The Voyager at Space Center—a 313-unit luxury apartment community within walking distance of the Johnson Space Center in Houston—recently became the largest project certified by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center under the ANSI-certified National Green Building Standard. Built by Houston-based developer Martin Fein Interests, which also builds apartment buildings and commercial projects in Austin, Texas, and Denver, The Voyager at Space Center met benchmarks in energy, water, and resource efficiency; indoor air quality; lot and site development; and operation and maintenance education to qualify for the standard.
The Voyager is not the first multifamily certification to be awarded by the NAHB Research Center. Available since January of last year, the National Green Building Standard has been awarded to a 120-unit project in Missouri and to several garden apartment projects developed in Tennessee by the Nashville-based Jones Co. “There are a bunch of multifamily projects out there that have been certified, but this is the largest,” says NAHB director of environmental communications Calli Barker Schmidt. “There are also large projects in New Jersey and New England that are meandering towards certification, but obviously, it takes a bit longer to complete multifamily construction projects as compared to single-family.
The Voyager project earned certification points for reusing portions of an existing former government office building on-site, and for its density and proximity to employment and retail centers, a qualification that is likely to benefit future multifamily projects seeking certification, particularly those located in urban infill areas. “The standard can also be used for partial renovations, so even with ground-floor, mixed-use retail, you can still apply the certification to the residential portion,” Schmidt says.
In a statement announcing the certification, Bloomfield, Mich.-based developer and NAHB Chairman Bob Jones lauded the inclusion of multifamily under the National Green Building Standard. “Green is booming in the Lone Star State, and I am delighted to see green building become accessible not just to Texas homebuyers but also to renters.
According to the NAHB Research Center, there are currently an additional 22 multifamily projects in the pipeline that are seeking certification. “The standard wasn’t available until just last January, and these multifamily projects have huge lead times,” Schmidt says. “But now that it is here, people are really jumping on it. It’s really kind of cool.”