From Golden to Green

Golden Belt’s LEED Gold Certification

Recycling century-old buildings from dormancy to a vibrant, living arts center is the ultimate green mission and sustainable development was at the core of Scientific Properties’ approach toward turning the Golden Belt Hosiery Mill into a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified, mixed-use development.

GB is the largest, all-historic, Gold-certified campus in the Southeast and one of only a handful of LEED-certified options for large office/retail space in the Triangle.

Green development is in itself creative. From selecting a brownfield site to reusing 95% of the existing walls, ceilings and roof, recycling defines Golden Belt.

LEED Gold certification at Golden Belt also means:

  • Protecting air and water—Low-flow, dual-flush water fixtures and sustainably harvested materials like bamboo help conserve natural resources.
  • Healthy development—Residents enjoy easy access to public transportation, indoor bike racks, showers and a fitness center.
  • Conserving greenfields—The project reuses existing buildings with at least 10% of all new construction materials regionally/locally sourced and 75% of construction waste recycled.
  • Sustainable spaces—Abundant windows with insulated, solar-shaded glass provide copious amounts of natural light throughout the project and conserve energy. GB’s carbon footprint is further reduced through use of energy-efficient heating and air systems.

For more on Golden Belt’s LEED Gold certification, click here.

Sustainability and ‘green’ efforts (efforts towards environmentally-responsible practices) are increasingly common in the public consciousness and in business operations. In the realm of green building and sustainable construction practice, the U.S. Green Building Council provides the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification as a method for benchmarking sustainability.

LEED-certified buildings are built utilizing construction practices that emphasize recycling and reuse, as well as renewable and non-toxic materials, construction of LEED-certified buildings generates less waste and pollution. At Golden Belt, over 95% of a 100+-year-old manufacturing facility was re-used and recycled to become a thriving arts community.

Energy efficient windows and use of daylight for warmth and views, drought-tolerant landscaping, and easy access to carpooling and public transportation contribute to Golden Belt’s LEED certification and environmentally-responsible mission. These efforts must meet a level of rigorous application to earn points towards LEED-certification.

To achieve certification, applicants must meet benchmarks in multiple categories:

  • Sustainable sites – Design and construction, alternative commuting transportation, protection of open spaces, storm water management, light pollution reduction.
  • Water Efficiency – Water performance metering, water efficient landscaping, efficient plumbing and fixtures.
  • Energy and Atmosphere – On- or off-site renewable energy, refrigerant management, emissions reduction, energy efficiency.
  • Materials and Resources – Sustainable purchasing policy, solid waste management policy, recycled and regionally-sourced materials.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality – Outdoor air and exhaust systems, tobacco smoke control, occupant comfort (thermal and daylight/views), non-toxic materials.
  • Innovation in Operations – LEED accredited professional, sustainable building cost impacts, innovation in operations, green cleaning practices, green landscaping maintenance.

LEED certification saves money over time.

Turning existing buildings into green buildings is good business practice, reducing operating costs for owners and occupants.. A 2006 Green Council study found that getting LEED certification for existing buildings can save $.90/sq.ft. annually in energy (and other) costs.

LEED certification makes Golden Belt a good neighbor.

The commitment to LEED certification at Golden Belt was a commitment to the surrounding the community, in part by utilizing fewer energy resources and generating less landfill-bound waste. By utilizing existing roads, sidewalks, and utilities, as well as previously-developed land, development at Golden Belt versus a ‘greenfield’ location helps to conserve precious farmland and forest resources.

LEED, Golden Belt, and the future.

Using green building practices to transform Golden Belt from a closed manufacturing facility with an uncertain future to a vibrant, mixed-use arts campus has created a new life for the campus. Sustainable practice and environmentally-responsible design will help to ensure that the campus can enjoy another 100 years of productive use while conserving irreplaceable natural resources.