Green Building takes the “LEED” at The Birches at Chambers: Going green isn’t easy. It costs more, can lengthen some building cycles, and the return on investment isn’t always immediate. But Birchez Associates is committed to the environment and with each community it builds, the building is greener.  In the case of The Birches at Chambers, the fifth community to be built and brought on line within eight years, Birchez followed LEED guidelines, created by the US Green Building Council. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Top insulation standards, protecting against air filtration, high efficiency condensing boilers, and ENERGY STAR appliances are all part of the extra steps Birchez Associates has taken in the construction of The Birches at Chambers as can be seen in this video on sustainability. The Birches at Chambers received LEED Platinum certification, a rarity in both multifamily housing of this size and in affordable housing (for more on this topic, click here).

NYSERDA Recognizes The Birches at Esopus for Energy Efficiency: Birchez Associates’ commitment to energy efficiency in building passed the test in 2009 when NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research & Development Authority) awarded The Birches at Esopus designation as a New York Energy $mart Building. This is the first newly constructed, affordable housing complex in New York State to receive this certification. In addition, The Birches at Esopus was the first multifamily low-rise new construction to complete NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program. Foam insulation in cavities, cellulose insulation (from recycled products), high efficiency condensing boilers, solar panels and ENERGY STAR appliances throughout are some of the features that won this recognition for The Birches at Esopus. For an update on Birchez’ second Energy $mart Building, click here.

Innovation continues at the communities developed by Birchez Associates long after the last hammer is put down. At its senior affordable housing communities, two innovations speak to the health and wellness aspects of aging in place. At the fully equipped exercise studios in both Ulster and Esopus, Birchez provides a fitness trainer, free of charge through a strategic partnership with Kingston’s Signature Fitness, to provide training and motivation for seniors. And for all locations, Birchez provides an office for a Senior Advocate who lets residents know of services that are available in their communities. This assistance can mean the difference between remaining at home and entering institutionalized care. The Senior Advocate position, funded by Birchez Associates at no charge to the residents, has been held for the last five years by Alice Tipp. Ms. Tipp has been recognized by New York State as a Senior of the Year; she had served for 30 years as an Ulster County legislator.