Co-op Plaza Redevelopment receives National Award for Smart Growth

The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the Co-op Plaza Redevelopment project, located in Brattleboro, VT, won the Main Street Revitalization category for their development of a new, energy efficient building for the Co-op with 24 apartments on the upper stories. Vermont Housing Conservation Board (VHCB) and Gossens Bachman Architects (GBA), of Montpelier, were part of the development team that included the Brattleboro Food Co-op, the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Housing Vermont.

The collaborative design process led by Gossens Bachman Architects, and committed owners & stakeholders, was a critical factor in making the project a model for responsible building practice and smart growth. The design incorporated as many green & regenerative strategies as the budget would allow. Notable energy efficiency was gained through active, passive, and innovative systems. Heat generated by the Co-op’s refrigerators is recycled to heat the store, apartments and provide hot water. The construction materials include locally harvested and milled flooring donated by the Vermont Land Trust and slate siding manufactured in Vermont. The apartments have continuous fresh air ventilation with heat recovery and the Co-op utilizes a solar photovoltaic system to generate electricity. Storm water runoff is treated and filtered by a green roof, permeable surfaces in the parking lot and a 20-foot buffer strip in the new public park created along the Whetstone Brook.

The project was selected from among 47 applicants from 25 states. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said “The 2012 winners of the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement are taking innovative steps to realize a vision of American communities that are clean, healthy, environmentally responsible, and economically resilient.” The EPA recognized the winning organizations at a ceremony in Washington, DC, on December 5.

— December 5th, 2012