Multi-family housing are usually sources of high-density consumption of resources, but these properties are often overlooked when it comes to conservation efforts. This is largely due to concerns with how to implement conservation efforts while keeping the quality of the buildings high and the costs low. B-Austin is committed to doing just this. Their mission is to offer modern lifestyle with minimum ecological impact both during construction and ongoing operation of multifamily housing.
Project Description & History
B-Austin accomplishes their mission through water conservation, energy conservation, landfill diversion, and healthcare. Water conservation efforts include installing low flow toilets, faucets and showerheads and implementing gray water recycling for landscaping, rainwater harvest, and stormwater reirrigation fields. Energy conservation efforts include a building envelope that meets LEED Platinum standards for passive heating and cooling, solar PV energy, energy efficient lights and appliances, electric vehicle charging, and passive solar integrated into the position of the building and windows itself. B-Austin’s photovoltaic system is estimated to offset around 25% of their electric needs. Landfill diversion efforts include a recycling and composting program that 93% of tenants participate in. The community produces less than 3 cubic yards of landfill waste per week from an average 1300 unique visitors per month. Their recycling contamination is less than 1% and their composting contamination is less than .1%. Healthcare efforts includes a wellness plan that aims to reduce the strain on the healthcare system through prevention. In addition to all of this, B-Austin removes invasive species on their development and replaces it with native plants and trees. This made them a Certified Natural Wildlife Habitat.
B-Austin was able to reduce water consumption and waste, reduce energy consumption and waste, reduce general waste going to landfills, and provide wildlife and pollinator habitat. Not only this, but they were able to do it all affordably and without sacrificing quality. This is a rare thing when it comes to multifamily developments, which is why B-Austin’s efforts are so important. They can serve as a sustainable model to other communities and help spark change in this industry. In fact, the public has already taken an interest in the community. B-Austin has 15 commercial business and 37 full time residents on site. They see around 1300 unique visitors per month (3000 including repeats) and they give tours each week to people who are interested.