Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Green Shopping: As the First LEED-Certified Shopping Center in the U.S., Abercorn Common Is a Model of Energy and Water Efficiency

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Green Shopping: As the First LEED-Certified Shopping Center in the U.S., Abercorn Common Is a Model of Energy and Water Efficiency

Article excerpt

Savannah, Georgia is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. As the site of Revolutionary and Civil War battles, the city is best known for its steadfast commitment to preserving its rich history. Additionally, its thriving arts and cultural scene is a big draw for local, domestic and international tourists.

While the city is certainly proud of its historic roots, it has also embraced the modern idea of green building. Case in point: Savannahs Abercorn Common, the first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified retail shopping center in the U.S.. Some of the centers tenants include McDonalds, Panera Bread, HomeGoods and Michaels. Notably, the McDonald's in Abercorn Common was the very first LEED-certified McDonald's in the country.

But how does a shopping center that boasts such a modern concept like LEED blend seamlessly in such a historic city? "They're both about preservation--preserving historic buildings and preserving our natural resources," said Louis Lipsitz, Director of Leasing for David Garfunkel & Co., LLC, owner and manager of the center.

GROWING GREEN

Abercorn Common has its own unique history. Originally built in the late 1960s, the center has grown from 38,000 square feet at its inception to 185,000 square feet today. Located at the epicenter of Savannah's south-side shopping district, it is in a prime location for both tenants and shoppers alike.

In 2004, the center's original developer, Savannah-based Melaver, Inc., decided to renovate Abercorn Common as part of a pilot project in the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Core and Shell program. After a two-year, $30 million renovation, Abercorn Common reopened in 2006 as the first LEED-certified retail shopping center in the U.S.

The centers impressive green features have made it a standout both locally and domestically. Throughout the renovation, the developer was committed to limiting waste. In fact, 85 percent of all construction debris--more than 6,000 tons of material--was recycled, reused and ultimately kept out of the landfill. Other building materials had high recycled material content and were manufactured within a 500 mile radius of the project site.

The center was designed to be 55 percent more water efficient than a conventional shopping center. The developer achieved this by using water-free urinals, low-flow toilets and low-flow faucets. These fixtures have reduced water use at the center by more than 40 percent.

The center's innovative irrigation system utilizes rainwater that has been harvested off the roofs of the buildings and stored in a large cistern behind the center. This system saves 5.5 million gallons of water annually.

Abercorn Common is also a model of energy efficiency. The center's tight building envelope, high efficient light fixtures and HVAC equipment and efficient glazing help cut energy consumption. Additionally, the highly-reflective white roof, a green roof on one building, additional insulation and reflective glass play a major role in reducing energy costs. …

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