Kent Avenue Apartments

Location:

11 Kent Avenue, Pennsville, PA
 

Precaster:

Nitterhouse Concrete Products
 

Owner:

Kent Street Senior Citizens Housing LP, Titusville, NJ
 

Architect:

KC Architects Associates, Inc., Philadelphia, PA
 

Engineer:

Robert R. Rosen Associates, Conshohocken, PA
 

Contractor:

Tri-County Real Estate Maintenance Co., Carneys Point, NJ
 

Project Scope

Sq. Footage:

88,000
 

Levels/Floors:

5
 

Resources

 
 
 
 
 
 
Kent Avenue Apartments
Kent Avenue Apartments
Kent Avenue Apartments
Kent Avenue Apartments
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Every element in the construction of this 5-level, 101-unit, low-income, elderly affordable-housing complex was selected on the basis of sustainability. The challenge to the developer was how to build it 'green' and still keep it affordable. The builder chose building products that made efficient use of energy, water, and materials, and on reducing the overall impact of the natural environment. A total precast structure is most affordable when coordinating all of the building elements at the initial design stage to achieve maximum energy efficiencies. The use of precast concrete also contributes to sustainable practices by using materials efficiently, reducing construction waste, site disturbances, noise, and reduced project costs; and produces a building that is energy and resource efficient. Highly durable, long-lasting precast concrete building systems return greater savings than other construction materials due to reduced floor-to-floor heights, reduced site time, rapid installation and a longer life spans.

The panels erected on the front of the structure were a combination of brick-face and sandblast and produced an aesthetically pleasing upscale-looking facade. The exterior wall panels produced for the east elevation were cast with a tan architectural mix, and the panels for the west exterior elevation facing a wooded area were produced with a gray mix. The standard gray form finished panels were originally to be painted; however, the natural finish of the panels was so good that the owners decided not to paint them, saving them $30,000, eliminating the need for future maintenance, and earning LEED points. Erection of the precast took 37 days from start to finish. The first tenant moved into the building within 175 days following erection.

Even an unexpected fire that broke out during installation of the roofing didn't stop construction progress because precast concrete is inherently fire-resistant and was not damaged. Precast concrete also played an important role by supporting a 61,000-lb. rooftop solar system; another major factor that contributed to the overall energy efficiency. The combined energy efficiencies enabled the owner to eliminate 101 gas meters, and include heat, hot water, cable TV, and trash removal in the rental cost; thereby, making these units much more attractive and affordable than others. The average monthly heating cost to the owner will run approximately $40 per unit. Several other 'green' features were also achieved during construction: use of recycled aggregates, recycled construction debris, storm water absorption on site, use of low-VOC paints and sealants, high-performance Pella windows, use of recycled flooring materials, low-water-consumption toilets, instant hot-water heaters, Energy Star appliances, solid wood cabinets, and recycling areas in every unit and all common areas.

Traditionally, 'affordable' has meant constructing a standard-looking building using low-cost materials. This project disproves that assumption, and shows that building green doesn't cost anything extra in the long-term. Future savings and tax credits far exceed the small additional premium over using traditional materials, and the small initial investment can yield big payoffs in lower energy costs, minimal or no maintenance, a better environment for residents, and a longer building life cycle.

 
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