Madison Street Development Receives Green Award

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Madison Street development off East Main Street has been awarded “Green Development of the Year” by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Planners’ Association.

The streets running through Chattanooga’s Jefferson Heights community bear the names of famous U. S. presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson. Today, the neighborhood is much more about precedents as visionary designers and builders apply green design and construction to the redevelopment of the historic community, officials said.

The most compelling example of this marriage of modern and traditional is happening along Madison Street, where three new structures are scheduled to become Chattanooga’s first LEED-certified homes upon completion. The homes, which are being built by Collier Construction, are the brainchildren of LEED-accredited designer/developer, Christian Rushing.

Mr. Rushing, who has been involved in Chattanooga’s urban renaissance for nearly a decade, said, “I wanted to go beyond environmental cosmetics and do something that would raise the green bar downtown. Madison Street provided the perfect testing ground.”

He said Madison Street will provide a green exclamation point to downtown Chattanooga’s resurgent Southside district.

The homes are located in the Main Street District "where collaboration between Chattanooga’s Lyndhurst Foundation and pioneering investors has transformed a section – virtually overnight – from a row of dilapidated buildings and abandoned sidewalks to a flourishing corridor of artists’ studios, galleries and restaurants, and a handful of small tech businesses. Public art installations have animated the sidewalks, and an energetic and creative population base has taken hold."

“The homes on Madison Street reinforce Jefferson Heights’ reputation as the quintessential live-work-play downtown neighborhood,” said Sarah Morgan, who manages Lyndhurst’s work in the Southside. “It has affordable housing, a two-acre public park, a burgeoning business district, and a brand new public elementary school two blocks away.”

Fueled by incentives from the foundation, Jefferson Heights housing has been on the rebound for several years. Until recently, though, most of the residential development was either renovation or traditional new construction.

Mr. Rushing said he had wanted for some time to build his own home using state of the art sustainable design and construction methods. The lot orientation enabled him to integrate passive solar heating and day-lighting, and the park frontage almost demanded a design that would set a standard for the rest of the neighborhood.

The result is three 1,534-square-foot homes presenting modern interpretation of the vernacular architecture of the Southside guided by principles of efficiency and sustainability.

In addition to the passive solar, the designs include:

Specification of locally manufactured and harvested materials;
Renewable and durable flooring materials (cork, concrete, bamboo);
Durable cladding (fiber-cement board, larch, aluminum shingles);
Metal roof made of materials that are both recycled and recyclable;
Aluminum shingles that are 100% recycled and recyclable;
Efficient, argon-filled Low EII insulated windows;
Material-efficient advanced framing techniques;
Native, non-invasive groundcovers; and
Pervious paving materials for the hardscapes.

The Madison Street homes all contain three bedrooms and two-and-half baths on two floors. The interior features include concrete countertops created by local artist Warren Cole, Energy Star appliances, 100% recycled glass tiles, efficient dual-flush toilets, low VOC paints and adhesives, and compact fluorescent lighting.

Equally significant is the reduction in construction waste, 75% of which is being diverted from the landfill through recycling. Much of that is being ground into mulch, which will be used on the Madison Street landscape, it was stated.

Mr. Rushing said he looks forward to the day when he will walk or bike to his office in downtown Chattanooga and walk out his front door to kick a soccer ball with his son.



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