With a name like Eco Lofts, developer Alex Perkins isn't downplaying the sustainable side of his latest infill venture, a 60-unit condo building in Atlanta's historic Chamblee neighborhood. Slated for completion in spring 2007, the concrete building qualifies as EarthCraft (a local green building program, similar to LEED for homes) and stands adjacent to a rapid transit line. Oh, and it's powered by 100 percent clean, renewable wind energy.
As for the power play, Perkins says his company, 3400 Partners, took its cues from corporations such as Kinkos, FedEx, and Whole Foods that have incorporated renewable energy into their operations and branding strategies. After estimating the condo building's total electrical consumption for one year, 3400 Partners purchased the equivalent sum of wind power credits through Sterling Planet, an Atlanta-based renewable energy credit trader.
“Condo owners will still receive their utility bills from Georgia Power, but for every kilowatt of electricity they consume, an equal amount will be pumped back into the national electric grid by a renewable power source,” Perkins explains. The majority of the nation's wind turbines are located in Minnesota, the Dakotas, Texas, and California.
Wind power will nudge condo owners' monthly electrical bills up by about 5 percent, but 3400 Partners is hoping buyers will view the incremental expense as an investment in a clean, domestic energy source. “We purchased the building's first year's worth of renewable energy credits. Thereafter, the HOA will take over and, hopefully, continue the momentum,” Perkins says. “In Georgia, people are not as eco-conscious as they are on the West Coast, but we think the general trend is pushing in our direction.”
So far so good. At press time (five months after pre-sales began) Eco Lofts was 50 percent sold. Buyers have proven to be a diverse lot, including young professional singles and couples, as well as empty-nesters leaving the suburbs for a more urban—and eco-friendly—lifestyle.