Verve Mountain View brings together modern living, ecofriendly construction, and a reduction in energy use for ownership and tenants. The project consists of several 4-story mixed use apartment buildings located in Mountain View, California. The project is specifically located on a large city block on El Camino Real between Escuela Avenue and Rengstorff Avenue. This project is a catalyst for the Grand Boulevard initiative. It brings spaces for residents to live, work, shop, and play along El Camino Real. Due to its proximity to bus lines and light rail, Verve Mountain View earned full credit in Alternative Transportation – Public Transit. The project also earned exemplary performance in Heat Island Effect Reduction for Non-Roof due to its architectural design.
United Dominion Realty (UDR) is committed to social and environmental sustainability throughout their portfolio. UDR’s goal is not just to seek financial performance, but also a Return on Values (ROV). UDR green apartment living initiatives focus on these key areas: water reduction through efficient landscaping, indoor air quality, and reducing paper. While reducing the environmental impact from their communities is important, UDR’s green initiatives will also enhance the residents’ quality of life and lower operating costs. The United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is seen as a premier industry benchmark that will help measure sustainable performance, and UDR benchmarks their green initiatives throughout their portfolio. UDR believes that their LEED certified buildings help meet their green initiatives and provide them with a higher ROV.
The site was chosen specifically to give residents greater access to restaurants, culture, and transportation along El Camino Real. The project is located near bus lines and a light rail station, providing tenants the ability and choice to take alternative means of transportation. Within a quarter-mile walking distance are restaurants, stores, and other services that reduce the need to use a vehicle or to park a vehicle in a densely developed environment. Access to services and jobs helps reduce vacancy rates, which in turn helps add value to the property.
The heat island effect is caused by the sun’s heat striking surfaces such as parking lots, steel, and glass structures which absorb and then give off heat. Verve Mountain View vehicle parking is located entirely underground, which helps to maximize space and minimize the urban heat island effect. Verve Mountain View roof consists of a white membrane, which keeps upper units cool by reflecting rather than absorbing solar heat gain. Cooler units also means air-condition units will operate less, saving tenants about 15% to 20% on cooling costs and saving ownership wear-and-tear on their equipment.
Turf or grass, which generally requires large amounts of watering, was not installed on the project. Artificial turf will be utilized instead. Drought-tolerant plants with drip line irrigation conserve water and
reduce watering costs. A weather-based irrigation controller prevents watering in the event of rain. High-efficiency fixtures, including low-flow showers, faucets, and toilets, were installed in every unit. The resulting savings in indoor water use are more than 20% compared to other similar projects. Less water use reduces long term operating costs for tenants and ownership and conserves a vital resource needed for agriculture and industry.
Verve Mountain View exceeds California standards for energy usage by more than 10%. This was achieved by installing high-efficiency HVAC units and water heaters. High-efficacy lighting is used throughout the building and in all units. Ductwork is well-sealed, only allowing leak of 6% or less. This means that most of the conditioned air in units will be delivered to the occupant and not interstitial spaces. Superior insulation allows for a more comfortable unit that requires less heating and cooling. All in all, these measures save tenants approximately 30% on energy costs annually.
Materials & Resources
75% of waste generated by construction was reused, recycled, or otherwise diverted from landfills. Environmentally preferable wood products were used throughout the project. The foundation’s aggregate and insulation in the building both contain recycled content helping reduce the need for virgin resources. During the design process, the project team strategically located recycling bins on every floor of every segment of the building, giving everyone easy access to recycling bins and improving tenant participation.
Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality is an important factor in green building and contributes to the health and wellbeing of tenants. Verve Mountain View is a smoke-free building, reducing exposure of occupants to second-hand smoke. The MERV 8 air filters are above industry standard and help trap and capture a greater number of airborne-pollutants. All units provide fresh air directly to units, and a low volume, continuously running exhaust fan helps ensure stagnant air or moisture are not trapped for extended periods of time. Bath fans have automatic humidistats which turn on when moisture levels increase within bathrooms. Paints, primers, sealants and glues, as well as carpeting and flooring used on the project contain low quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful when inhaled. Combined, these measures help ensure a better indoor air environment and may help minimize a condition known as sick building syndrome.
Anticipated LEED Scorecard:
LEED Silver 50/106
Sustainable Sites: 19/26
Water Efficiency: 4/10
Energy and Atmosphere: 10/35
Materials & Resources: 4/14
Indoor Environmental Quality: 8/15
Innovation in Design: 5/6