From the looks of it, you'd think the Eco Modern Flats was brand new construction, but it's actually a retrofit of an apartment complex from the late 60s. Located in Fayettville, Arkansas, the renovation of this existing 96-unit apartment complex is a successful experiment in sustainability and modernization. Designed by local firm Modus Studio, Eco (as it is affectionately called) is the first LEED for Homes Platinum multifamily project in the state and was achieved through low-tech, energy efficient and affordable design solutions.
The four existing apartment buildings were originally constructed between 1968 and 1972 and still had good bones of precast concrete and split face block, but were in need of upgrades in thermal comfort, air quality and aesthetic appeal. Located near the University of Arkansas campus, the complex is ideally situated for university students and convenient access to public transit. Modus Studio was in charge of the renovation and worked to bring the complex to a greater level of sustainability and style. Underutilized space around the complex was re-landscaped to create new spaces in which to socialize; new stairs were added for greater circulation; and new rooftop decks were created to gain new heights and views. Each apartment was redesigned with more modern finishes and energy efficient appliances, as well as a private balcony.
To achieve LEED Platinum for Homes certification, the renovation included a long list of eco-friendly and energy efficient strategies. In each apartment there are operable windows, no VOC finishes, non-toxic building materials and allergy-reducing strategies. Residents have access to a variety of shared outdoor spaces, bike parking, a community garden, trails and public transit and a recycling program. Rainwater is collected from the roofs; there is a green roof, a rain garden, native and drought tolerant landscaping, and water-efficient fixtures. To reduce energy use, the entire complex received an insulation upgrade, more efficient lighting, an energy-saving HVAC system, low-E windows, solar hot water heating and reflective roof coatings. The green renovation began back in 2010 and was just completed in 2011.
Images ©Timothy Hursley