Greenbridge development in Chapel Hill is a mere 2 blocks from CaraGreen. I’ve driven by it countless times, heard bits about its McDonough design, and knew materials CaraGreen was providing for the project. But until recently, I’d never toured the buildings, which really brought its remarkable design, both in terms of sustainability and aesthetics, to life for me. Mark Vevle of Greenbridge Developments was kind enough to give me a tour of the site.
Exterior & Green Spaces
We started out on the breezy Rosemary Street courtyard entrance, which will eventually be filled with shops and restaurants. The courtyard is flanked by the two buildings that compose Greenbridge, which are clad with distinctive yellow brick, which was selected because it is manufactured in NC by Cunningham Brick Company and has high-recycled content. The buildings also use high-performing Solarban80 Low-E glass for windows. These materials, as well as steel, concrete, and wood, combine to create a complex and interesting exterior design.
We go up a flight of stairs, and we’re looking out on a lush green paradise, which is the green roof atop the lobby space. Mark tells me that Xero Flor installed the green roof in just a couple of hours. A few of the many benefits of green roofs is that they increase air quality, contribute to more efficient heating and cooling systems, provide safe nesting grounds for birds, and provide relief to the city’s water infrastructure during storms by retaining 35-90% of rainfall. Plants are integrated in other ways as well. For example, there are planters filled with vines that will climb up the building by way of a modern wire grid trellis, and residence balconies are separated by containers of dwarf evergreen trees.
We head to the stairwell en route to the residential units. Even the stairwell has a good vibe. It is primarily raw concrete, but there are touches of adventurous orange and forest green paint that provide a hip, outdoorsy feel. Sherwin William’s ProGreen low-VOC paint is used throughout. We stop off on the fourth floor, and there’s signage made out of Bio-glass, a 100% recycled glass and cradle to cradle certified product available through CaraGreen. Metal holders that have been cut with the unit numbers and room names on them cup rectangular pieces of Bio-glass. The Bio-glass practically glows.
We explore a number of units to see the various mixes of finishes and layouts. Owners were given the opportunity to choose from finish packages designed by Sitzer Spuria Studios, the interior designers for Greenbridge. Or, in some cases, owners made their own custom selections. For countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, Meld ecoX and xposed concrete slabs, which are made locally in Raleigh and contain recycled content, or Eco-Terr slabs, which contain recycled stone, are used. For backsplashes, Eco-Gres recycled porcelain mosaic tiles and Oceanside recycled glass tile are used. All cabinetry is made from no added formaldehyde sheet goods and glues. Flooring in the main living areas is either bamboo flooring or Turning House Millworks engineered wood flooring. Carpet, used in the bedrooms, is Shaw’s Anso nylon carpet, which is Cradle to Cradle certified. And, terrace flooring is ECOmax recycled rubber tiles by ECOsurfaces, which contain close to 90% post-consumer recycled content. It seems every finish has been thoughtfully selected.
Energy and Water Efficiency
For lighting, Cree LR6 LED lights are installed, which use just 8 watts, have a 25-year lifespan and are made locally. Greenbridge has a solar thermal hot water system that uses 90 solar panels to heat 4,750 gallons of hot water per day, which significantly reduces carbon emissions and promotes energy independence. There’s also a high-efficiency water sourced heat pump which will save energy and carbon emissions while providing individualized climate control to tenants. The HVAC system is designed to be at least 30% more efficient than standard systems, and there’s a Fresh Air Exchange system, which keeps residential units supplied with clean filtered fresh air. An intake at the top of the building draws fresh air in, passes it through a series of allergen and particulate filters, and then delivers fresh air to each unit at the front door, while old air exits out vents in each bathroom. Dual flush toilets, low-flow water fixtures, and energy efficient appliances have been installed in units as well to further conserve water and energy.
Greenbridge is a trailblazing LEED project in NC, which CaraGreen is proud to supply materials for. For more information on this project, visit the Greenbridge website.