As an avid reader of The New York Times, developer Jeffery Sitt found himself re-evaluating his Sunday morning pastime. After some research, he discovered Amazon’s Kindle, a portable device that enables users to download newspapers and books. “I saw where things were headed and it kind of hit me,” Sitt says.
After canceling his subscription to the Times, Sitt examined his own development company, looking for ways to introduce sustainable building products and practices. “It’s the right thing to do and I’m hoping there are other like-minded people,” says Sitt, whose first green initiative is Hall Street Storage in Brooklyn, N.Y.
While it’s hard to ignore the “go green” mantras shouted by the media, corporate America and soccer moms across the nation, the self-storage industry, for the most part, has only begun to embrace the movement. This is, in part, because self-storage is in itself already somewhat of a sustainable product—with the majority of steel used in construction coming from recycled steel and capable of being recycled once again. And unlike office buildings, restaurants and retail, self-storage facilities consume less energy.
However, there are a handful of self-storage owners, builders and developers stepping up to the green movement, ensuring their products are earth-friendly.
As president of San Antonio-based Artistic Builders Inc., Charles Plunkett plunged head first into the green-building movement four years ago. “When I first started this, I thought, ‘How silly is that?’” Plunkett admits. “As time has gone on, I’ve seen the benefits of trying to be a good steward of our environment.”
Artistic Builders has gone the extra mile, taking on projects certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) by the U.S. Green Building Council, including an 67,000-square-foot mixed-use development in San Antonio. The company even hired a LEED-certified architect to guide them through the process. “Most people believe it costs a whole lot more money to build a LEED-certified project,” Plunkett says. “But in reality, the additional dollars you spend on a project to make it LEED-certified are realistically about 5 [percent] to 7 percent, depending on the project.”