Sustainability in its purest form – concrete, brick, wood and stone. Basic, natural, local materials, used properly, to take advantage of their inherent structural qualities as well as their natural beauty. The simplicity, availability and durability of these materials, lend themselves naturally to the trend of sustainability in architecture and construction. Quality endures. It is what we in the construction industry strive to achieve.
Sustainable design and construction is not something new. It is a return to a time when there wasn’t a “global economy”. One could not purchase marble for their kitchen counters from a supplier in China, have it shipped from half way around the world, and have it installed; all for less than it could be purchased locally.
508 Rhett Street, also known as the Conrad building to Greenville SC natives, was originally constructed before 1888, and is a true example of sustainable design from a time when sustainable construction wasn’t just a good idea or an idealistic approach, but a necessity to survive. Simple, local, durable materials, intended to provide a shelter for generations. Sustainability at its best!
Building owner Chuck Watson took it to the next level by renovating instead of rebuilding. It requires 3 to 10 times the energy and resources to construct a comparable building that is remodeled and adapted for a new purpose. By stripping the building down to its original bones, and implementing a new energy efficient design, with the bare minimum required to meet fire and egress requirements, Chuck revitalized a beautiful, functional and highly desirable building. It will perform for the next 50 years with minimal energy consumption, maintenance and repairs, a positive for our environment! It doesn’t get any more sustainable than that.