The installation of 360 solar panels on the rooftop of the six-story parking garage within The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads is the latest element to satisfy the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards at the 365-unit luxury market-rate rental apartment home community now under construction near the White Marsh section of Baltimore County. The solar panels, which combine to form a steel canopy that covers the roof of the garage, are designed to harvest energy from the sun that is converted to electrical power for use by the residents of The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads. Any solar power not consumed by the project on a daily basis will be transferred to the regional electrical grid to support the requirements of area businesses and residential subdivisions. Eclipse Renewable Energy was selected to design and install the renewable energy project.
Somerset Construction Company, the developer and of The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads, viewed a similar installation at a hotel in the Annapolis area and immediately embraced the concept for the new apartment community. "These panels incorporated the latest technology to achieve the highest capture rate of solar energy, which matched our desire to remain ahead of the sustainable curve in the construction of our project," explained Neil Greenberg, Chief Operating Officer of Somerset Construction Company. "The panels are the perfect complement to our use of energy-efficient HVAC systems and windows, low-flow plumbing fixtures, electric car charging stations, and a number of other sustainable elements," he added.
According to Ira Kalbrosky of Eclipse Renewable Energy, the custom-built steel canopy does not add significant weight to the parking garage, because a roof covering was already engineered into its design. The use of a sheet metal gutter system serves to protect residents and automobiles from weather elements such as ice, snow, and rain, which contributes to the overall safety considerations of the project.
The installation of the 360 solar energy panels, based on calculations from Eclipse Renewable Energy, will eliminate more than 60,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air over the first year of usage. This is the equivalent of planting nearly five acres of trees or reducing the use of an automobile by more than 73,000 miles.
"One of our main goals in the design of The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads was to examine every aspect of its construction and determine innovative ways to incorporate sustainability across the board, as technology allows," explained Neil Greenberg. "Solar panels are predictable energy generators, operate cleanly and quietly with no moving parts or use of water and do not produce visual pollution, based on its positioning on the rooftop. We uncovered no negatives in its specification and encourage other developers to research its use," he added.
The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads is designed in a "Texas Doughnut" configuration which consists of apartment homes built around a parking garage that allows residents to park and live on the same level of the building.
Approximately 23 different apartment designs will be available in single, two-, and three-bedroom formats at varying price points, including homes with dens, lofts, and balconies. The approximate mix of configurations is 212 one-bedroom units, ranging from 510 to 920 square feet of space, 131 two-bedroom models, with sizes ranging from 1,080 to 1,277 square feet of space, and 22 three-bedroom apartments that measure 1,565 square feet.
The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads is being constructed to achieve LEED Silver certification by the United States Green Building Council. LEED elements integrated into the project include energy-efficient heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) and hot water systems, combined with low-flow plumbing fixtures and Energy Star appliances designed to significantly reduce monthly water, gas, and electric bills. In addition, air filtration systems and the use of low volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints and carpeting will create healthier indoor environments. Approximately 98% of all the lighting used in the project consists of Lighting Emitting Diodes (LED), including Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL), which has higher efficacy and extended life spans.
In addition, in an effort to encourage the use of electric-powered vehicles that will be mass-marketed to the United States population beginning this fall, the parking deck will be equipped with electric car-charging stations. The expected cost for an overnight charge — per vehicle — is approximately $1.50.
Positioned off the new MD Route 43 extension that connects Eastern Boulevard with Interstate 95, Baltimore Crossroads@95 has the capacity to support more than six million square feet of commercial office, flex, research and development, and warehouse space – including several hotels, retail villages, and luxury apartment homes – at final build out. More than 10,000 employees are expected to work in the project upon final completion. With the Arbors, more than 1.6 million square feet of buildings has been built at Baltimore Crossroads @95, with more than 1,400 people working in those buildings, plus more than 400 construction jobs.
For more information, visit www.arborsbaltimore.com.