Second in a series that looks at Minneapolis and our approach to sustainable design, climate change and energy efficiency
Anyone navigating around the Downtown and Uptown areas knows how much new construction of multi-family complexes is going on.
Density… biking… healthy living… sustainability. These are the watchwords of the growing population of the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) market.
As Jerry Yudelson wrote in the 2008 book, The Green Building Revolution, “America has experienced the emergence of a new demographic segment made up of people working in knowledge-intensive businesses. The rise of this ‘creative class’ has the potential to change American demographic patterns as dramatically as the rise of Levittown and the suburban lifestyle did after World War II. An increasing trend for creatives and baby boomers is to relocate into one of the top 30 metropolitan areas. They want connectedness. They want the amenities of urban living. And they don’t want to commute for hours each day for the privilege of mowing a patch of grass on Saturdays. This trend is already evidence in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, New York, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.”
Minneapolis city planners, policy-makers and developers understand this trend. Minneapolis is literally building toward being a prime destination for the LOHAS market — roughly defined as the 1 in 4 adults who believe in progressive social, economic and environmental change. But a big piece of that is…
Where will they live?
Many professional architects and builders in Minneapolis follow standards of LEED and Minnesota GreenStar (now part of Michigan-based GreenHome Institute). They are helping the LOHAS market find and recreate more energy-efficient homes and buildings. But inventory-wise, the number of LEED homes in Minneapolis isn’t plentiful right now.
Over the years, fewer than 20 Minneapolis homes and multifamily new constructions have sought LEED certification. In contrast, 170 homes in Portland, Oregon, have pursued LEED standards. In addition to many multifamily units built to LEED standards, Portland recently opened an affordable housing complex for some of the region’s poorest households, which will save on energy bills and have healthier air quality because of it. Through passive housing standards, the building has a goal of using just over 120 kilowatt-hours per unit per month, compared to about 400 kilowatt-hours a month for the typical Oregonian.
(MPLS Green will draw a lot of comparisons to Portland because of similar population numbers and progressive values.)
One reason Minneapolis is not on par with Portland in LEED housing is that many of our residents simply aren’t aware of the benefits.
In this MPLS Green series, we look at:
- What the LEED standards mean for enhancing energy savings and health quality over time — and potential resale value;
- The ways commercial buildings are pursuing LEED standards — largely for the cost savings that ultimately come from it;
- How older homes can be retrofitted for greater energy efficiency, with increasing access to resources and materials;
- The architects and developers who are helping to make that happen.
In this article, we specifically look at a few houses in Minneapolis created by LEED pioneers.
- 719 East 16th Street (Alliance Apartments) — Platinum, March 2011, 91.5 points, 124 units for formerly homeless adults with sober supportive programs
400 31st Ave N-Hawthorne EcoVillage — Platinum, March 2011, 98 points, offering affordable living in the Hawthorne neighborhood, now including a July 2014 Platinum-certified house at 424 31st Avenue N. Learn more about the neighborhood revitalization project here.
- 1800 Washington — Gold, January 2014, 76.5 points, a multifamily complex in the 7 Corners area
- 222 Hennepin — Silver, January 2014, 63 points, a multifamily complex near North Loop
- The Nic on Fifth (465 Nicollet Mall), a luxury rental complex, reached silver-level certification (58/110) in January 2015 for its new construction standards, with particular attention to its sustainability as a site, innovation in design, and attention to indoor air quality.
- Park Summit apartments (3601 Park Center Boulevard) was certified in May 2014 (46/110).
- Blue apartments (2900 Aldrich Ave South) was certified in March 2010 (30/69).
The following Minneapolis homes have completed the LEED certification process. (Six more are in process.) Levels are based on points tallied during the reconstruction or build process related to sustainability of site, materials used, indoor air quality, improvement of energy and atmosphere, and innovative design.
- 2584 Upton Avenue South — Platinum, December 2009, 93 points. The house sold for $599K in May 2007. The 3K square foot home near Kenilworth overlooking Lake of the Isles is now valued at $1.2 million.
- 2212 Irving Avenue North — Gold, March 2015, 79.5 points (neighborhood revitalization in Jordan neighborhood)
- 2210 Irving Avenue North — Gold, November 2013, 76 points
- 2206 Irving Avenue North — Gold, November 2013, 77.5
- 3841 Upton Avenue South — Silver, August 2011, 67 points, sold for $353K in 2009, now estimated at $1.2 million
- 4540 Abbott Avenue South — Silver, October 2012, 64 points, sold for $240K in 2004, now estimated at $676K
In This Series
- The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan
- Do you know what your home energy costs are?
- The LEED commercial buildings in Minneapolis
- How Edison High School (NE MPLS) is making change happen
- The costs of energy and air quality in our schools
- Portland, Oregon: Catching up to our older and wiser sibling
- Q&A: Ron Fergle, Solart – the future of green for Minneapolis homes
- How does Minneapolis become zero waste?
- What is a carbon price and why should I support it?
- The cost impact of LEED and Minnesota Green Star
- What you can do to shore up an older home
- Typical Minneapolis household expenses for gasoline, oil, electricity
- Why plants and trees matter
- Progressive multifamily and affordable housing
- Creative use of garbage
- Green Building Standards in Minneapolis
- Support Minneapolis’ Green Businesses
- Lake Street Energy Challenge
- Q&A: Green architect Alex Haecker
- Q&A: Sustainable landlord Timothy Springer
- Minneapolis sustainable design: where is it?
- The Cost of House Demolition in Minneapolis
Based on the full City of Minneapolis report on house demolition in Minneapolis, “Green Building and Deconstruction Report” (March 2015)