Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chattanooga and LEED Certification

Since the 1980s and its polluted past, Chattanooga has been trying to rebuild itself as a environmentally friendly city. Even before green became a hot trend, Chattanooga businesses have been striving to  not only clean up the city's industrial damage, but make a positive impact. 212 Market, one of the first local restaurants to open downtown, had to clean up toxic refuse left over from a previous automotive tenant before they could even begin thinking about installing stoves, walk-in refrigerators, and wine racks. But they did more than bring back a lost lot, they also focused their restaurant on locally sourced ingredients, and have renovated several times since first opening to increase their positive environmental impact. 212 Market is a trend setter in town, but it's no longer the only green-minded business. LEED standards have been popping up at more and more businesses and municipal projects.

The Chattanooga Airport at Lovell Field
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LEED certification is, according to the US Green Building Council website, "LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work and learn. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions."


Electric car charging station at the 2 North Shore shopping center
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Some of the developments that adhere to LEED guidelines include:

  • 2 North Shore, a retail center situated on Manufacturer's Road in North Chattanooga. It is the only LEED Gold certified shopping center in the region, and features many locally-owned businesses that are some of the oldest in Chattanooga, including Rock/Creek outdoor outfitters, Hair A Go*Go salon, Smart Furniture, New Moon Gallery and Tearoom, North Shore Yoga, Trek Bicycle Store, the Willa Collection, Learning Express Toys, Larimar Med Spa, and Dayle May Jewelers.
  • Volkswagen's Chattanooga Passat Plant is the world's first LEED-Platinum green building certification for an automotive manufacturing plant. As reported by SustainableBusiness.com, "Green Features include Certification of the paint shop facility. Previous assembly plants have excluded their paint shop in the LEED certification process because of the complexity of the manufacturing process and the challenge of getting them certified. VW's sustainably designed paint shop will save more than 50 million gallons of water a year." Other features that earned this certification include the salvaging and recycling of construction waste, the use of recycled materials in the building process, installation of low-flow toilets and rain water reclamation, and installation of showers and bike racks to encourage car-free commutes. 
  • The Times Free Press reported in February of 2012 that the Chattanooga airport's newest terminal is LEED certified. It is "the world's first to obtain LEED platinum certification for leadership in energy and environmental design", and one of its green features includes "a nearby solar farm."
The Passat paint shop at the Volkswagon Plant
Copyright ©TimesFreePress
  • Chattanooga has steadily been making its fire departments meet LEED certification. In August of 2012, the second green fire station in town opened. "Station 4, located at 2181 Bragg Street, has achieved Gold Certification," reported the Chattanoogan. 
  • The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity has recently made a move to build not only more LEED certified housing, but to also conform to EarthCraft standards, "a residential green building program of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association in partnership with Southface...that stresses an understanding of how the different components of a home work together. This approach results in a home that performs better, is more economical for the homeowner and costs little more to build than a comparable home built with standard construction practices."
The Hamilton County Business Development Center
Copyright ©WRCB TV
  • The Hamilton County Business Development Center was awarded Silver LEED certification
  • Even public housing has been LEED certified, with the redevelopment of the Chattanooga Housing Authority’s Edward F. Steiner Apartments in East Chattanooga. Re-envisioned as the Maple Hills Apartments "housing complex will feature 48 new, LEED-certified apartments in the Avondale neighborhood."
  • The Madison Moderns received platinum LEED certification and were not only "Chattanooga’s first LEED certified residential properties" but also "the first and only LEED Platinum properties in all of Tennessee."
With so much cutting edge emphasis on green building practices, Chattanooga is reducing energy and maintenance costs for residents and business owners one development at a time.