Zero Place in New Paltz ‘finally here after delays’ – Daily Freeman
NEW PALTZ, NY – Tenants are moving into Zero Place, a new “net zero” mixed-use building at 87 N. Chestnut St. that is designed to maximize energy efficiency and generate all the energy needed on-site.
The four-story building, comprising 46 apartments and 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, is owned by David Shepler, Anthony Aebi, Keith P. Libolt and Keith H. Libolt II and was built by Net- Zero Development LLC. Five of the apartments are reserved for affordable housing.
“After seven years, we are finally here after delays, an onerous planning process and COVID-19,” Shepler said in a phone interview with the Freeman on Friday morning, just hours before a ceremony bringing together elected officials. and New York State officials. Energy Research & Development Authority to mark the opening.
The project has won state awards for carbon neutral multi-family buildings and LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council.
Shepler said all residential units except two of the affordable units have been rented. He said about 75-80% of tenants have already moved in
“All units at market price sold very quickly,” Shepler said. He added that he is still working with the Village of New Paltz to fill the two affordable units.
As for commercial space, Shepler said he rented space at Dry Fly Coffee, run by a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef who worked in the Jean-George restaurant system in New York.
“He wanted to open a cafe and he chose our building,” he said.
Shepler said he was in discussions with One Epic, a locally owned shared office company that already has a location in the village, and may be looking for a more upscale offering than the existing location.
He said that’s the great thing about a mixed-use building. A person living in the building could work in a shared office or grab a coffee or a pastry downstairs without ever leaving the building. And if the locals want to get to the village, it’s only a few minutes on foot or by bike.
He noted that the building had risen like a phoenix from the ashes of the STS auto repair shop at the site which burned down in 2015.
The building butts up to the sidewalk, which Shepler says makes the streetscape a more inviting place for pedestrians and encourages social gatherings. “We put the cars in their place, behind and not in front.”
Shepler said he chose New Paltz in part because of the village’s zoning code that allows such developments that combine a neighborhood with businesses.
“It encourages taller, denser, mixed-use, environmentally friendly buildings,” Shepler said. “It was a slam dunk, we could produce the most efficient building using off-the-shelf technology.”
He said efficiency starts with not using gas stoves, water heaters or furnaces for electricity, and instead parrying those needs with an array of solar panels that cover the roof and an awning.
For heating, cooling and water heating, the building relies on 15 geothermal wells drilled 400 feet deep, providing greater efficiency than traditional cooling and heating options. He noted that water heating alone can account for as much as 18-20% of a building’s energy consumption.
Shepler said having the right insulation is also key to creating an airtight envelope. The developers used insulated concrete forms for the walls, sprayed foam on the top floor ceiling and even insulated under the slab below the ground floor, he said.
“We then used high-performance, triple-glazed, inert gas-filled windows,” Shepler said.
Shepler, a tech entrepreneur who serves as COO of AI startup Elemental Cognition, said he did the project to set an example for others looking to create effective developments. But he admitted it can sometimes be difficult to get developers to invest more money up front, even if it pays dividends down the road.
He said NYSERDA will monitor the building as a benchmark project for low- to medium-density mixed-use projects. He noted that the state agency provided financial incentives for the construction of the building.
“We hope to set the standard for this density,” he said.
Shepler said the “built environment” needs to be transformed to give people more options beyond suburban cul-de-sacs full of single-family homes accessible only by car.
“We want to give people nicer and denser options,” Shepler said. “We cannot continue as before. It’s not efficient. »