Sustainable Development Part Five: Greenbridge

Very often here at BlueNC, we focus on the things that people are doing wrong. Which is cool, because being progressive means that we eschew complacency and believe in taking active measures to "fix" the things that need fixing. But we also need to recognize progress when it happens, as it demonstrates that our "hope for the future" is neither naive nor in vain.

In this installment, I decided to go ahead and talk about the first of the Greenbridge Development projects, a mixed-use (retail/office/residential) facility which will be the first of its type to receive LEED certification in the state of North Carolina. I was just going to do some background research now and hold it until the opening (Jan 2010), but I've never been the patient type, if you know what I mean. I always buy eggnog on Christmas Eve-Eve-Eve for fear it will be sold out if I wait, but it's long gone by the time we're supposed to drink it.

When we talk about sustainable development, one of the core issues that worry those of us who care is urban sprawl. There are so many negative aspects of this trend it deserves an entire diary to itself, so we'll just look at a few of them for now: impervious surfaces and commute distances.

As far as impervious surfaces like roads, driveways, rooftops and poorly-graded landscapes in suburban communities, I've seen estimates ranging from 50% up to 65% of the total area being impervious. Meaning, rainwater can't infiltrate the soil, so it runs. Once it begins running, it scoops up all kinds of man-made toxins and fertilizers and heads off to foul streams and reserves. These impervious surfaces also greatly increase the likelihood of localized flooding, which costs billions each year in damage. It has become a huge problem here in North Carolina:

Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of water pollution in North Carolina. In most cases in North Carolina today, stormwater either does not receive any treatment before it enters our waterways or is inadequately treated.

Communities that use surface water for their drinking supply must pay much more to clean up polluted water than clean water.

Polluted water hurts the wildlife in creeks, streams, rivers and lakes. Dirt from erosion, also called sediment, covers up fish habitats and fertilizers can cause too much algae to grow, which also hurts wildlife by using up the oxygen they need to survive. Soaps hurt fish gills and fish skin, and other chemicals damage plants and animals when they enter the water.

To give you an idea of the difference a hard surface makes, consider the difference between one inch of rain falling onto a meadow and a parking lot. The parking lot sheds 16 times the amount of water that a meadow does!

What does this have to do with Greenbridge? There are currently over 90 residences included in the design for this project. That's the equivalent of an entire subdivision's-worth of families contained in a total footprint of 54,700 square feet. It's a small area, but a huge reduction in impervious surfaces per family. In addition to that aspect, Greenbridge itself is designed for maximum rainwater catchment, which will be saved and used to water the various gardens, trees, shrubs, etc. on the site:

(Artist's rendering courtesy of Greenbridge Partners)

As far as the distance of our daily commute to and from our place of employment, that has (on average) increased over the previous decades. But urban sprawl has done (much) more than increase the distance from home to work: it's contributed to a change in lifestyles that has us driving 15,000-20,000 miles per year, an amount that only traveling salesmen would have logged back in the good old days.

Why do we do this? I believe it's mostly due to planning, or more accurately, the lack of. For most of us, the things we need (or want) are simply too far away to walk or ride a bike to obtain. Even if we have the energy and stamina, we don't have the time. Or we believe we don't, which is actually worse, psychologically speaking. Places like Greenbridge provide and promote a lifestyle change that can add years to a person's life, while also helping to extend the life of our planet and all the creatures that inhabit it.

As a mixed-use facility, the first floor of Greenbridge will house retail establishments. Just a few blocks away are numerous restaurants and shops, as well as the greenway that connects Carrboro and the UNC campus. A few more blocks, and you're in downtown Chapel Hill or Carrboro, pretty much making whatever you want within walking distance. There are also two adjacent bus routes linking Greenbridge with an ever-expanding public transit network. The bottom line? You can have a car, along with a safe and secure place to park it downstairs. But you won't need it.

Some of the other sustainable aspects of this project are similar to those I've covered in previous diaries. Greenbridge will utilize a Solar thermal water heating system, installed by the same folks who did Proximity Hotel's system. At peak performance (sunny day), 90% of Greenbridge's hot-water will be heated by the Sun. Combine that with the day-lighting provided by open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling windows, and add in the efficiency of Bosch appliances, and residents end up using 50% less energy than they would in a normal house.

Here's a model kitchen, which you can check out at their design center at 400 West Rosemary Street:

In the construction phase, a minimum of 10% of the materials used are post-consumer recycled, at least 10% of the materials are locally procured, and a whopping 75% of construction waste is diverted for reuse elsewhere:

While these units are firmly on the "pricy" side, ranging from $384,000 to a few that are over a million, Greenbridge has always been envisioned as a "luxury" approach to green living, and much more affordable developments can use the same green approaches. By the way, if you are interested in becoming a Greenbridge resident, you better move quickly: half of these units are already sold, and I have a hunch they'll all be spoken for long before the January 2010 move-in date.

In closing, I want to commend the Greenbridge Partners for their vision and determination to change the way we do things. Even though green building makes so much sense and is more than economically sound, it's not an easy thing to accomplish. But the roadblocks you've struggled to move aside to make this dream happen will be that much lighter for those who follow in your footsteps, and that has a value that can't be gauged.

Comments

Sorry, but sustainability means more than building "green"

As much as I like Tim and company's vision, Greenbridge is not the poster-child for sustainability in Chapel Hill. First, the project has already dropped one of the "greenest" elements directly after its approval. Second, it set a precedent for tall and dense that allowed our local Council to justify a new zoning district that is already being used to create less sustainable developments - specifically the Town's own Lot #5 development that underwrites million dollar penthouses in a less than green structure on the taxpayers dime. Third, Greenbridge is both aesthetically and socially, poorly sited. The Northside neighborhood - the largest concentration of blue collar and diversely socio-economic citizenry - is being put under tremendous developmental pressure by this project. The chips will fall all along Rosemary St. as less than stellar "copycat" developments go in and the existing community will be gentrified out if existence. Sadly, as a reflection of our community's skewing priorities, I fully expect that when Greenbridge is done, the folks who bought the $350K to $1 million units, will get the police protection Northside has been begging for these many years. Why? Because today's Chapel Hill is all about commoditizing the community. Aesthetically, this building will literally cast its shadow deep into Northside. Sited on the tallest point between Carrboro and Chapel Hill, it will loom over Downtown (a suitable metaphor as it will preside over the conversion of a commercial district that currently houses minority businesses into a mecca of high dollar eateries, etc.).

All in all, with due deference to Tim and company, not as sustainable as you might expect from the glossy brochures. Sited appropriately, maybe a bit more affordable (Jim could live there, my friends and family - no chance), sized to its locale and integrating its surround - socially, economically, physically - would bear better testament to sustainability than the building you praised.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Agreed on most points

My enthusiasm for Greenbridge lies in other areas. For example, the architecture itself is fascinating. The only signature building in Chapel Hill outside of campus is BCBS, which is a testament to much that can go wrong in modern design. Also, this is mixed use, pure and simple. If it results in better police protection for Northside, all the better.

As I said, I share your mixed feelings, but have a good deal more enthusiasm.

_____________________________________

Jesus Swept, so you can come clean.

Location, location, location...

Jim, I agree that Greenbridge is an extraordinary project - even with the dropped geothermal component - and I said many times that this 10+ story behemoth relocated to University Square or Conner Dr./University Mall or even Eastgate/Ramsgate and I would've been an enthusiastic supporter. Shave the thing bu 5 stories, implement their original Northside out-reach plan - I'd help them dig the hole to build it off Rosemary. But as configured, I just can't see how it doesn't exacerbate several of the problems that have made Chapel Hill less sustainable.

Mike, Tim, Tom and them are local folks that I know want to do right by Chapel Hill. They aren't straight profiteers like RAM, etc. Fascinating architecture, a measurable commitment to "green", though should not be an excuse to ignore the off-site consequences of this particular project. Heck, it's already driven a wedge between Carrboro's and Chapel Hill's conception of our integrated commercial strip.

I guess I'm feeling kind of cantankerous because the Chambers greenwashing expedition to Ann Arbor. As you know, the CoC has created a "sustainability" foundation - touting the "triple bottom line" - which, by their actions and my estimation - is more like a triple heaping scoop full of BS. This expedition North - made up of roughly 1/3 developers (or related folks), 1/3 of University development staff and 1/3 of public officials that should know better - will probably return touting the next latest/greatest stylings on "sustainability".

I'll give UNC credit for their change in attitude towards sustainable practices - kudos for that. Some of the developers attending have already demonstrated their hands-on commitment to "green" - kudos for that. But the elected critters attending of generally shown that they are disinterested in the public policy ramifications of "green" at any cost. They've also shown great susceptibility to green-washing.

It's with this context that scharrison's eloquent paeon to Greenbridge on BlueNC made me wonder why we continue to miss the forest for just one tree.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Urban renewal is always a tradeoff, Will

The Northside neighborhood - the largest concentration of blue collar and diversely socio-economic citizenry - is being put under tremendous developmental pressure by this project. The chips will fall all along Rosemary St. as less than stellar "copycat" developments go in and the existing community will be gentrified out if existence.

I walked all the way around this site to try to get some idea of the changes that would happen, and I sure as heck didn't get the sense that a community was about to be disrupted. Rescued maybe, but not disrupted. But I don't live around there, so I really don't know.

First, the project has already dropped one of the "greenest" elements directly after its approval.

If you're referring to the decision to not install Solar photovoltaic, that's a decision that many green developers make with high-occupancy structures like this. Solar panels would (at best) have been able to supply about 10% of the energy needs for Greenbridge, and spending that money in other areas such as Solar water heating and efficient machinery/appliances ends up saving more energy than the PV would have generated.

sized to its locale and integrating its surround - socially, economically, physically - would bear better testament to sustainability than the building you praised.

I guess we're just going to have to disagree about this. You see a mega-structure changing a quaint neighborhood, and I see a reversal of White-Flight and hundreds of acres of undeveloped land a few miles away. Which of the following is less sustainable: urban gentrification or urban sprawl?

Gentrification

The argument of displacing lower income residents always comes up with gentrification projects.

No doubt, that gentrification which is sometimes confused with urban renewal can displace low income residents. Sometimes, profits win. Othertimes, there is simply no feasible way to develop an area without building higher priced units. Unless of course, it was done as a charity or government project.

Urban renewal if done properly, factors in providing housing for a diverse population. Diversity in the sense of income and race. This is usually not the case because developers are in it to make money not to simply act in a socially responsible way.

Balancing city codes, profit margins and socially and environmentally responsible methods is no easy task.

I would give Greenbridge high marks in this area, particularly considering the average cost of units in Chapel Hill. Certainly, criticisms could be made but overall, they've done well while pushing the limits in a new territory.

NCDem Amy on YouTube

Average Cost?

NCDem, not sure where you're getting your numbers, but at $300+K to $1M, these units cost more than houses located a few blocks away.

Greenbridge is an extraordinary development so, yes, it gets high marks for their commitment to do right by that part of Town. But Greenbridge was used as an excuse to create a new zoning district (TC-3) that has already yielded mediocre results. In other words, because there was an inadequate discussion of the off-site consequences of this development we've all but guaranteed that "balance" is one thing we won't have in Chapel Hill as developers rush to cash in.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Average price in Chapel Hill

The average price of a home nationwide is around 225k. Chapel Hill housing costs are higher than the national average. I don't have exact figures but 300k is not out of range for average cost in Chapel Hill.

I don't think that the Greenbridge developers ever claimed that one of their goals was to provide low income housing. It is a private development project.

If that were the case, they would have included rentals.

Point being, it is very challenging to provide low income housing for a profit. This is why, generally low income housing is heavily subsidized by the government or organizations like Habitat for Humanity. One of the best orgs out there, btw.

NCDem Amy on YouTube

Trade-offs not acceptable....

A few points.

The "green" element that was dropped immediately was the geothermal component. If you google "Greenbridge geothermal" you'll get hundreds of hits showing how this component was one of the leading selling points of the project. Literally days after approval - gone.

"White flight", you're kidding aren't you? Northside is already being gentrified. If you look at either the Town's or HUD's definition for the urban district you will see that Chapel Hill didn't need Greenbridge to displace blue-collar, working folks with rich folks from that area. Northside was already under assault - so to speak - from gentrification - Greenbridge just was another bucket of gasoline to that fire.

Oh, if you think an influx of folks that can afford $300K to $1M condos is great, wait until Lot $5 goes up - with its $485K to $1.2M penthouses or Hillsborough 425 - hundreds of $400+ K condos displacing one of the few remaining affordable housing locales near Downtown are finished.

As far as quaint neighborhood, Northside used to be a vibrant COMMUNITY, now it's a great place to make profits. If you've walked the small business district, you have got to recognize that the hair salons, local churches, small storefronts will be among the first casualties of this gentrification. Maybe these displaced workers can get jobs in the new restaurants and boutique stores Greenbridge's rich residents will demand ;-)

At 10+ stories, Greenbridge is more than twice the height of any surrounding structures. It was the poster child used to push through double density, a nearly %50 increase in height limits (TC-3) - in the Downtown. At 5 stories, I would've been happy to endorse. Using a SUP with performance guarantees over a new zoning district that is already being abused, I would've been happy to endorse. Siting the project at University Square (whose surround has already accommodated tall/dense) or University Mall/Conner Dr. commercial district, not one peep from me.

But to suggest that "green" at any cost doesn't really jibe with a philosophy of sustainability.

All these changes might be fine if there had been a proper discussion of the consequences. There wasn't.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

Consequences are sometimes hard to predict

but you're right discussion and sticking to the plan for geothermal would have made for better success.

I think the green economy and green development will have many fits and starts if we don't make some deliberate plans and follow them. I think a few test cities and towns should have early and substantial resources poured in to them and then after it becomes clear what works best, it could be replicated elsewhere.

We will certainly have to pour plenty of energy including fossil fuels into the start-up projects, so we better think them through carefully.

Progressive Democrats of North Carolina

Points taken, Will,

and some of them I even understand and agree with. But...

Northside was already under assault - so to speak - from gentrification - Greenbridge just was another bucket of gasoline to that fire.

I'm having a little trouble understanding this. If the gentry are already "assaulting" the neighborhood, wouldn't collecting 98 of them in one (relatively) small footprint be preferable to those 98 each purchasing their own plot of land in downtown?

Oh, if you think an influx of folks that can afford $300K to $1M condos is great, wait until Lot $5 goes up - with its $485K to $1.2M penthouses or Hillsborough 425 - hundreds of $400+ K condos displacing one of the few remaining affordable housing locales near Downtown are finished.

Again, I keep thinking about all those sprawling, upper-income neighborhoods that won't be "displacing" wildlife ecosystems and rainwater soil infiltration.

I'm going to revisit the problems of urban sprawl very soon, because we're doing everything from draining wetlands to clear-cutting millions of acres of forest, all in an effort to keep up with (and profit from) a fantastic increase in population. Habits need to change, and increasing the population density (and diversity) in already developed cities and towns is the epitome of sustainable growth, because it substantially limits mankind's impact on the environment.

Not one to one equivalence...

I understand your concern about sprawl - I've certainly seen the Atlanta-like sprawl development of the Triangle over these last 29 years but I don't believe you can say that one housing unit at Greenbridge will replace one Governor's Club residence elsewhere...

These units will appeal to folks, I think, that would not have lived in the types of neighborhoods you and I are concerned about. For instance, I think Greenbridge will be attractive to wealthy retirees and young professionals. Lot #5 will most likely become a haven for wealthy students and folks buying units to cater to that student population. As configured (and priced), I don't believe the citizen underwritten Lot $5 project will cater to either families or to the demographic that wants big front-yards.

BTW, Jim and I both live within Chapel Hill in older neighborhoods with fairly large lots. I'd submit that our total lifetime impact on the environment and our per capita demand for resources (including the build-out of our housing - something that's ignored typically in factoring the "true" cost of development) is less than that of Lot $5. Further, our community has limited resources - water for one - building a slew of highrises Downtown does nothing but exacerbate those problems.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

This is a good conversation,

and one that should take place by a lot more citizens. Keep that in mind when you see me trying to rebut some of your points. :)

I don't believe you can say that one housing unit at Greenbridge will replace one Governor's Club residence elsewhere...

Governor's Club is a division, not a subdivision (as I used as a reference above), with some 780 residences scattered among ten communities (subdivisions). That's an average of 78 residences per, meaning Greenbridge (with 98) has 25% more residences.

Now, I understand you are talking about the type of families who are interested in a Governor's Club-type home vs the ones who would be interested in a condo community, and that is a valid point. But it's also why Greenbridge is such an important experiment. These are people that can afford to live anywhere they want, and they are also people who entertain numerous aquaintances within their own economic tier. People who invest and wield power, and need to be proponents of sustainable development...

BTW, Jim and I both live within Chapel Hill in older neighborhoods with fairly large lots. I'd submit that our total lifetime impact on the environment and our per capita demand for resources (including the build-out of our housing - something that's ignored typically in factoring the "true" cost of development) is less than that of Lot $5.

I haven't been to your house, but I have been to James' several times, and its design leads me to believe it was constructed well and efficiently. But on average, new homes are horribly wasteful during the build-out and in the years that follow.

Average square footage of U.S. homes has more than doubled in the last half-century, and, even though there is a growing effort to curb construction waste via design, reuse and recycling, new home construction waste still accounts for about 30% of what's dumped into our landfills.

That's one of the many values of LEED certification, as it encompasses all stages of construction as well as post-construction operating efficiencies. Keeping in mind the open floor plans, a Greenbridge residence uses far fewer materials, wastes far fewer materials, and presents a much smaller resource demand after move-in than all but a handful of (Healthy Built) homes.

Further, our community has limited resources - water for one - building a slew of highrises Downtown does nothing but exacerbate those problems.

I dig this, but doesn't the Northside share the same (basic) water supply system as those other sites that you said Greenbridge should have been placed?

More people equals more water use, no doubt. But in this quarterly report by OWASA, the lack of new construction combined with reduced demand from conservation-minded citizens causing a drop in revenue seems to be causing more consternation than available water resources.

But that doesn't mean future demand won't be an issue. Far from it. The way we handle our water resources has to change. I believe grey water reuse needs to be mandated for all new residential construction. Using potable water to flush commodes was idiotic 30-40 years ago, and it has become catastrophic in this day and age. Unfortunately, we're not smart enough to see the true costs of not doing this, so we will continue to flush away our future.

No Way, especially for environmental

BTW, Jim and I both live within Chapel Hill in older neighborhoods with fairly large lots. I'd submit that our total lifetime impact on the environment and our per capita demand for resources (including the build-out of our housing - something that's ignored typically in factoring the "true" cost of development) is less than that of Lot $5. Further, our community has limited resources - water for one - building a slew of highrises Downtown does nothing but exacerbate those problems.

When you have dense residential, especially when it goes vertical, it will almost always have less impact than large lot single family residences. Thin about the impervious surfaces typical large-lot subdivisions require. You have much more pavement in the form of roads and driveways. You have other increased infrastructure costs too luch as water, sewer, power, and telephone lines. A new LEED certified building will also use much less electricity and water per unit than typical homes.

Furthermore, I don't think it is right to assume that a Governors Club buyer would not be interested in quality mixed-use urban living. People increasingly want to live in high-quality walkable urban areas. The market is shifting away from suburbia, where "quality of life" was supposedly defined by large lots. The "flight" of those with more means is back into cities.

Depends on how you calculate impact...

Hard to do an apple to apple comparison between a structure built 1952 on a mature lot that has been managed to reduce run-off, etc. and a building that is requiring truckloads of fill being removed, materials trucked in from all over, water for construction, other environmental disruptions, etc. - in other words - the bits we usually don't factor in but are part of the total environmental costs.

We complain that the cost of coal-fired energy, for instance, doesn't take into account environmental impacts of mining the coal, health effects during its lifetime (mercury, air pollution, etc.), eventual disposal but ignore those similar costs when it comes to projects we might like.

But more to my point, just because you're building a super-platinum LEED qualified structure - even without some of the environmental bells-and-whistles used to sell the unit - that doesn't necessarily equate to sustainability.

I might be a bit close to the discussion in Chapel Hill, but a lot of the focus goes towards the buildings and not to the wider impacts. Don't get me wrong - I applaud Michael and company's work to adhere to quantifiable environmental standards (and lobbied our own Town Council to adopt independent and verifiable standards for their own pet boondoggle) - but sustainability is more than a building.

I don't know if you live in Chapel Hill, but the mendacity behind Greenbridge's approval involved some of our Council ram-rodding a zoning change (TC-3) through that will negatively impact the sustainability - environmental and otherwise - of our Downtown. Greenbridge's zoning variances could've been justified in a SUP and sold because of the extraordinary effort by those developers to address environmental concerns. Instead, our Council approved a zoning district that was immediately used to approve their own Lot $5 boondoggle, which by any reasonable analysis, doesn't improve the longterm sustainability of our community. Worse, they've opened the door - especially with their poor example - to further development that detracts from our community's longterm sustainability.

Look, Chapel Hill is being commoditized and sold off by our elected folks under the guise of addressing the issues you bring up. Under the "green" banner, they are selling a package at odds with the reality we face - that our community has a particular carrying capacity - and their policies will strain that capacity to the point we will have to rely on outside resources to maintain their vision.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

You're right, it's not a good comparison

Hard to do an apple to apple comparison between a structure built 1952 on a mature lot that has been managed to reduce run-off, etc. and a building that is requiring truckloads of fill being removed, materials trucked in from all over, water for construction, other environmental disruptions, etc. - in other words - the bits we usually don't factor in but are part of the total environmental costs.

In 1952, the average house was about 1,000 square feet, and now it's around 2,400. Plus, the lot sizes were larger back then, meaning the total impervious surface area of a suburb was smaller.

But it's a bad comparison for another obvious reason: unless you're picturing two (or more) families occupying that 1952 house, a growing population demands new construction, period. Even if Greenbridge wasn't following LEED's guidelines for environmental impact and construction efficiencies, it would still have much less total environmental costs than 98 individual houses being developed. With those guidelines in place, the difference is profound.

sustainability is more than a building.

You're right, it is. It's also where that building is sited. I'm looking at the LEED checklist right now under the "Sustainable Sites" section, where Greenbridge scores very high: 11 out of a possible 14 points. That section includes things like development density/community connectivity and public transportation access for a reason: they're integral to sustainable growth.

Look Will, I understand your complaints, and I even agree with some of them. These zoning changes are going to radically alter downtown Chapel Hill, and what it once was will be lost forever. That's a hard thing to swallow, and if I lived in or around the Northside, I might be just as concerned as you are.

But there are some realities that cannot be ignored, environmentally speaking. By the end of this decade, our state's population will approach the 10 million mark. That's about double what it was in 1970. We have given real estate developers a free hand in dealing with this population growth, and they have (more often than not) pursued unsustainable building practices that have ignored both environmental concerns as well as infrastructure needs.

Considering that North Carolina's land conservancy efforts have been woefully inadequate,

The analysis of land stewardship showed that a relatively small proportion of the state is under any sort of protection for biodiversity. In fact, approximately 10 % (1,297,516 hectares) of the state was under management, with the majority of that (7.6 % or 969,940 hectares) being federally managed. State management represented 2.2 % of the state (277,064 hectares). A total of 37,413 hectares (0.3 %) of Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) lands had been mapped through a variety of mapping projects and were included in this dataset, but we know that this is an underestimate for the state, and that those lands will become increasingly important for natural resource management over time. The pattern of land ownership is highly skewed across the state, with the vast majority of public lands being in the outer Coastal Plain and mid to high elevation mountains.

Lands with high protection for biodiversity (GAP Status 1 or 2) only comprised slightly over 4 % (213,841 ha) of North Carolina’s land. Federal management, primarily by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accounted for the majority of the status 1 and 2 lands. Status 3 lands were managed predominantly by the U.S. Forest Service (459,081 ha) and the Department of Defense or Department of Energy (153,363 ha).

high-density residential projects are the best (only?) way to stem the environmental nightmare this population growth is causing.

NC Needs More Smart, Green Development

I am pleased to see yet another example of green development in North Carolina's Piedmont. If we are to move forward in the 21st Century with a healthy economy, a well-paid workforce, clean air and water and a sustainable energy and water supply, we will need a lot more of it. I am proud that my hometown of Greensboro boasts the only LEED Platinum hotel in the Southeast (the Proximity Hotel) and the only LEED Certified restaurant in North Carolina (the Print Works Bistro). In addition, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro is working towards becoming the first public university to be LEED certified. If I am elected to Congress, I will work for a federal policy that rewards businesses for creating green-collar jobs here in America and ensures safe and environmentally-sound housing for all.

The fact that there is such a large market for greener residences and office spaces naturally pushes their prices upward. To address the impact this has on low-income communities, I will work to fill the coffers of the newly-established National Housing Trust Fund and make sure that some of those monies are going towards helping low-income families afford green housing. The greenest way to approach low-income housing is for affordable homes to be located conveniently to jobs, educational facilities and support services to reduce the amount of travel necessary, which not only saves families money, but also reduces energy use and, consequently, emissions. We also need more community planning processes that bring a diversity of voices to the table, so that new development is both socially and ecologically sustainable.

Teresa Sue Bratton, M.D.
Candidate for US House of Representatives, Sixth District
teresasuebrattonforcongress@gmail.com
TeresaSueBratton.com

Thanks, Dr. Bratton

Another area that your opponent Howard Coble has not delivered on.

He thinks that by "not voting" on renewable energy legislation he can claim that he "didn't oppose it", but don't let him get away with that mess. He's helped to keep us addicted to fossil fuels for years, and he's chosen corporate profits over environmental stewardship whenever he could get away with it.

Green doesn't always require loads of green

Teresa, there's a bit of a myth that green always costs more than non-green. There are many green technologies that actually are much cheaper than traditional building practices. One way to foster "greener" low cost housing is to make sure our building codes keep up with the times. For instance, straw bale structures, an old technology that is incredibly green, are difficult to build and insure because of governmental inertia.

I appreciate your call for "green-collar" jobs. I've pressed UNC-CH to shift the focus of the new Carolina North campus to green technologies over biotech. I've also called on the university to use their new development as a living laboratory for the green technologies they should be pioneering there - I hope this will bear some fruit.

Last thing. Good to see you understand that building a "green" development - like Greenbridge - within a community is not enough, that the consequences of displacement must be addressed and that the policy should be holistic in nature. As much as I admire the principals involved in developing this project (Tim and company), I've been disappointed in all the cheer-leading that ignored the greater consequences to the community and the lack of concern by the proponents in the loss of one of the biggest selling points.

Sustainability means more than building green. It appears your call to fund the NHTF is a good start in that direction.

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class

CitizenWill
there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK,Jr. to SCLC Leadership Class