If you think the recession has ruled out innovative ideas in low-rise residential development, take a look at Minerva Place Condominiums in White Plains, N.Y. Built to high energy-efficiency standards, Minerva Place proves that it’s possible to cut energy consumption dramatically in a low-rise residence project while still achieving affordability for homebuyers and manageable project length and carrying costs for the developer.
Until now, no new low-rise construction project in Westchester County had met all the requirements of the New York Smart Multifamily Performance Program. Minerva Place, built by DeLuxe for the non-profit Community Housing Innovations (CHI), Inc, is changing that. Compared to standard low-rise construction, it’s a model of energy efficiency – utilizing the right construction techniques, insulation, plumbing and lighting.
In addition, the first geoexchange system ever installed in the city provides heating and cooling to the units, supported by eight 350-foot-deep wells that tap consistent ground temperatures.
Beyond the energy saving details, the project also was meant to produce apartments that middle-income families would want. This is emphatically not a development in which “affordable” is a polite way to say “downscale.” At Minerva Place, the two-bedroom and three single-bedroom apartments are nicely appointed, with fit and finish that say quality. Among the amenities attracting potential buyers are cultured marble bathroom countertops, Corian and granite kitchen countertops, and hardwood floors.
It adds up to one major reason Deluxe made sense for this project. Systems-built construction enabled close control of many aspects of the project, the energy-saving construction details as well as the livability features that make the apartments something special. All these elements were carefully installed and monitored on the Deluxe manufacturing line. That meant they were done right, in a timely, correct, and cost-controlled way.
To earn the NYSERDA money, the project had to generate energy savings of more than 20 percent compared to a “baseline building.” With estimates of the actual savings at 30 percent, the development should comfortably exceed minimum NYSERDA requirements.
Tough times or not, developers and their vendors can still provide appealing, high-performance buildings today. Minerva Place shows one way to make it happen – with the right mix of imagination, technology, expert vendor help, and government backing.