As the economy strengthens, housing returns. But don’t think half-acre lots in exurbs; think density. According to the Commerce Department, “Overall housing starts have reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 914,000 units, which is nearly 29% higher than last year’s rate. This increase was driven almost entirely by a 24.9% surge in construction of multifamily units, such as apartments.”
“The multifamily sector is perfectly positioned to take the leadership role in sustainable shelter,” says Green Builder Media founder Ron Jones. “By helping to educate the occupant now it will pave the way for improved environmental awareness and good habits going forward.”
Enter Stream Fifteen, Green Builder Media’s first VISION House® multifamily demonstration project. Developed by Stream Real Estate, LLC, the 36-unit apartment demonstration project is located in Seattle, one of the three top-rent-growth markets of 2013 due to its quickly growing urban workforce.
The building’s exterior materials and design elements will differentiate the commercial portion of the building from the residences. Echoing the character of the surrounding neighborhood, the commercial level will have a dominant brick masonry facade with a parapet, a two-story projecting bay, and a continuous storefront at ground level.
The project features a mix of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom rental apartments ranging from 450 to 1,050-sq. ft., and includes 24 below-grade parking spaces, patios for ground-level units and balconies for upper floors.
Stream Fifteen is designed to achieve LEED-H certification. “As a company, we started with the premise that we would push the envelope with sustainability and environmental responsibility, along with financial viability,” explains Marc Angelillo, Managing Member, Stream Real Estate.
To achieve this, the team isn’t just leaning on high technology. “Our approach to sustainable design is low tech,” says architect Boyd Pickrell of Nicholson Kovalchick Architects. “We tend to look for strategies, systems and products that are proven and not super fancy but, rather, tried and true.” The team is focusing on the thermal envelope, aiming for a tight, well-insulated envelope to reduce heating and cooling loads.
“The economics and environmental aspects of projects like Stream Fifteen are inescapably connected,” says Jones. “Durability, efficiency and quality living benefit the developer and the occupant. The developer is rewarded with higher returns on investment and the occupant enjoys a better quality of life.”
The project is currently in design phase and is expected to break ground in early 2014.
The Green Builder VISION House® Series consists of demonstration projects built around the country that showcase the benefits of sustainable design and construction. These projects are built in high-profile markets that have unique green attributes, such as net-zero energy standards.
For more information on the VISION House Series, visit www.greenbuildermag.com/vision-house