ST. CHARLES, Md., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—American Community Properties Trust (ACPT) (NYSE Amex: APO) launched an initiative today that will make St. Charles, Maryland, its flagship 9,100 acre planned community in Charles County, the most comprehensive smart green community development project in the United States today. The project includes 4,000 undeveloped acres in the planned community, as well as retrofitting more than 12,000 existing homes and four million square feet of existing commercial space in St. Charles.
"Our vision is to make St. Charles the international model for 21st century smart green and growing communities," said Steve Griessel, CEO of the Maryland-based land development and property management company. "The transformational effect that will occur from our efforts will double St. Charles in size but actually lower today's carbon footprint and water usage for the community. This transformation will enable 40 percent of Charles County's population to live on approximately 2 percent of its land mass, making St. Charles truly a smart, green, and growing community," said Griessel.
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley attended the launch event. "In Maryland, we are focused on New Ideas for New Jobs - connecting the challenges and opportunities of a workforce that leads in science, security and skills. Our goal is for St. Charles to serve as a model of a 21st century city - a green, healthy city that also has a viable, thriving economy, and a city that truly embodies the deep connection between healing our planet and creating a strong economy and good-paying jobs for generations of Marylanders to come," said Governor O'Malley. "It is an honor to be here today in the great city of St. Charles, with ACPT, to announce the creation of a Green City. As part of the innovative Green City initiative, St. Charles will represent a model for cities around the world, making vital connections between the creation of new jobs and a thriving economy, and the health of our planet."
Griessel outlined a plan that will include:
—Dedicating the balance of 4,000 acres of fully entitled land zoned for 11,000 new homes and over 5 million square feet of commercial, schools and community centers to be a smart green and growing community.
—Undertaking a massive retrofitting program for the existing businesses and nearly 40,000 residents to enhance energy and water efficiency.
—Creating 20,000 jobs through a Green Jobs Opportunity Zone, including 1,000 new jobs in the next 3 years towards of Maryland's goal to create 100,000 green jobs statewide .
—Designing and building desirable, quality homes, apartments and commercial buildings that cost less and perform better.
—Making St. Charles an international living laboratory for new technologies, products and services and sharing the results of programs with the world.
—Working with universities and colleges to create a green campus, research and development park, and incubator.
—Building the largest combination of clean energy infrastructure in the United States, including a 640 megawatt natural gas powered power plant, a 75-acre solar farm generating 10 megawatts, geothermal well fields for heating and cooling buildings, and a biomass gasification technology plant potentially incorporating methane from the Charles County landfill to produce additional renewable electricity.
To make the project a reality, Mr. Griessel announced memorandums of understanding that ACPT has with the Charles County Government, SMECO, the College of Southern Maryland, and local and national businesses. Mr. Griessel announced several initiatives that will be taking place as the "green city" project gets underway, including:
—Competitive Power Ventures (CPV), a Maryland based firm, has agreed to purchase land to construct a 75-acre 10-megawatt solar farm in St. Charles, the largest in the mid-Atlantic region.
—With IBM, ACPT will be seeking to create a common technology platform for the entire community that enables greater productivity, higher rates of conservation, improved public safety, and creates a greater sense of community.
—ACPT will develop its next neighborhood, a 625-mixed-unit community called Homefield, according to LEED standards for neighborhood design, and all homes, townhomes and apartments in the neighborhood will be built to LEED specifications as well. (LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a rating system for green building and development designed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
—The Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) has requested Maryland Public Service Commission approval to install and test 1,000 smart meters at existing homes and businesses in St. Charles. In addition, SMECO and St. Charles have begun installing programmable thermostats, part of what it calls its Cool Sentry program, at up to 2,500 apartments in St. Charles. The program helps the electricity company manage energy loads during peak demand periods in the summer. ACPT and SMECO have agreed to work jointly to market these and other energy saving programs to homes, businesses, and homebuilders in St. Charles.
—ACPT will donate 98 acres in St. Charles to the Charles County Public Schools, for use for the county's next high school. The school will be a LEED certified building.
—ACPT will develop a summer farmer's market and other programs in conjunction with the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission.
"This is a great start, but there is so much more we will be doing," said Griessel. "With SMECO, we are testing LED lighting technology in our new community, Gleneagles. With the College of Southern Maryland, we will be working jointly to promote the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program. Charles County Public Schools is going to build a LEED certified high school on 98 acres we have donated. The Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission is helping us bring farmers markets, community gardens, and agricultural education programs to the green city. And we will be leading this effort in our future headquarters, which is going to be a LEED gold interior certified building," said Griessel.
For additional information, visit http://www.stcharlesgreen.com/
Source: American Community Properties Trust