Environmentally friendly apartments earn highest LEED certification
By Jessa Parette Eldridge '11
Monday, September 26, 2011
The 40-year-old building complex was broken down and abandoned, but construction management major Jeremy Hudson ’02 saw an opportunity to create something sustainable. After partnering with investors and purchasing the property, Hudson began renovating the building to become more economically friendly.
In May 2011, the ECO Modern Flats opened in downtown Fayetteville, Ark., and became the first LEED Platinum-certified multifamily apartments in the state. Other platinum LEED certified buildings in Arkansas include the Clinton Presidential Center and the Heifer International Headquarters.
“I’ve always believed in good stewardship. It applies to both the environment and personal health,” said Hudson. “Ultimately this was a for-profit investment because we knew there was a market for these kinds of apartments in Fayetteville.”
The LEED certification came when Hudson and the investors expressed interest in reducing the energy uses of the building. Cost reduction elements include solar hot water heating, native plant landscaping, a rainwater harvesting system, closed-cell insulation and insulated windows. Air quality is improved through the instillation of non-porous surfaces and non-toxic paints and finishes.
Hudson had always been interested in building and architecture. Although he was offered a full scholarship to the University of Arkansas’ architectural program, Hudson chose to come to JBU and enroll in the construction management program. “The program was helpful and made sense because I wasn’t completely sure if I wanted to be just an architect,” said Hudson. “The degree combined architect, engineering and business, which was helpful in the long run. Although there was a bit of time where I didn’t know why I got the degree, in hindsight I can see that it all came to fruition.”
Other JBU grads that worked with Hudson on the ECO Modern Flats project include Jacob Tankersley ‘03 and Heidi Tankersley ‘04, who helped develop a cleaning program for ECO Modern Flats that excluded harsh chemicals.
“Some people may say that it costs more to live economically healthy, but we have done a lot to keep the cost at a minimum,” Hudson said."Being good stewards of the environment also means being good stewards of our health, and living in a healthier environment can reduce the cost of overall healthcare. While not every renter is aware of what kinds of chemicals are used in their building, those in real estate have an opportunity to protect and educate people.”
To discover more about ECO Modern Flats in Fayetteville, Ark., visit: http://ecomodernflats.com/
Jessa Parette Eldridge '11 is the staff editor for University Communications