Congress' act helps military housing be green.
Recent Congressional approval of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with specific recognition of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) in that legislation, now grants military housing providers the opportunity for greater operating efficiencies. The Act allows privatized companies to pursue NGBS Green Land Development and Single and Multi-family Building Certification, which was previously unobtainable. Achieving this certification allows developers to guarantee homes are built to a certain standard, while receiving verification by a third party certifier.
The team at Balfour Beatty Communities (BBC) at Fort Eustis, Va., pursued and achieved NGBS Green Land Development Certification for the newly constructed Marseilles Village community, almost by accident. The neighborhood, originally unused land that held old housing stock and barracks, is now considered the first military site to achieve this exclusive certification.
Originally, BBC directed its attention on NGBS certification solely for housing. It wasn't until NGBS Green Verifier Steve Armstrong made his initial visit to the site that the team learned of the Act and additional NGBS certification opportunities. They quickly found that they were on track to achieve both NGBS home and land certification and made the decision to pursue certification in order to create a more sustainable neighborhood for the military families living on base.
By developing an enhanced neighborhood design and incorporating NGBS landscaping best practices, BBC was able to cost effectively reach certification. Utilizing existing assets such as mature trees and vegetation and existing roadways and building locations added to the cost effectiveness of the project. The team also transformed nearly three acres of open green space for community use--incorporating walking and bike paths as well as outdoor activity areas.
With land development certification in hand, Balfour Beatty Communities is now continuing its pursuit of Gold-level NGBS Green certifications for Marseilles Village's 75 single- and multifamily homes.
Balfour Beatty's Steps to Certification
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:
* Utilizing existing infill project site in lieu of undeveloped greenfields
* Installing bioswale natural water drainage to retain storm water runoff and decrease flooding
* Designing pedestrian walkways, bikeways and street crossings to promote a walkable community
* Retaining top soil with additional organic materials to enhance soil prior to planting new landscaping
* Implementing a natural resource conservation program
* Maintaining existing trees and vegetative corridors to provide continued habitat
* Utilizing sediment catchment basins, silt fencing and vegetative buffers utilized as sediment and erosion-control devices
--Hayley King, Balfour Beatty Communities Sustainability Coordinator