Spire Focused on Sustainability

Spire Focused on Sustainability
DENVER, CO - When the Spire condominium building in downtown Denver opens in November, it will be among a handful of high-rise residential towers that achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. Short translation: It's green.

The designation, coupled with the building's affordable prices, is a key selling point for the 41-story project at 14th and Champa streets, said Chris Crosby, executive vice president of the Nichols Partnership, which is developing the project. "Our focus is on attainability and sustainability, in that order," Crosby said.

Spire's green features include a LEED-compliant air-filtration system, trash-recycling chutes on all floors and products made of recycled materials.

For Lindsay Smith, buying a condo in a green building is key.

"When I was looking, the LEED aspect of Spire was one of the things that really stood out to me," the sustainability manager for the Colorado Convention Center said. "It's a passion of mine, both professionally and personally. They have a lot of innovation that I don't think we've seen so far in Denver buildings."

She's selling her car and plans to participate in the Connect by Hertz program Spire will offer, a pay-as-you-go car club that allows members to book a car, pick it up and drive away for an hour, a day or more.

Though they're more expensive, dual-flush toilets and fixtures designed for water conservation are higher-quality than those typically installed in residential projects, Smith said.

"It's hopefully setting a bar for other buildings," she said.

There are 94 LEED-certified multi- unit residential projects nationwide — the first in Pittsburgh in 2003 — according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Of those, 44 are Silver, the level Nichols wants to achieve for Spire.

LEED is a point-based system where building projects are graded for satisfying specific green building criteria in six categories. Platinum is highest, gold next, then silver.

Despite the additional cost to attain LEED certification, the developer remains focused on keeping units affordable. About 60 percent of Spire's condos are priced at less than $400,000, far lower than most large condominium projects.

With 496 units, Spire will be the largest multifamily LEED-certified building in the metro region.

Developer David Zucker's RiverClay project in Denver was the first to be LEED-certified. The 60-unit project sold out within 10 months of its completion in August.

Green features there added about 2 percent to the development cost and included low-toxicity adhesives, stains, paints and coatings; solar power; low emissions; and highly insulated window glass. Buyers are expected to save up to $600 in energy costs yearly, Zucker said.

"In some ways, achieving LEED as a developer is really a gift to the buyer," Zucker said.

Zucker is going for LEED Gold on his latest project, the 120-unit Solera apartment project in Denver, expected to be completed next June.
Source: DenverPost.com

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