Please upgrade your browser. This site requires a newer version to work correctly. Read more

LEED ND: Project v2009

Northwest Gardens

500 W. Sunrise Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
United States
Map

LEED Gold 2012

 

Goals and motivations

Strategies

Outcomes

Lessons learned

 

The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:

IDc1.2,SLLc5, NPDc1, NPDc4, NPDc11, NPDc14, GIBc1, GIBc3, GIBc4

 

 

Goals and motivations

What were the top overarching goals and objectives?

Jonathan Burgess

LEED Project Administrator, The Spinnaker Group

  1. Revitalize the community and create a sense of place where neighbors could feel safe walking the streets.
  2. Reduce the buildings' and infrastructure energy and water consumption to keep living costs affordable and efficient for its residents.
  3. Cultivate a neighborhood empowered with opportunity, where living and working in the community become tied together, growing food, sustainable construction, and learning about ways each person can improve their community and their planet.

Northwest Gardens Project Profile (Community Engagement with Scott Strawbridge) from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Listen to Director of Development Scott Strawbridge describe to positive impact the project had on the community.


"Most importantly, the sense of place and of ownership that did not exist is now coming about because of our LEED efforts, because of the farm, the new homes and the network of partnerships we have built. It sets the tone for members of the community to look at this as a fresh start and a bright future."

--Scott Strawbridge, Director of Development & Facilities, Housing Authority of the City of Ft. Lauderdale


 


 

Strategies

What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?

Scott Strawbridge

Director of Development, Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Associated credits IDc1.2, NPDc11, NPDc4, SLLc5, NPDc1, NPDc14

Step-Up Apprenticeship Program

Northwest Gardens prepares its youth for a brighter future through an extensive sustainability training and LEED apprenticeship program. The program provides apprentices the opportunity to emerge from poverty through training that provides instruction in construction and self-sufficiency. Additionally, the apprenticeship program offers instruction in emerging technologies that allow the apprentices to apply competitively for positions in the green building industry. A total of 500 out of the 4,000 hours of the Step-Up program are dedicated specifically to energy efficiency and green building. Several apprentices take their LEED Green Associate exams and a few are chosen to attend Greenbuild each year.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Alice Thomas, Co-Founder of Urban Youth Green Farmers & Google Young Minds Winner

The LEED-ND project has been used as a hands-on learning resource for the Step-Up Apprenticeship program. During the first year of the program, the apprentices participate in an educational component where they obtain certifications in core construction, weatherization, and green building. In the green building course, we use the LEED-ND project to teach the apprentices about the USGBC, GBCI, and the LEED Rating Systems. Since we also have LEED for Homes and LEED for New Construction projects, we are able to visit several different projects in our neighborhood and compare rating systems. The apprentices originally helped collect data and gathered the information necessary for the LEED-ND credit templates.

The new apprentices are given the opportunity to assess what has been done and build models to show what types of things we may want to consider for the future. Once the apprentices are knowledgeable about LEED, they take a leadership role and teach younger students about green building. The LEED-ND certification has impacted the program by allowing us to use a real-life model as a teaching resource and to empower our apprentices to be future sustainable development leaders.

Visitability and Universal Design

While many of LEED-ND credits are now standard best practice in South Florida, this credit is not typically considered in design and was pursued as a result of the ND process. The HACFL felt it was important to enable the widest spectrum of people, regardless of age or ability, to more easily participate in community life by increasing the proportion of areas usable by people of diverse abilities. As a result, all of the homes are installing easy-to-grip lever door handles, cabinet & drawer loop handles, and single-level faucet handles. Clear door opening widths have been incorporated for all doorways and interior floor surfaces were designed for easy passage for a wheelchair or walker with color contrast between floor surfaces and trim.

Mixed-Income Diverse Communities

NWG incorporated a diversity of housing types and affordable housing strategies to enable residents from a wide range of economic levels, household sizes, and age groups to live in the community. Through a combination of large, medium, and small housing options, NWG enabled families of many sizes to live in the community. In addition, one-hundred percent of the rental units were priced below 60% Average Median Income.

Housing and Jobs Proximity

To encourage a balanced community with a diversity of uses and employment opportunities, NWG ensured that its 394 homes were located within a ½ mile walk distance of an equal amount of full-time equivalent jobs.


Northwest Gardens Project Profile (Walkability with Jonathan Burgess) from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Listen to project team administrator Jonathan Burgess describe a lesson learned about incorporating walkability strategies earlier in the design.


Tree-Lined and Shaded Streets

NWG incorporated shade trees along all street frontages to encourage walking, bicycling, and transit use and discourage excessive motoring speeds. In addition, over 55% of the sidewalks are shaded to reduce urban heat island effects, improve air quality, increase evapotranspiration, and reduce cooling loads in buildings.

 


 

Outcomes

Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?

Jonathan Burgess

LEED Project Administrator, The Spinnaker Group

Associated credits IDc1.2

"I feel proud of building cabinets for Northwest Gardens because it betters the community and we are giving back to our own community. Building the cabinets for that neighborhood helped me too because it gave me skills and taught me about cabinetry."

-- LaTorrance Garrett- Step Up Apprentice


The fact that we have hundreds of residents and dozens of youth apprentices now telling their own stories about what Northwest Gardens means to them... I consider that to be the key success that makes this a sustainable neighborhood.

Urban agriculture: The project didn't have enough growing space to set aside in order to achieve the 'Local Food Production' LEED-ND credit. However, the Housing Authority felt that the intent of the credit was the right thing to do and created several community gardens as a part of the project.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

One of the youth inspired by the Housing Authority's community garden efforts, Alice Thomas, went on to create 'Urban Youth Green Farmers,' a youth oriented marketing and promotions company designed to market and sell naturally produced fruits and vegetables in underserved communities and to local restaurants and businesses. For her efforts, Alice was recently given the prestigious Google Young Minds award.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

 


 

Lessons Learned

Lindsay Lecour

Vice President, Carlisle Development Group - Affordable Housing Developer

Associated credits GIBc3

The Housing Authority's commitment to LEED certification was generated as a direct result of their partnership with Carlisle Development Group. Without the monumental efforts by both Carlisle and the HACFL to implement green building practices into their development program, we would not be here today.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

In addition, integrated planning and design from the beginning of the project helped the project team incorporate many of the LEED-ND principles while staying on schedule and on budget. To do so, the owner and developer brought in key stakeholders from the community to help shape the project. Sheryl Dickey, a local community building consultant had recently built the LEED Silver Midtown Commerce Center, a retail/office building. She joined the team for the overall Northwest Gardens LEED-ND project. Her previous experience with a LEED-NC certified building enabled the project team to expedite several decisions related to green building design strategies and construction best practices. For instance, the overall project incorporated many of the same water-efficient fixtures originally specified at the Midtown Commerce Center, saving a substantial amount of water through efficient toilets and faucets.

In addition, the HACFL partnered with the City's Community Revitalization Area team to incorporate streetscape improvements and improve infrastructure in conjunction with the private residential development. LEED-ND related improvements included new wider sidewalks, solar powered LED streetlights, recycled concrete road-base and upgraded water and waste-water infrastructure.


Northwest Gardens Project Profile (Lowering Parking Density with Scott Strawbridge) from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Listen to Director of Development for the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale Scott Strawbridge describe how their experiences with green building lower parking density below the municipal code.


Integrated design helped shape each phase of the project to navigate through complex issues and bring awareness to existing residents about what was happening in their neighborhood.

 

Rebecca Walter

Director of Research, Education, and Grants, Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Documenting the project to meet certain walkability and interconnectivity LEED-ND credits required an extensive amount of GIS mapping and planning work outside a typical project scope. In other LEED rating systems, it is fairly easy to document credits simply using construction documents and contractor submittals. However for LEED-ND, dozens of unique planning exhibits needed to be created by the project's master planner, IBI Group, to document compliance with various credits, requiring extra professional service fees not normally included in a project's budget. Including the master planner early on in the LEED process was critical in helping with the LEED-ND documentation.


Northwest Gardens Project Profile (The LEED ND Master Plan and Walkability with Lindsay Lecour from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Listen to Lindsay Lecour describe how having the LEED-ND master plan early helped create a walkable and interconnected neighborhood.


 

Jonathan Burgess

LEED Project Administrator, The Spinnaker Group

Associated credits GIBc4, GIBc1

One of the biggest challenges was related to the large amount of standalone buildings from which to demonstrate the walkability requirements and connections out into the community. Measuring building height-to-street width ratio, frontages, sidewalk connections and so on, for over 400 building entrances in over 50 buildings on almost 33 acres are unique documentation requirements to LEED-ND and were new to a lot of the team. Compared to most LEED rating systems where most documentation is readily available and many credits can be demonstrated through simply highlighting permit drawings or product cut sheets, we estimated that 60-80 unique vicinity and site maps could be potentially needed to demonstrate compliance with the various credits. We recognized that this needed critical attention early on to make the documentation process as efficient as possible.

However, thanks to the master planning experience of the IBI Group and the intimate knowledge of the site by the development team, we were able to easily project which credits and requirements could be met early on in the LEED-ND process. To start off, we held a day-long LEED charrette that reviewed each LEED-ND strategy in detail, and this discovery exercise allowed the team to focus only on those strategies that were applicable with the current plan or feasible with tweaks to the site design. We found that this cut back the amount of documentation in nearly half and with some additional synergies found between credits and the overall reporting in the Project Information Forms, the documentation, while still intensive, became somewhat streamlined.


Northwest Gardens Project Profile (Owner Letters with Jonathan Burgess) from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Listen to Jonathan Burgess describe a strategy for securing owner commitment to various greenbuilding strategies that helped streamline LEED documentation.


My recommendation is to make sure that there is a detailed and comprehensive knowledge of the LEED-ND credits and requirements ahead of time. Get the whole design and planning team in a room and determine what strategies you need to document first before you get started on any of the actual paperwork. An additional challenge we worked through was due to the fact that the project was being phased into many pieces, with the early phase under construction, the second phase deep into design development and the later phases still in schematic design.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Therefore while some of the Green Infrastructure & Buildings credits could be documented easily with the current set of plans for the first phase, it was difficult to demonstrate compliance with the later phases simply because the design hadn't reached a point where the plans or calculations were complete.

To overcome this, the development team created a handful of owner commitment letters that showed compliance with the first phase of various credits with a commitment by the owner to replicate those strategies for the balance of the development project. For instance, to demonstrate compliance with GIBc4 for Water-Efficient Landscaping, plans and evapotranspiration calculations were submitted for Phase 1 with a commitment of the owner to follow similar water use reduction strategies for the remaining portions of the project in order to achieve a minimum of 50% total reduction in potable water used for irrigation.

 

What was the value of applying LEED to this project?

Scott Strawbridge

Director of Development, Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Associated credits NPDc4

Most importantly, the sense of place and of ownership that did not exist is now coming about because of our LEED-ND efforts, because of the farm, the new homes and the network of partnerships we have built. It sets the tone for members of the community to look at this as a fresh start and a bright future.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

With invaluable encouragement and assistance from our partners at Carlisle Development Group we successfully advocated for the opening of the "Little Green Library", a micro-branch of the Broward County Library System. We have hosted a number of special interest tours for groups like the Board of ICMA (International City/County Managers Assn.), PHADA (Public Housing Authorities Directors Assn.), FAU Planning Society, and numerous NGO and Social Service providers. FAU School of Architecture is using Northwest Gardens as a starting off point for the Senior Design Studio thesis course work.

In the past few months we have solidified partnerships to expand our urban agriculture activities and to help us build a vibrant, community owned and operated farmers market, a local museum has partnered to build and program ARTHouse - a neighborhood arts center, and our local Urban League is providing a direct link to their Center for Working Families to help our residents achieve greater economic success and security.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

The LEED-ND certification for this neighborhood plan and the fact that it was the first designation of its kind in our State meant that the Northwest Garden residents now had something that no one else had. In a community that has long been underserved, with little of anything to call their own, having something to call theirs, that no one else had, continues to go a long way in developing their sense of pride in the neighborhood.

Having begun the LEED for Homes certification process on the first set of buildings in this neighborhood, and knowing we had several more phases of development ahead in the same neighborhood, HACFL and Carlisle made the joint decision to attempt LEED-ND certification. Before LEED-ND, the partners made the decision to apply the tenets of sustainability to all their mutual efforts. LEED-ND emerged as a product of the Project Team's efforts to balance finite investment dollars against a long list of wants and needs. LEED Certification is especially important for affordable housing projects, because residents' incomes are low, usually between 30-60% of the Area Median Income. For this reason, any savings in utility costs afforded by LEED design and certification allows residents to put those dollars towards other necessities.


Northwest Gardens Project Profile (LEED ND and Financing the Project with Lindsay Lecour) from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

Listen to Lindsey Lecour describe one of the ways they were able to finance the Northwest Gardens project.

LEED-ND will not cause us to earn higher rents as the rents are capped; but when we learned that our work would be one of the first LEED-ND projects evaluated in the nation, we thought it was important to pursue the designation so others would have some examples to follow. There are unlimited ways to tap the LEED-ND as a marketing resource. Externally, it builds confidence in the product and the capacities of the various parties who have performed the work. Internally, it has built a new confidence and vitality into those who live, work, and play in our neighborhood.

 

Kyle Abney

LEED for Homes Green Rater, Abney & Abney Green Solutions

Associated credits GIBc1, GIBc3

The commitment to certify the buildings under LEED for Homes was already made before the project team decided to pursue LEED-ND. Having a third of the project certified under LEED for Homes helped dovetail the project team into the LEED-ND credits and stream line documentation. With the Homes certification in hand we had the documentation already whereas if we hadn't already had those Homes credits achieved we would have had to pursue them and the documentation separately.

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

Courtesy of The Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale

An example of how the Homes certification streamlined the LEED-ND documentation process was in the Green Infrastructure and Buildings credit category. I knew exactly what fixtures were used, the HERs rating, the landscaping credits etc. It was really just a matter of opening my file and giving Jonathan the information, avoiding having to document those credits from scratch. It may have been "backwards" to do the LEED for Homes certifications first but it really set the tone for the next two phases of the project in terms of material selection and fixtures.

 

So, what do you think? Help us improve our new LEED project library by completing this short survey.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Print
Project details
Use
Primary - Residential Secondary - Commerical/Retail
Setting
Urban
Certified
25 Jul 2012