Ultra-Green Maryland Complex Takes Regional LEED

What do you get when you piggyback LEED for New Construction Platinum with LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) certification? For the Blair Towns townhouse development, apparently, what you get is the US Green Building Council’s 2012 Awards of Excellence for Project of the Year in the Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance from the National Capital Region chapter (USGBC NCR).

The Blair Towns development — part of the Blair Tower live-work-play complex in Silver Spring, Maryland — was the first LEED-certified multi-family apartments in the country when it was completed in January 2004. To date, the tower complex holds 11 LEED certifications, three of which are at the Platinum level.

The Blair Towns

image via The Tower Companies

Emily Zimmerman, Executive Director, USGBC NCR, said in a statement, “Blair Towns has been a pioneering project from the start. The 2012 Awards of Excellence judges consistently cited the complexity of achieving LEED EBOM Platinum in a residential setting, and being the first to do so, since no adaptation existed.” She goes on to note that both the project and company behind it, The Tower Companies, continues to test the bounds of what is possible.

Blair Towns earned its LEED EBOM designation by virtue of its close proximity to a public transportation hub (it estimates that over 75 percent of residents use some form of transit or carpool); a focus on environmentally friendly materials purchasing (such as carpet and paint); low-flow water features; and a comprehensive green cleaning program that specifies green products, equipment and procedures. The Blair Towns is estimated to be 32 percent more energy efficient than an equivalent, conventionally constructed building.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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