Presidential Park

Problem

Presidential Park is a nine building, 376-unit, low-rise condominium complex constructed in the 1960s. This site, along with the surrounding high-density residential development, is located in the heart of the Anacostia River Watershed in Prince Georges County. The neighborhood is a high-minority (80%), high-immigrant (43%), working class community.

This area was developed at a time when little was understood about the far reaching and long term environmental impacts of buildings and land development. As a result, poorly managed stormwater has severely eroded a stream that bisects the Presidential Park property causing flooding that threatens the buildings and the safety of the families that live there. The continued erosion also decreases the ecological benefit of the little remaining green space and contributes to poor downstream water quality.

Despite efforts of the property owners, the Presidential Park infrastructure is aged and inefficient in terms of energy and water usage. Windows, lighting, HVAC, water heaters, appliances and plumbing fixtures are all in need of replacement with higher efficiency systems.

Solution

In October 2008, Presidential Park was evaluated to identify conservation and enhancement retrofits that, when implemented, would produce measureable environmental and financial benefits. This holistic approach acknowledges that the primary goal is sustainability; sustainability for the people, the environment and the economy.

A major goal of the proposed site improvements is to implement cutting edge Low Impact Development (LID) strategies and design techniques to control stormwater runoff in a manner that mimics the predevelopment site hydrology. If done properly, these improvements will not only manage stormwater, but also improve the ecological health and aesthetic beauty of the community.

The goals of the proposed building retrofits are to conserve water and energy by replacing outdated fixtures and equipment with contemporary, efficient systems and appliances. This will not only reduce the demand for valuable natural resources and services, but will also reduce operating costs and improve homeowner comfort.

Action

Support this program. Support sustainability. Make Presidential Park a livable, green community.

Presidential Park can be the local demonstration project to exhibit what can be achieved on an older, heavily developed site in terms of conserving resources and managing stormwater.

In addition to identifying the best course of action and latest technologies, this program needs funding. The most significant barriers confronting the Presidential Park community is the upfront investment needed to implement the retrofits and the scarceness of information demonstrating the financial and environmental benefits (or return on investment) of similar retrofits.