Metro Green Apartments, the first phase of an innovative LEED-ND Gold mixed-use, transit-oriented development on a 5-acre urban infill site in downtown Stamford, CT, was designed by Perkins Eastman to exceed the Enterprise Green Communities guidelines for green affordable housing. The four-story, 51,000 sf Metro Green Apartment was the first LEED-NC Gold certified affordable housing in the state of Connecticut. The building’s 50 units comprise a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, designed to meet the federal and state requirements for accessibility.
Building amenities include a community room with three free-for-use computers with high speed internet access, laundry room, bike storage room, and a bulletin board for ride-share and other community notices. In addition, each new resident of Metro Green is welcomed with a basket of green cleaning products and a “Living GREEN Guide” which provides detailed information regarding the green features of the property and encourages residents to engage in green practices such as conserving energy and using green housekeeping products. Sustainable building features include laminate containing banana fiber, low- or no-VOC paints, a white roof, spray-applied cellulose insulation, recycled content gypsum board, bicycle storage room, energy efficient lighting, Energy Star appliances, ceiling fans, low mercury fluorescent lighting, and two 10,000-gallon concrete storage tanks contain and filter rain water gathered from the roof. Each unit has access to natural light with large, high-performance windows that simultaneously flood apartments with natural light while to allow for natural ventilation.
Metro Green Apartments was developed in a “smart growth” location, one block south of Stamford’s rail and bus transit center and in close proximity to its downtown business district. Metro Green’s proximity to the transit center and downtown Stamford enable residents to easily and affordably access employment, education, shopping, and cultural destinations. The project integrates environmentally responsible features designed to enhance the urban environment, contribute to better health for residents, promote energy efficiency, and save residents money.
Design and Construction Solutions A rain garden in the public plaza is sloped to drain storm water and includes plantings that can sustain larger surges of water. The deep site provided opportunity for a one-acre courtyard, with a labyrinth for contemplation, which will be shared by all residents. This landscaping will be irrigated partly by two underground 10,000-gallon concrete storage tanks that capture and filter rain from the project’s roof. The harvested rain is also used for laundry water to reduce the demand for municipal-supplied potable water during non-irrigation season. Panelized 2 foot by 6 foot wood framing was also used to reduce installation time and on-site construction waste. Excavated rock was crushed for use on-site and 98 percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfill.
Environmental Features The exterior of the building contains a number of high performance green features. The roof is clad in a highly reflective thermo-plastic membrane that reduces heat island effect. The membrane is also used to harvest rain water into the concrete storage tanks. The stored water is then in turn used to irrigate the landscaping and for laundry water in order to reduce the demand for municipal-supplied potable water. Along with the help of ultralow-flow plumbing fixtures within the building, the design team expects to achieve a more than 30-percent reduction in water usage on site.
Each apartment has individual heating and cooling units that are controlled individually by each residential unit. The high-efficiency, instantaneous, gas-fired domestic water heaters are located in each unit to produce domestic hot water on an as-needed basis. Each apartment unit is metered individually for electricity. Every unit is also equipped with Energy Star-rated appliances and light fixtures.