residential buildings are not eligible to receive an Energy Star Score using Portfolio Manager, the energy intensity measurement was used to confirm that the seven buildings on average have an energy performance that is 32% better than the National average. Furthermore, the campus achieved 5 points from Water Efficiency credit 2, Additional Indoor Plumbing Fixture and Fitting Efficiency. A water use performance calculation determined that the water efficient fixtures installed, at the seven campus buildings, offers a reduction in water usage by over 38%, as compared to the baseline provided in LEED EBOM. The team also received 8 points towards Gold due to the fact that Tower completes an annual GHG inventory for scope 1 and 2 emissions for the entire commercial and residential portfolio and offsets 100% of these emissions by purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon credits.

The Tower Companies has developed internal guidelines for sustainable purchasing practices for the entire company, including all of The Blairs properties.

The Blairs Residential Campus buildings, which were part of this LEED project boundary, are all part of the Tower portfolio Real Time Energy Management Program. This intensive program began in late 2011 and has helped to educate Tower staff on energy conservation measures by utilizing real time data and having frequent meetings to share ideas for improvement. This has been an extremely successful program thus far and as of July 2012, the Blairs residential campus has reduced energy consumption by over 5% compared to normalized data from the 2011 baseline.

Contact: Elizabeth Oliver-Farrow
The Oliver Group, Inc.

SOURCE The Tower Companies