New East Side Apartment Building Is Green From Top to Bottom
Published on: Wednesday, June 29th, 2016
To understand the new Sage on Prospect apartment building’s sustainability, climb to the roof.
It’s a so-called “blue roof,” where rainwater pools and then slowly drains, long after the storm passes, to reduce the impact on the sewage system.
Also, the roof holds enough solar panels to provide power for the 34-unit apartment building. Meanwhile, at Sage on Prospect’s other end, in the basement, there are two dozen geothermal wells pumping water from 325 feet below the Earth’s surface to both heat and cool the five-story building.
Sage on Prospect, 1825 N. Prospect Ave., is expected to obtain platinum certification — the highest level — from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, said Mike O’Connor, co-owner of Dominion Properties.
Dominion is creating Sage on Prospect by converting and expanding a former nursing home that was built in 1961. The apartment building is to open in August.
It will apparently become the second market-rate apartment property in Wisconsin to win LEED platinum status, O’Connor said. The first was Sage on Jackson,which Dominion built in 2014 at 1509 N. Jackson St.
Sage on Jackson has a geothermal system, solar panels, recycled building materials, energy-efficient windows, LED lighting and other sustainable features — all of which will be part of Sage on Prospect.
But Dominion’s newest development has features that O’Connor said make it even more environmentally friendly than the first Sage building.
The blue roof is part of that story.
Sage on Jackson has a green roof, with sedum plants to suck up rainwater.
But the blue roof is a newer technique. It includes an inverted design to collect rainwater in the roof’s middle, where it can be stored before being slowly released to help reduce the possibility of a combined sewage and rainwater overflow during heavy storms.
The blue roof requires less maintenance than a green roof, O’Connor said.
“You don’t have to weed this roof,” he said.
Also, the solar panels at Sage on Prospect will generate nearly 36 kilowatts of electricity, compared with around 20 kilowatts at Sage on Jackson.
Sage on Prospect, unlike Sage on Jackson, will include electricity costs in the rent, O’Connor said. The Prospect Ave. building will not have individual power meters for its units, he said.
At Sage on Jackson, the monthly standard meter fee charged by We Energies is much higher than the average electricity use charge for each apartment, O’Connor said.
So, Sage on Prospect will have just one meter for the entire building, which eliminates those standard meter fees for the renters, he said.
Both buildings have backup generators in case emergency power is needed, O’Connor said. It’s never been used at the Jackson St. building, he said.
With the geothermal system both heating and cooling the building, Sage on Prospect will use natural gas only for its hot water heater, O’Connor said.
That geothermal system, along with the solar panels and other sustainable features, required a bigger upfront investment by Dominion, he said.
But those elements help attract environmentally conscious tenants, he said. And the lower operating costs help pay back that investment, which O’Connor said increases the project’s tab by only around 3.5%.
O’Connor declined to say how much Dominion is investing in Sage on Prospect.
Dominion bought the former nursing home in 2014, and removed the top half-story. The firm then added two new floors on top of what was then a three-story building.
Sage on Prospect will include a small fitness and yoga studio, 16 underground parking spaces and another 30 parking spaces in its surface lot, O’Connor said.
Monthly rents will start at $1,395 for a one-bedroom unit. The rents range from $1.49 to $1.91 per square foot, he said, while some higher-end east side apartment buildings are over $2 a square foot — not including utilities.
Meanwhile, Dominion is planning a third Sage apartment building, said O’Connor, who declined to disclose the location.
“I think the next project is going to be called Sage on the Lake,” he said, giving a broad hint about its likely site. “It’s the best location yet.”