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Green & Main (6)


The average builder/developer wouldn’t have near the expenses of the Green & Main project.

“Any replication would be streamlined, carefully considering cost versus value,” advises Halfhill. “For example, don’t do a green roof if your building doesn’t support it. Our green roof cost $21,000, plus $60,000 to change the structure to support it.

I happen to like the green roof a lot. We’ll see how it performs. But if I were looking at it from a numbers standpoint, I wouldn’t have done that. If you’re going to do this kind of rehab, these are the things you have to consider.”

Things such as geothermal heating. Green & Main uses six different heat pumps. Using only two might not make the building as energy efficient, but that choice would save $40,000.

Money could be saved on landscaping and parking as well. Installing permeable asphalt or permeable concrete is less expensive than pavers, which were chosen to match the character of the neighborhood. That required more digging, creating a gravel base.

“Chaden’s project is unique,” says Wagler.

“He’s taking it a step further by documenting the process in a better practices manual, including lessons learned.

That will be a wonderful education tool. We’ll be able to see the effect a green roof has on storm water practices, for example, or quantify the benefit of porous paving on the parking lot.

Having a pattern book will enable a property owner to choose from a menu of options. Even if they implement only one or two or three of the options, it will truly increase the building’s sustainability by that much.”

Interlacing the Future

In January the project ran out of available cash. Halfhill laid off his administrative staff, leaving a skeleton crew of two.

The building stands empty, the interior walls framed with reclaimed lumber from the Des Moines Animal Rescue League. Windows are stripped of lead paint, rebuilt, reprimed, and reglazed.

(Read more Green & Main)

connecting to community

When complete, the Green & Main Pilot Project will be a mixed-use property. The downstairs will house a women’s wellness center, bringing people into the neighborhood and heart of Des Moines during the day for appointments. Community groups will be able to utilize Green & Main’s classroom space in the evenings.

An upstairs rental apartment will respond to housing needs in Sherman Hill’s high-density urban neighborhood — a mix of apartments, duplexes, single-family homes, and businesses.

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