Sustainable and eco-friendly homes are increasing in popularity across the world, and Charleston is certainly no exception. We have seen many properties come onto the market in 2013 with green features, ranging from the great prevalence of tankless water heaters to installations of solar arrays and geothermal systems. While it may normally be difficult to decide which of these impressive homes may claim the coveted Charleston Eco-Home of the Year award, there is one that stands out.
Boasting one of the best locations in the world (some bias there), this South of Broad home was originally a degaussing station for the U.S. Navy before undergoing a dramatic transformation in 2010. Situated at 2 Concord Street, this luxury home is one of the most visible in the city as it extends into Charleston Harbor on the south end of Waterfront Park. The 4700 square foot, three story, three bedroom main house is certified LEED Gold, with a two bedroom guest house achieving a remarkable LEED Platinum.
Originally opened in 1961 to house the Navy’s equipment for checking the effectiveness of magnetic-neutralizing devices on minesweepers, the building had remained vacant since the Navy left Charleston in the mid-1990s. In 2006, the State Ports Authority auctioned off the property; the highest of ten bidders was the founder and former chief executive of Blackbaud Inc., Tony Bakker, at $5.25 million.
A new level of green
The new owners embarked upon a three-year major renovation with Charleston-based Meadors Construction to convert the staid Naval structure into a luxurious residential estate. The Bakkers went to great lengths to focus not only on opulence, but to make the home a dramatically eco-friendly one as well.
2 Concord boasts the largest solar array on any private home in Charleston, and the first project in the historic district to do so. The double sided solar panels are integrated into the pier railings to capture ambient and reflected light from the white tabby walkway as well as from the water below. The structure is exceptionally efficient, with R32 walls and Low E windows; even the exterior is painted with highly reflective, light colors to reduce heat absorption. Heating and cooling efficiency, along with overall indoor comfort, are delivered by the 24-well closed-loop geothermal system. Preserving the indoor air quality are the low-VOC paints and finishes and the insulation of closed cell spray foam.
Among the green features that contribute to its LEED certification:
- Structural Insulated Panel System construction
- Closed cell spray foam insulation and R32 rated walls
- Solar panels on guest house and the pier out into the harbor
- Heating and cooling provided by 24 geothermal wells
- Tankless water heaters
- Low E, impact resistant windows
- LED lighting
- Reclaimed, locally sourced materials and FSC certified woods
- Copper roof
- Low-VOC paints and finishes
- The 3-car garage includes an electric plug-in for a car
- Permeable landscape materials and rainwater harvesting system
The home originally listed in 2011 for $17.5 million, a figure that would have breached the record sale price in Charleston. Featured in a number of newspaper and magazine articles, including Architectural Digest, the owners are searching the world for the right buyer for this one-of-a-kind masterpiece in historic downtown Charleston. As of this writing the current list price is $11 million and holding.