Cromley Lofts, is the first-and-only LEED certified condominium in Virginia. They received Gold Standard certification from U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit composed of leaders from every sector working to promote buildings that .."environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. USGBC awarded the certification using rating system for each project. It is a voluntary program for green building. They received the LEED Gold Standard.
At least for now, Cromley Lofts, can enjoy their Gold Standard status -- until the next LEED certified condominium -- come into the pipeline sometime in the future. The building was originally a warehouse before it was converted into NY Style lofts. What is lacking here is the high ceilings higher than 9' to 10' that commonly seen in NY lofts.
What it Means to Be a 'Green' Condominium?
Though, when you look at the amenities, this building is a basic condominium, Cromley is not a typical condo you can find anywhere around our area. It is very 'different.' It carves out a niche. What makes it different is this: The green features. Because it features green living, so- don't look for pool, elevator, roof top, etc.. things that commonly associated with new constructions, instead focus on simplicity, urban design, and healthy living. You won't find underground parking here. Instead of underground parking, you have bike storage for your bike, especially when you live in Old Town. Old Town has plenty of places you can bike to. Instead of poor lighting, you have plenty of natural day-lighting, which is good. Because most people associate daylight with positive feelings.
Bill Cromley, the builder of this lofts says that his goal in building Cromley as Virginia's first green condominium is "because he wants to bring good urban design and green to reality." The three important criterias that makes this building 'different' than the rest of new condominiums you commonly see.
- It was designed to provide sustainability
- To promote healthy living and,
When I asked him, how he thinks about the Gold certification, he says that "..the LEED System is holistic. It is not just one thing but a lot of things combined. And for this building we have 42 different things combined." The information on USGBC website, mentioned that LEED certification for existing buildings comes with four levels depending on how many points a project met its criteria: 1) Certified - counts for passing 32-39 points in the rating system, 2) Silver 40-47 points, 3) Gold 48-63 points, 4) Platinum, which is the highest level only awarded when a building get 64-85 points.
Most builders use only a little bit here and there to green their buildings or new homes, featuring mostly energy efficient appliances.. like, front-loading washer and dryer, radiant floor, Energy Star appliances, but not completely green. Sometime, it is because not economically feasible [read: profitable] or they don't have the expertise to manage big development. Cromley himself said that "the hardest challenge in converting this building is the management of the project itself."
There are only 8 unit of lofts in the building. Six of those are above ground and two units are below ground (lower level). All of the units feature a combination of energy efficiency design and products use come from natural and renewable sources.
- Custom bamboo cabinets, soapstone counters
- R-25 wall insulation
- R-50 ceiling insulation
- 14 SEER rated A/C [the current minimum Energy Star models are 13 SEER or more]
- Freezer drawer refrigerators
- Micro/convention ovens
- Cork tiled laundries
- Energy Star appliances
- Water saving faucets, dual flush toilets
- Antique heart pine and Jerusalem limestone floors
- Low or no VOC paints
image: flooring is beautiful recycle lumber [antique heart pine]
The renovation of the building is carefully designed by Mr. Cromley and his team. All the things you see inside, like bamboo cabinets (there is no bamboo cabinets on the market!), shoji screen, they are made in their shop. Cork tile installed in the laundry room act as sound insulator. They use recycle wood for flooring for units above and limestone floors for units below ground. One of the best features of this building - is the green roof or vegetated green roof.
image: Green Roof
Green roof is not common in our area yet. Despite the fact that Washington DC is the US capital around here -- buildings in our area are not there yet -- especially in residential buildings. There will be another condominium featuring green roof coming to the pipeline in 2008. However, look at Chicago. It has transformed itself to become the home to 200 green roofs covering 2.5 million square feet, more than any other U.S. city. Some of the benefits of green roofs include reduce heating and cooling loads, and reduce urban heat island effect. According to Bill Cromley, "..because the vegetation helps reduce the impact of direct sun, green roof actually helps extend the life span of the roof itself."
The lofts are listed from low-$535,000 to low-$600's for 2BR/ 2ba with 1200 s.f. of living space.
Cross-posted with New Homes Trekker.