A new apartment complex will be the greenest yet along Route 1.
Studio 3807 in Brentwood will have solar panels on the roof that will reduce consumption by almost 80 percent and charging stations for electric cars in the garage. It will be built to LEED Gold Standards, the second-highest rating for energy efficiency.
The complex, slated to open next spring, is being marketed as “sustainable, solar-powered, energy efficient living.”
While this project is a leap forward for environmental design in the area, the amenities are part of a broader trend in Route 1 communities.
Mount Rainier City Hall has solar panels on its roof. The Renaissance Square Artists Housing in Hyattsville has solar-heated water. And residents of Hyattsville have banded together to buy solar panels in bulk to install on their roofs.
Other buildings along Route 1 with solar power systems include University Park Elementary School, the University Park Church of the Brethren and Franklin’s Brewery, Restaurant and General Store. University Park Elementary School is the first public school in Prince George’s County to host a rooftop solar project. The University Park community even established a solar power generation plant for residents.
One proposed project would go even further.
Flywheel Development, which aims to be the “Tesla of home building,” has put in a proposal for the 4310 Gallatin Street redevelopment that would build 31 townhomes designed to such high efficiency standards that the solar panels could power both the house and an electric car.
The developers are currently building four townhomes in Mount Rainier as a test case, as explained in a recent story in the Washington Post:
The 1,800-square-foot homes would be built under stringent European energy guidelines seldom attempted in the United States that cut energy use to about one-fifth that of a standard house and would generate as much energy as they expended thanks to rooftop solar panels. They would pack twice the insulation of a standard code-built home and feature a combined green roof and solar panel system that had never been installed in an American dwelling. This development would not only launch Flywheel, they hoped, it would help turn sustainable building from a boutique industry into a mass movement.
More could be done. The Flywheel Development project in Hyattsville has not yet been approved. Townhome projects in the Arts District, along East West Highway and at Riverdale Park Station would be perfect for rooftop solar, and more homeowners and public buildings should join the trend.
But it’s already clear that Route 1 is ready for more solar power.