Ben Carter Properties is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the entire The Streets of Buckhead mixed-use development, which features more than 500,000 square feet of retail, dining and residences.

The Streets of Buckhead would be one of the country’s most expansive and affluent developments to be awarded silver status in the LEED Green Building Rating System when it opens in 2009.

LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council would confirm that The Streets of Buckhead is being built based on standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

Ben Carter Properties’ decision to seek LEED certification is not the company’s first environmental commitment for The Streets of Buckhead.

As is the case with many urban properties, some of the parcels assembled for the project had soil and groundwater contamination. The company undertook an extensive environmental cleanup under Georgia’s Brownfields program, which is administered by the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources. Environmental sampling and cleanup were integrated into the excavation of building foundations and underground parking, and almost 300,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil have been removed so far.

Carter has retained LEED consultant and commissioning authority Commissioning and Green Building Solutions Inc. to oversee The Streets of Buckhead’s certification.

LEED promotes a whole building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has spread to more than 14,000 projects in all 50 states and 30 countries, covering 1.62 billion square feet of development.

The initiatives The Streets of Buckhead is pursuing to gain LEED certification include:

• Recycled groundwater will be collected for cooling towers to reduce the use of

drinking water.

• Plumbing fixtures will be selected to reduce water consumption.

• Interior finishes will be selected to ensure good indoor environmental quality.

• Means of supporting alternative transportation are being explored, including shuttles connecting patrons and employees to mass transit, parking dedicated to car and van pools and to fuel-efficient vehicles, and bicycle parking and storage.

• A reduction of more than 21 percent in energy use compared with conventional buildings is anticipated.

While initial construction costs for LEED-certified buildings are higher than conventional construction, those costs are mitigated over time through lower operational costs because of higher energy efficiencies.

— John Schaffner