By Marcelle Sussman Fischler | April 8, 2016 | Home & Real Estate
Energy-efficient, eco-friendly building is Miami's new luxury standard.
Grove at Grand Bay in Coconut Grove is working with native, low-maintenance vegetation to reduce the environmental impact of new construction (pictured, a penthouse bedroom).
When completed later this year, Grove at Grand Bay’s twisting 20-story steel-and-glass towers will make more than a design statement. The Terra Group’s Coconut Grove condominium will be the first residential development in Miami-Dade County to receive the US Green Building Council’s Gold Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, meeting stringent eco-friendly standards.
“We create communities for people, with an emphasis on long-term sustainability,” says David Martin, cofounder of Terra Group, which is aiming to reduce the new construction’s environmental impact on the former Grand Bay Hotel site. With a canopy of existing giant fig and gumbo limbo trees, plus 460 new trees and 15,400 plantings on the three-acre site, Grove at Grand Bay “as a whole has a substantially smaller carbon footprint than a typical building of its size,” Martin adds. “This is especially important in South Florida, an area prone to sea-level rise.”
Architect David Harper’s 7,500-square-foot smart home in Pinecrest generates its own electricity via a “solar trellis,” helping it achieve LEED Gold status.
Twenty miles north in Sunny Isles is Jade Signature (jade signature.com), where deep terraces and three-foot concrete slabs create a canopy between units. Insulated double-paned glass provides additional sun protection, tempers noise, saves 30 percent on air-conditioning costs, and is “a major improvement” beyond code requirements, says Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International Group. “People feel like they are doing something for the environment. They are concerned about global warming.”
As social and environmental problems such as sea-level rise, overpopulation, and pollution continue to loom, the trend for eco-friendly building is being implemented all over South Florida, in many of the new buildings going up. For example, at SoLe Mia in North Miami, “environmental sustainability and conservancy remain a focal point,” says Michael Tillman, president of Florida Development at LeFrak, which is teaming up with Turnberry Associates on the 183-acre “natural oasis” zoned for 4,390 residences, plus more than 1 million square feet of retail and commercial space.
“We searched high and low to supplement the property with eco-friendly amenities,” Tillman says. SoLe Mia’s two swimmable 10-acre Crystal Lagoons will “operate on a closed circuit, preventing water loss, and do not use hundreds of additives and chemical products like standard pools.”
Under construction downtown, Centro, a 352-unit loft-style residential tower, goes green with proximity to m ass transit, a bicycle-lending program, and a designated Parkspot car-share program that provides front-door, reserved parking. In addition, eliminating the garage reduced the building’s carbon footprint, says Harvey Hernandez, chairman and managing director of Newgard Development Group. Inside, designer Yves Béhar’s forward-thinking concept is “ visually striking and sustainable through the use of recyclable and regionally sourced materials and energy-efficient lighting, among other eco-conscious elements.”
At the eco-luxe 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach, the house fleet is electric Teslas, the cooling system is energy-efficient, and taps have triple water filters. Living green walls accent the lobby and ballroom;distressed snowfencing stretches across the lobby ceiling. Furnished models among the 29 penthouses evoke a natural luxury, while the 426 guest rooms boast organic linens,Colorado beetle-kill pine headboards, and LED-lighting. “We aim to make sustainability approachable and scalable,” says Michael Laas, the hotel condo’s director of impact. “This property was built with resiliency in mind.”
Blvd 57 in MiMo will emphasize eco-friendly building materials.
At Blvd 57, a 105-unit “smart-growth” condominium in Mimo, the Unitas Development Group is “taking every possible measure during the process of choosing materials to be good to the ecology,” says Chief Operating Officer Hector Torres. The finished building will also include a holistic wellness center that will serve as the cornerstone for the project’s 45,000 square feet of retail. “It is about sustainable living and the health and wellness that needs to be created in the habitat.”
Green technologies are also finding their way into Miami retail. Drivers cutting through Brickell can’t miss the three-block-long, $30 million steel, fabric, and glass “climate ribbon” running through Brickell City Centre’s open-air shopping area. The sculptural trellis disseminates bay breezes, dispensing with the need for air-conditioning; it also captures and recycles three million gallons of water a year for irrigation at the 9.1-acre retail, entertainment, residential, and hotel complex.
Here in Miami, mansions too are going green. The stylish 7,500-square-foot contemporary smart home that David Harper, a principal with HKS Architects, and his wife, Jennifer, designed and built in Pinecrest two years ago is believed to be the only home of its size in South Florida to achieve LEED Gold certification. “It has a lot of cool features that attempt to expand the array of possibilities for luxury homes,” Harper says. Electricity is generated by a “solar trellis”—solar evacuation tubes heat water in a tower overlooking a 500-acre nature preserve—while architectural details minimize dust and promote clean air quality. Says Harper, who is building a 10,000-square-foot green-energy manse nearby, the sustainable features “are not a distraction but an enhancement.”