Easton’s Neston Heights receives coveted green energy award

October 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Zach Lindsey | The Express-Times


Zach Lindsey | The Express-Times

The Express-Times

on October 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM, updated October 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM

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Neston Heights
This file photo shows Easton’s Neston Heights in November 2010.

Seniors in part of Easton’s Neston Heights neighborhood can expect energy savings big enough to earn a nod from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Pennrose, the project designers, received the council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification for the second of three phases of Neston Heights.

Delaware Terrace, a housing development whose name was associated with crime, once sat where Neston Heights is now. But in 2007, Easton’s Housing Authority and Pennrose began redeveloping the properties.

“We recognize the importance of green building and sustainability, not just for the long term maintenance and operation of our buildings, but really as a (way to be a) steward of the earth’s resources,” said Pennrose development officer Kyle Speece.

Residents who move into the second phase of Neston Heights can expect to pay two-thirds or less of what residents in similar homes pay for energy.

Delaware Terrace homes were deteriorating, often didn’t have air conditioning and were built using asbestos.

The green initiatives on new Neston Heights properties include toilets using 20 percent less water, recycled and locally-sourced carpets, paint with low quantities of harmful substances and chemical-free pest screens on vents.

“It’s a recognition of the team’s ability to blend new urbanism principles and design, high quality construction and green building sustainability elements into affordable housing,” Speece said.

New urbanism is a type of design that attempts to make traditional urban concepts desirable again — such as walk-ability, mixed uses and houses close to the street and with porches.

“That’s the interesting part of the concept for me,” Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. said. “It’s going to put owner-occupied properties right next door to renters, and give low- to moderate-income people some role models from the neighborhood.”

The first two phases of the project are complete, and the third phase is in progress. The first phase included rental units for families. The second phase was aimed at seniors. The third phase is the home ownership phase. Speece said 13 of the 42 homes in that phase are sold.

Neston Heights falls into a tax zone that allows residents to redevelop properties without a property tax hike from the increased value. Panto suspects the zone, called a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance zone, has boosted interest in the homes.

The LEED program is an international program designed to encourage developers to use energy-efficient designs.

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