The Walters Group, a leading-edge developer, has adopted environmentally friendly building methods and technologies in the planning of all of its construction projects in southern Ocean County. The builder believes that a well-executed green development not only performs extremely well financially, but it is the right thing to do environmentally.
Stafford Business Park
Rising on the site of a former landfill, Stafford Park is a creative mixed-use redevelopment located within the New Jersey Pinelands Growth Area. The project embodies the ideals of green development and Smart Growth by creating a minimal impact on the plants, wildlife and people in the area. The large-scale project is situated on 370 acres, combining retail, residential, and office space.
The Walters Group plans to secure LEED certification for every component of Stafford Park. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit network of practitioners of environmentally friendly construction, created the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines. For more information on the LEED building rating system, visit www.usgbc.org.
Construction is currently underway on several retail and residential elements of Stafford Park. To date, the retail space that has been constructed includes Costco Wholesale, Target, Best Buy, PetSmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, The Vitamin Shoppe, AT&T and Ulta. Olive Garden is expected to open in the spring of 2011. The project serves as a model of eco-friendly construction with all of the high-performance commercial and residential buildings meeting the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED standards. By securing LEED certification, Stafford Park will become one of the few private projects in the country entirely LEED certified.
When the first round of retailers opened their doors in the summer of 2008, the buildings met the requirements for LEED Silver certification. The green retail stores currently use approximately 30% less energy than similar buildings constructed to code.
Solar and wind energy are also part of Walters’ overall renewable energy effort at Stafford Park. Solar panels have been installed on many of the rooftops to supply solar electricity to the common areas. In addition, Walters is planning to build and install a 6.5-megawatt solar farm at Stafford Park comprised of 1,026 solar arrays. The completed system will be a ballasted design, sitting atop approximately 30 acres. To date, it is one of the largest and most ambitious solar power projects proposed in the state.
Stafford Park Apartments
The first affordable multi-family housing project in New Jersey to achieve LEED Gold, Stafford Park Apartments offers 112 luxury units in five low-rise buildings, featuring a selection of energy efficient one-, two- and three-bedroom layouts. Additionally, Stafford Park is surrounded by 17,000 acres of permanently protected state forest that is documented as an existing and suitable wildlife habitat.
The residential project was constructed using green building methods and materials, meeting both LEED and Energy Star certification. Energy Star is a program of the Environmental Protection Agency which rates homes, appliances, and other products for energy performance. For more information on Energy Star, visit www.energystar.gov.
The Stafford Park Apartments won green credits for features such as:
- Spray foam insulation
- High-efficiency on-demand hot water heaters
- Mechanical ventilation
- Low VOC adhesives, sealants and paints
- MERV 11 – very high air filtration effectiveness
- Sealed combustion appliances
- Recycled content, environmentally preferable, and local materials
- Photovoltaic panels to supply common area electricity
- Drought tolerant plants
- High-efficiency irrigation
- 63% of the construction waste stream was diverted from landfills or incinerators
- Permanent walk-off mats at each entry to reduce indoor environmental contamination
Among the many rewards for reducing the apartment community’s carbon footprint is energy savings. Natural gas costs are reduced by about 35% and electric usage by nearly 40% compared to regular building designs. Residents have the benefit of living in an energy-efficient home while enjoying a healthier and more comfortable living environment.
Ocean Acres at Barnegat
Ocean Acres at Barnegat, a luxury single-family development, has evolved into an eco-friendly community featuring Energy Star-qualified products in every new home currently under construction. The Energy Star program has caught on with builders like Walters Homes who are addressing the problem of rising utility bills by building to Energy Star’s highest guidelines. The EPA states that Energy Star homes save money on utility bills, provide a more comfortable living environment with better indoor air quality, and help protect the environment.
Green amenities abound at Whispering Hills, an eco-friendly townhouse development located in Barnegat. The spacious townhouses range in size from 1,909 square feet to 2,191 square feet and are registered with a certification goal of LEED® Silver. In addition, the townhouses feature Energy Star-qualified products.
Situated on 85 acres, Whispering Hills encompasses a tree preservation area whereby approximately 30 percent of the development remains in its natural state. The 28-acre tree preservation area adds value to the community and contributes to the overall health of the ecosystem. The preservation of these mature trees aids in the absorption of carbon dioxide, prevents erosion, and enhances the beauty of the residential community. When completed, Whispering Hills will offer 258-units consisting of 107 townhouses, 99 single-family homes, and 52 rental apartments.