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Balfour Beatty insider describes natural fit for NGBS Green Certification & military communities.

Hayley King
December 26, 2014

Delivering Green for Those Defending the Red, White, and Blue

In light of the recent approval by Congress of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and specific recognition of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) in that legislation, it seemed like a good time to discuss how the NGBS can work well for military housing and the land on which it’s developed.

Recently, our Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC)* development team at Fort Eustis, Va., pursued and achieved NGBS Green Land Development Certification for the new Marseilles Village community. This community is located on a previously developed but unused site that held old housing stock and barracks on the base. Pursuit of certification for the land development itself was somewhat of an afterthought – the team initially looked to the NGBS only for certification of the homes. But once NGBS Green Verifier Steve Armstrong was retained and came to the site for his initial visit, he let the BBC team know about the land development option and showed them they were on-track to achieve 4-star NGBS Green Certification. At that point, it was a no-brainer to pursue certification for both the homes and the development. After all, it fit well with BBC’s corporate sustainability initiatives and helped create a better neighborhood for the soldiers living on the base and their families.

With the help of sister company Balfour Beatty Construction, BBC was able to reuse existing civil infrastructure materials and implement other specific green land management practices, including:

  • Lot is gray field infill
  • Bioswale natural water drainage included to retain storm water runoff and decrease flooding
  • All pedestrian walkways, bikeways, and street crossings designed to promote a walkable community
  • Top soil retained with additional organic materials used to enhance soil prior to planting new plants, trees, and grass
  • Increased density of 8 units per acre
  • Natural resource conservation program implemented
  • Existing trees and vegetative corridors maintained to provide continued habitat
  • Sediment catchment basins, silt fencing, and vegetative buffers utilized as sediment and erosion-control devices

The primary benefit to the residents of incorporating these NGBS Green land development practices is the enhanced neighborhood design. The team was able to keep a majority of the mature trees and vegetation because they used a gray field infill site and utilized the existing roadways and building locations. They also took advantage of existing community support services and created a pedestrian-supportive neighborhood. Finally, nearly three acres of open green space was designated for community use with interconnected walk paths and ample area for outdoor activities.

As with the other military housing communities where we’ve employed NGBS Green strategies, the BBC design and construction team found the NGBS process for Fort Eustiss to be very straightforward, easy to follow, and cost effective. It resulted in a great neighborhood for our military families. We did not consider any other programs as NGBS is the preferred certification within Balfour Beatty Communities. With the land development certification in hand, Balfour Beatty Communities is now continuing its pursuing of Gold-level NGBS Green Certifications for 75 single- and multifamily homes on the premises.

* Balfour Beatty Communities, LLC (BBC) is a leading diversified real estate services company delivering development, design, financing, construction, renovation, property and facilities management services to the multifamily, military, and student housing sectors throughout the United States.

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