Posts Tagged ‘LEED Platinum’

Upstate Conference Highlights Hudson Valley Green Builder of Affordable Housing

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Syracuse, NY  September 27, 2011. Often including green technology costs developers more although the cost savings can help keep affordable housing affordable over time. This was a central point made by Steve Aaron, Founder and Managing Member of Birchez Associates during a New York State Association for Affordable Housing session during the group’s Upstate conference. Birchez completed The Birches at Chambers earlier this year, an affordable housing complex for seniors, that is the first multifamily in the Hudson Valley to be awarded the presitigious LEED Platinum designation by the Green Building Council. The complex features both solar thermal and photovoltaic panels to offset domestic hot water, radiant heat and electric costs. The Birches at Chambers also received recognition from NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Agency) as an Energy $mart Building. Panelists are shown below.

Integrating Green Funding Sources
Moderator:
F.L. Andrew Padian, The Community Preservation Corp.
Speakers:
Steven Aaron, Birchez Associates
Daniel Buyer, NYS HCR
Fred Fellendorf, Buffalo Energy
Nick Petragnani, The Community Preservation Corp.
Scott Townsend, 3tarchitects


Building “Green” Retirement Communities Trending Now

Monday, August 8th, 2011
Hudson Valley

Business Journal       week of August 8, 2011

by Theresa Keegan

Baby boomers are continuing to do what they’ve been doing for the past six decades – defining the country’s demographics. Only now instead of toy purchases, clothing trends or musical tastes, collectively, they’re “trending” the housing market. Today, one of the few bright spots in the real restate industry are communities focused on senior or retirement living and those communities are often built with great attention being paid to green design.

“There’s a general awareness and also an environmental enterprise about senior housing,” said Joseph Malcarne, a Dutchess County contractor who specializes in energy-efficiency construction. He recently was involved in the construction of Birchez at Chambers Senior Community and utilized numerous improvements to make the project not just energy efficient but also healthier for the residents.

“You have people with various different health issues in the building,” he said. With a site plan that accommodates people in multiple stages of aging, the Birchez is designed as an age-in-place facility. But Malcarne discovered that while such a plan is popular and sought after, it also poses some challenges such as you don’t want the air from one unit circulating to another.”It came as kind of an ‘aha moment’ after reviewing the design,” he said. “Anything that’s airborne could be moved throughout the building.”

The LEED-certified expert devised an energy recovery ventilator system for each unit that recovers humidity and air temperature and individually exchanges it with fresh outside air every few hours. The result is a system that eliminates any chances of air-borne germs being spread to other units. And senior sensitivity to temperature was another main concern.

Although the main floor uses radiant heat and cooling, the individual senior units each has its own thermostat in a ductless format. “The heat core and energy core has the air go through a fine tube that they pass through,” he said. “But there’s a lot of surface area so the temperature remains constant. The energy-efficiency steps have resulted in Birchez earning a platinum LEED ranking. The solar thermal and photovoltaic panels came from local sources, so there wasn’t even a large carbon imprint from shipping the energy efficient products.

There are 66 units in the newest Birchez development, which is located in the Town of Ulster. It is served with public transportation options and on-site there is a fully equipped fitness studio, movie theater, crafts room, library game room, computer lab with internet access, as well as a Community Room for senior meetings and activities (that comes with a complete kitchen). The grounds have wheel chair and walker access from one end to the other, including patios and a gazebo.

But the project’s overall appeal is not just in energy efficiency. It also includes flexibility to meet residents’ needs. Every apartment is handicapped ready, and conversion to full ADA standards can be completed in less than a day. Nine units are already fully handicapped accessible. The result is that seniors can return to their home sooner after hospital stays or an illness because the building can accommodate their new needs, whether it be ramps for a walker or handicapped bathroom facilities. Many residents also have home health aides who assist them in living independently. The need for senior housing in the region is great, according to a report by Family of Woodstock.

“The demographics of our community is changing. Ulster County’s aging population is increasing and will become a larger percentage of the population. While the county’s population is projected to only increase 6 percent from 2000 to 2035, the number of seniors over 60, 65 and 85 years old will increase 72 percent, 79 percent, and over 100 percent, respectively … it is reasonable to question who will take care of seniors in their home if the outward migration of young people continues. Further, in planning needed services, it is important to note that nearly 50 percent of seniors over the age of 75 have a disability.”



The Birches gets ‘green’ recognition

Friday, July 15th, 2011

KINGSTON — As Ulster County’s population ages and energy resources grow scarcer and more expensive, there will be a need for more affordable housing, especially for those on a fixed income and the working public.

The Birches at Chambers in the town of Ulster is a 62-unit senior affordable housing complex and is the first multi-unit facility in the Hudson Valley to be given a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award for its green building technology.

Willie Janeway, regional director for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said that as housing remains in demand for baby boomers and the workforce, The Birches at Chambers fits the bill.

“The state is encouraging and doing all it can to support housing such as the housing we are celebrating today that is affordable for seniors and is also built ‘green,’” he said.

Steve Aaron, founder and managing partner of Birchez Associates, which operated The Birches at Chambers, thanked U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-Hurley, and Ulster  County Executive Michael Hein for helping to create a climate that’s conducive to going green on a mass scale.

Hein, in turn, praised Aaron’s efforts to combine pressing needs to build more affordable housing that have minimal impact on the environment.

“It’s an enormous undertaking that you’re meeting the highest standards of building (technology),” Hein said.


Green, Greener, Greenest!

Friday, July 15th, 2011

THE SENIOR GAZETTE, Serving the Senior Community in the Hudson Valley

Friday, July 15, 2011

The  Green label is applied to many products, services and buildings, yet what do these labels really mean? The Birches at Chambers, Birchez Associates latest Senior Community in Ulster County, supplies one concrete answer – what it means to be the greenest. This 62 apartment unit building has been certified as LEED Platinum, the highest recognition provided through the US Green Building Council. The Birches at Chambers is now the largest low-rise multifamily affordable building to earn Platinum on the East Coast. (Meantime, the community’s cottage and caretaker’s home both received LEED Gold, no mean accomplishment.)

A rigorous scoring procedure by third parties looks at criteria including site selection, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.  What does that mean to the Senior Residents at The Birches? Reduced energy costs are achieved through solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof, super insulation, and state of the art ventilation systems. Quality of life is improved through radiant heat in many first floor units, an evenness of temperature, healthier air quality, and the knowledge that grandchildren may inherit a cleaner planet.

LEED certification is an ongoing commitment through energy audits, a vigorous recycling program and education. Nor is this a one time thing for the Birchez organization. It’s Founder and Managing Member Steve Aaron has a strong personal commitment to sustainability. “I remember the first Earth Day forty-one years ago. As I look back, I am painfully aware that we have not done enough.” As Mr. Aaron puts it, “You’re never too old to go Green.”


Hear Us Live, talking about LEED Platinum

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Kingston, NY. MyKCR hosts Fred Wadnola (Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature) and Fred Teetsel (Former Alderman, City of Kingston) welcomed Steve Aaron, Founder & Managing Member of Birchez Associates LLC and K.J. McIntyre, Director of Marketing. Fred Wadnola, who was a guest at the presentation of the LEED Platinum award to The Birches at Chambers on Monday, opened the program with his comments on how impressed he was that this certification, the only multifamily in the Hudson Valley, had come to Ulster County.

Steve Aaron and K.J. McIntyre spelled out what it took to achieve LEED Platinum and how few affordable communities have received it.  To hear the radio broadcast, click here and hit listen. The broadcast starts about 5 minutes in and lasts for a little more than 20 minutes and we suggest you turn up your sound especially in the beginning. MyKCR (Kingston Community Radio) broadcasts from 7am to 9am each weekday on WGHQ 920AM.


Birches At Chambers Affordable Housing Development Awarded LEED Platinum Certificate

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
BYVICKI DISTEFANO
KINGSTON – Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY 22nd district), Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, and others gathered on Monday, July 11 to celebrate the LEED Platinum certification of The Birches at Chambers affordable housing development here and to discuss the findings of a report on Green Housing & The Baby Boomers.

Discussion points included economics, health, affordability, population projections, and the local green connection. Others who spoke about the importance of green building, sustainability, and affordable living were Steven L. Aaron, founder and managing member of Birchez Associates LLC, Greg Watson, assistant commissioner for regional affairs for NYS Homes and Community Renewal, William C. Janeway Region III director, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Joseph Malcarne LEED AP and president of Malcarne Contracting.

Following the formal remarks outside The Birches at Chambers, the multi-apartment, affordable senior housing received its LEED Platinum certificate, the highest attainable green building label by the U.S. Green Building Council. Tours of the facilities, conducted by LEED knowledgeable guides, followed.

The Birches at Chambers is the only Hudson Valley multi-family to attain LEED Platinum certification. With 66 one- and two-bedroom apartments, it is the third largest low-rise multifamily affordable project in the US or Canada, and one of only two on the East Coast (the other being a 32-unit project). The building is also a NYSERDA Energy $mart Building. In addition, the cottages and caretaker’s unit that are part of this senior community achieved LEED Gold certification.

The Birches at Chambers is the fifth affordable community developed and managed by Birchez Associates LLC of Kingston. Completed in spring of 2010, the 66 apartments are for seniors age 62 and over, at up to 60 percent of area median income. The units are powered by solar thermal and photo voltaic (PV). All units are handicapped ready and many are handicapped accessible.

The Birches at the Chambers is one of five of Birchez developments. For more information about Birches at the Chambers or any other Birchez development visit Birchez.com


Maurice Hinchey salutes Hudson Valley LEED Platinum award winner

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Kingston, NY, 7-11-2011  At a panel on “Green Housing & The Baby Boomers,” U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY 22nd District) spoke of the significance of healthy green buildings, especially so when it is provided at the affordable senior housing level. At the presentation held at The Birches at Chambers, Hinchey spoke with pride that his district now has a LEED Platinum award winner in the multifamily category, the only one in the Hudson Valley.

Hinchey is shown here with Steven L. Aaron, the Founder and Managing Member of Birchez Associates LLC, the developer and management company for The Birches at Chambers. Hinchey addressed an audience of elected officials, business and civic leaders during the presentation at Birchez’ latest senior community in the town of Ulster.

The event, “Green Housing & The Baby Boomers” covered issues of health and dignity for seniors, especially with the start of the  impact of the burgeoning Baby Boomer wave upon the country and the county. Hinchey honed in on how important LEED Platinum is to The Birches at Chambers, a 66-unit community adjacent to Chambers Court, the 72-unit original Birchez’ senior housing community completed just seven years ago.

The Birches at Chambers is now in an elite international group that has achieved LEED Platinum, developed by the US Green Building Council. The largest East Coast affordable low-rise multi-family housing project, this is the third largest in the US or Canada to earn this certification. Additionally, The Birches at Chambers is:

  • One of only five multi-family Platinum projects in the state of NY.
  • Third largest affordable project in the state of NY.
  • Ninth largest low or mid rise multi-family (including custom and market rate) in the US and Canada.
  • Only multifamily project in the Hudson Valley to achieve LEED Platinum.

In addition to using local workers on the construction, Aaron pointed out the local sourcing of the solar panels which both helps the local economy and decreases the use of fossil fuels in transporting materials.

Other panelists were Greg Watson, Assistant Commissioner for Regional Affairs, NYS Homes and Community Renewal (NYS HCR), William C.  ”Willie” Janeway, Region III Director, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Michael Hein, Ulster County Executive Officer, LaMar Hasbrouck, MD, MPH, Director of Public and Mental Health for Ulster County, Joseph Malcarne, LEED AP, member of the US Green Building Council and President of Malcarne Contracting, and the host of the event, Steven L. Aaron, Founder and Managing Member of Birchez Associates.

Following the panelists remarks and the presentation of the LEED Platinum award to Steve Aaron and his wife Judy who contributed to design work (both interior and exterior), attendees were treated to tours of the building including mechanical rooms to see how the solar thermal  and photovoltaic panels, high efficiency condensing boilers and state of the art circulating pumps all came together to help towards the LEED Platinum designation.

The tours of the building included the fitness studio with a specially trained senior fitness instructor, crafts room, library/game room, computer lab, and much appreciated on a hot day, the state of the art theater which cooled visitors after spending time in the warmth of the mechanical room. To the left is a partial view of the array of solar thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof of the main 62-unit building which received the award. (LEED Gold was attained for the cottage units and caretaker’s home.)


‘Green’ senior housing receives praise

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

KINGSTON, 7/12/2011 – As Ulster County’s population ages and energy resources grow scarcer and more expensive, there will also be a need for more affordable housing, especially for those on a fixed income, and the working public.

The Birches at Chambers, in the Town of Ulster, is a 62-unit senior affordable housing complex, and it’s the first multi-unit facility in the Hudson Valley to be given a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award for its green building technology.

Willie Janeway, regional DEC director, said as housing remains in demand for baby boomers and the workforce, this housing fits the bill.

“The state is encouraging and doing all it can to support housing such as the housing we are celebrating today that is affordable for seniors and is also built ;green’, Leadership in Energy and Environmental design (LEED), which is the gold standard for environmental green building,” he said. “It makes it more sustainable and in the long term it will save money.”

Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-Hurley) said the project could serve as a model around the nation.

Steve Aaron, founder and managing partner of Birchez Associates, thanked Hinchey and other local officials like Ulster County Executive Michael Hein for helping to create a climate that’s conducive to go green on a mass scale.

Hein praised Aaron’s efforts to combine some future pressing needs to build more affordable housing that will have less impact the environment.

“It’s an enormous undertaking that you’re meeting the highest standards of building (technology),” said Hein. “We have to make sure places like this exist, so people can live with dignity regardless of their financial means.”


The Birches at Chambers receives LEED Platinum certification

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

KINGSTON, N.Y. 07/11/2011– An affordable housing complex for seniors has received a big award for its leadership in energy. The Birches at Chambers has received the LEED platinum certification.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. The founder and managing partner of Birchez and Associates says he wants to make people aware of what the LEED program is all about.

“To celebrate LEED, but also give the important people that attended the event an opportunity to talk about the environment, health, health for seniors. How a healthy building is important for seniors, especially those aging in place,” said Steven Aaron, founder and managing partner of Birchez Associates.

The Birches at Chambers is just one of only two places of its kind on the East Coast.

To view the YNN broadcast, click here.


Central Hudson’s Almanac Salutes Birchez’ Green Affordable Commitment

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

August 20, 2010: Paul Tesoro, Director of Communications for Central Hudson, hosts a daily broadcast called Almanac aired on multiple Hudson Valley radio stations. We were pleased that he featured The Birches at Chambers and The Birches at Esopus in today’s broadcast. Paul highlighted the amenities that our communities offer and how they contribute to the quality of life for our residents. In addition, the broadcast covered the green aspects that ultimately contribute not only to health but also affordability. To listen to the broadcast, click here (it takes a moment for the intro to kick in).