Anyone familiar with the New Haven project will confirm it is more like a prototype for 21st century living than a building. 360 State is such a perfect embodiment of the ultimate dream design that it even attracted the attention of Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). He made a site visit in March 2010 while promoting S.1619 (the Livable Communities Act of 2009), a measure he introduced to the Senate in August of 2009. This bill, currently curdling in the 23-member Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, would provide a variety of grants totalling $400 million to assist in the development of sustainable communities. Dodd’s photo op at the project helped burnish 360’s new brand as a deep green example of the types of innovative and sustainable projects S.1619 could support.
Project developer, Bruce Becker (pictured at right), likes to point out that in addition to the fuel cell, the building uses 34 energy saving technologies. For example, the Climate Master TS-series heat pumps used in the building are the highest efficiency pumps on the market today. The result speaks for itself. When benchmarked against a comparable, code-compliant building of similar proportions, 360 State will have half the carbon footprint.
Butlers might as well queue up now in the unemployment line, as the complex will also provide a concierge service along with cookies and coffee in the lobby. The developer will also support the arts through exhibits in the lobby of original artwork by both local and national artists. The building facade, by the way, has been embellished by renowned Yale School of Architecture ornament professor, Kent Bloomer. The complex is stunning and glamorous, but it is its sustainability features that really dazzle. Once in a while in life, residents really can have it all.
Green Landlady asked Lenox if there is a plan to include urban agriculture in the mix - the green roof is already part of the design - and Lenox’s answer was pretty upbeat.
When GreenLandlady pointedly asked about leasing results, there was no pushback. Lenox remained enthusiastic and forthcoming about their progress, obviously an easier posture when the results are all great. Like most leasing agents – green building represents only about 3% of the entire U.S. building stock nationwide - Lenox had no previous experience leasing sustainable units. However, she spoke with the zeal of an evangelist when she offered her views:
There is no reason to doubt Lenox, as the low vacancy factor is the result of a long-standing inadequate supply and lack of new apartment building in New Haven. Certainly people are interested in 360 State Street, so we asked the big question. Are they willing to pay for it? Lenox answered in the affirmative.
“Most people in New Haven are not going to move to live in 360 State Street, but most of them will use the grocery store,” he said. “It’s more relevant to the general population.”
The Connecticut Clean Energy Fund provided a grant to fund half the cost of 360 State Street’s 400 Kilowatt fuel cell stack. This grant will make it possible to reach the breakeven point (from energy savings) in about 5.5 years. The fuel cell will generate most of the building’s power needs in addition to providing space heating, cooling, conditioning and the building’s hot water. The fuel cell system is the largest residential installation of this type of technology anywhere in the world.
As tenants learn to appreciate the benefits of high efficiency lighting, energy star appliances, thermal comfort, occupancy sensors in common areas, excellent environmental air quality and the other benefits of a deep green building, they may also experience better health. Although this all sounds and is very luxurious, the building guarantees that 10% of the units will be leased to those who qualify for affordable housing.