Eleven on 7th is an environmentally sensitive, low-impact development with eleven lots for eleven single-family homes just off West 7th Street.
Committed to strong environmental standards, Tbektu Design and Development determined from the beginning that the "Eleven on 7th" project would not only follow green development protocol -- but also that it would even become a benchmark for Low-Impact Development, from the purchase of the infill property to the 100% recycled paper used for marketing.
Rather than "urban sprawl" development, which requires that utilities be brought to the new site and stripping land that was previously undeveloped, infill development takes advantage of existing utilities. Infill developers find "pockets" of land in existing neighborhoods that can be used to increase housing in already populated areas and actually improve those neighborhoods, preserving vegetated, undeveloped land.
Careful attention was given to what would be used in the actual development that was available right on the site rather than purchasing materials elsewhere, avoiding the fuel costs and environmental impact and carbon footprint of materials being shipped to the site. There was a wealth of loose stones on the 3 & 1/2 acre property that had been used for rock terraces in times past. These were salvaged and re-used to build the stone columns which are a part of the "living" perimeter wall. In addition, bricks which were salvaged from the Orbison home in Nashville, TN provided added interest & texture in the columns, and were only a 110 mile round trip delivery. The concrete portion of the wall is 10% fly-ash, a natural by-product of coal burning facilities and a great way to recycle that waste product. Even the mosaic signage at the entrance was done using discarded samples of pool tiles.
All viable trees were left intact, some of them cleaned of ivy and their branches trimmed back to encourage better future growth.
The services of an environmental engineer were enlisted to best determine how storm water run-off would be handled. In typical developments, unfortunately, the land is virtually stripped of grass, vegetation and trees, and replaced with sidewalks, roads, driveways and rooftops, all impervious surfaces. The natural process of rainwater slowly percolating thru grass, roots, soil and bedrock, filtering toxins before that water makes it to streams, creeks and rivers, is lost. That unfiltered water goes directly into storm drains where it is rushed directly into the river, bypassing streams and creeks, which causes them to dry up. All this has a negative impact on the ecosystem of the Duck River Watershed area.
Tbektu Design and Development wanted to make certain that this development contributed to the biodiversity and health of our Duck River rather than harm it. The environmental engineer developed a plan which incorporated bio-retention areas, bio-swales, notched weir plates and permeable pavers, all of which ensure that storm-water run-off will percolate naturally thru soils, gravel and even the pavers, filtering out automobile drippings, animal and bird waste, chemicals, pesticides, etc. All of the landscape plantings in these bio-retention areas are native, long-rooted plants that withstand both flooding and drought. This slow filtering process ensures a healthy future for our streams, creeks and Duck River.
In February, 2010, National Geographic featured an article "One Cubic Foot" which acknowledged five sites in the world which are biologically diverse: one of the sites was the Duck River in Columbia, TN. Tbektu Design and Development is proud to accept responsibility to do our part to protect that bio-diversity.
The irrigation system selected for the common areas and individual lots' landscaping is equipped with "smart controls", a highly advanced system that is linked to weather satellites. It is a slow drip system, and it waters only when water is needed, with each location, or bed, programmed according to the watering needs of plants in particular areas.This way, all plants get the water they need, but only the amount they need when they need it, and no water is wasted. Not only is this sensitive to conserving water, it also saves homeowners money.
Local craftsmen were used in all of the project, again keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum. All materials that did have to be purchased came from Columbia and its immediate surrounding areas, either Lewisburg or Nashville.
This development is a shining example of what can be done when you have a committed developer, an open-minded and supportive local government and the right professionals in place to manifest an environmentally-sensitive project. This small development serves as a benchmark for future green development.
Teresa J. Beck, Developer, Registered Interior Designer
TBEKTU Design & Development, LLC