This August, ground will break for what will be one of the most eco-friendly residential buildings in the country: Chapel Hill, North Carolina's Greenbridge Developments. When I was in Chapel Hill this spring, I caught up with the managing partner Tim Toben, and shot this video, which just went up on CNNMoney. (Full transcript after the break).
Greenbridge is a 99-unit building that is LEED-certified. Solar thermal heaters will heat its water, roof gardens will provide insulation to keep the whole building cool, runoff rainwater will be captured for irrigation, hybrid Zipcars will be available for residents in the garage (to offset the one-parking-spot-per-family rule). Designed by architect William McDonough, whose Cradle to Cradle philosophy eschews using materials that might end up in a landfill, the building uses locally-sourced and recyclable materials instead and is expected to consume half as much energy as a more conventional building.
Residential buildings consume one fifth of all the energy in this country. If more of them go green, we could reduce our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, lower our electricity bills, and help fight global warming.
MELTING ICE-CAPS AND RISING SEA WATER ARE QUICKLY BECOMING PART OF OUR LIVES.
AND BECAUSE THEY ARE - TIM TOBEN IS TRYING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
HE'S SHOWING THE TRILLION-DOLLAR REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY HOW TO GO GREEN.
THIS AUGUST, HIS COMPANY—GREENBRIDGE DEVELOPMENT—WILL BEGIN TO CONSTRUCT ONE THE MOST ECO-FRIENDLY BUILDINGS IN THE COUNTRY.
I CAUGHT UP WITH TOBEN AT HIS FARM AND SALES OFFICE IN CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS $50 MILLION PROJECT.
--TIM TOBEN, MANAGING PARTNER, GREENBRIDGE DEVELOPMENTS--
We're using much less energy altogether in this building - about 50-percent less energy than a conventional building of this size.
Instead of having lots of interior space and sort of a block building we have lots of exterior exposure to sunlight
THE SUN WILL ALSO HEAT THE BUILDING'S WATER.
AND HYBRID-POWERED ZIPCARS WILL FILL THE UNDERGROUND GARAGE
We've got green rooftops//those that aren't solar covered with solar panels will have the vegetative planted rooftops which will absorb rainwater.
-- VOICE-OVER --
IF TOBEN SOUNDS LIKE AN EXPERT ON THE GREEN ECONOMY IT'S BECAUSE HE'S LIVED THE LIFESTYLE FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS
AFTER SELLING HIS MARKETING DATABASE COMPANY IN 1999 - HE BOUGHT 500 ACRES OF LAND.
TODAY IT SERVES AS HIS HOME - AND AS A LIVING LABORATORY TO THE GROWING ECO-MOVEMENT.
The garden and farm are powered exclusively though a renewable energy system and so we've combined a wind turbine on our hilltop with a solar array and we also make bio bio-diesel out here.
-- VOICE-OVER --
LIKE TOBEN'S FARM – GREENBRIDGE’S PROJECT FOLLOWS THE CRADLE-TO-CRADLE CONCEPT.
THAT MEAN 85 PERCENT OF GREENBRIDGE'S MATERIALS WILL EITHER BE RECYCLABLE OR BIODEGRADABLE.
--ERICK SCHONFELD, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, BUSINESS 2.0 --
You have a cool bathroom in here right?
We've basically taken basically scrap slate pieces and created a flooring that is made out of that scrap slate and then the wall is recycled coke bottles
So how are all these . . . green building technologies disruptive to either the existing building industry or the energy industry?
They're significantly disruptive to the current carbon based economy//
we're using materials that are low carbon materials. They're either materials that were sourced from local suppliers or within a very short distance from Green Bridge.
How effective is that as a as a marketing tool
We haven't even broken ground for this project and about two-thirds of it is sold out.
-- VOICE-OVER --
WITH 99 UNITS THAT COST AN AVERAGE OF $650,000 EACH, WHO SAYS BEING GREEN DOESN'T PAY? FOR THE NEW DISRUPTORS, I'M ERICK SCHONFELD.