Sustainable living is defined as an attempt to reduce our use of the Earth’s natural resources.
As the vision of Chatham Park began to come into focus, the opportunity to create a community in which the primary amenities were drawn from natural resources arrived with it. By earmarking a significant percentage of its design to permanently remain in the forms of parks, lakes, and open spaces, Chatham Park has been able to conserve existing ecosystems while enabling enhancements where necessary.
Chatham Park’s ability to offer retail, medical facilities, and restaurants is not only a great bonus, but also a key piece in the planning of a greener neighborhood. Providing the ability to access the most common stops on a typical weekend to-do list by foot or bike, or electric vehicle is a great way for our residents to play a role in reducing pollution.
From the moment Chatham Park was planned, sustainable living and being a great steward to our environment was a top priority. How can we help, you ask? Here are a few ideas:
Chatham Park is home to its own onsite Water Recovery Center, one of only two in the entire country. This system revolutionizes the way the community handles both wastewater and stormwater by turning them into a renewable resource. They employ leading edge technology to treat the wastewater that enters the plant and clean it so it can be used for other purposes, like flushing toilets, watering lawns or a host of other things. Using microorganisms to consume the nutrients found in wastewater, and hydronic plants in the greenhouse, whose roots hang down into the stream, any odor can be eliminated. The green pipes that traverse the site also help with odor reduction. By reducing the community’s strain on local water supplies, Chatham Park is investing in the future of Pittsboro’s efforts in water conservation. The neighborhood guidelines require every home to have at least one source of filtered drinking water for your health benefit. WaterSense® bathroom faucets and toilets utilized in the homes can save the average family 700 gallons of water per year while still washing away the dirt. Water is life!
How you can conserve water:
- Turn off faucets while brushing your teeth and washing your hands.
- Water lawns during the coolest parts of the day and, if you use them, turn off your sprinkler timers when rain is anticipated.
- Install rain barrels to capture water for irrigation.
- Only run the washing machine or dishwasher with full loads.
- Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
- Time your showers or invest in a shower timer.
Protect our Pollinators
As the warm weather returns to Chatham Park, the honeybees that were moved here in the fall will become much more active after having enjoyed a few months’ rest in their new Pollinator Garden. This garden is host to over 200,000 honeybees whose fertilizing forte will help enhance the growth of local nuts, fruit, flowers, shrubs, trees, vegetables, and more. Honeybees are the friendliest of the bee family and will travel several miles each day to pollinate plants in our community. We are excited to announce the first pollinator garden was so successful, a second pollinator garden location will be added in 2022. Stay tuned for more details!
How you can protect our pollinators:
- Choose all-natural options for treating or feeding outdoor plants.
- Treat or feed outdoor plants in the late afternoon or evening after the honeybees have buzzed back home.
- Skip the swat! If you encounter a curious visitor, stay calm and it will likely fly away after it has finished exploring.
- Don’t forget the butterflies. Add some milkweed to your garden and you will likely spot some Monarchs as they migrate through North Carolina.
Chatham Park partnered with Strata Clean Energy five years ago to develop a 45-acre solar farm off Moncure-Pittsboro Road. Strata Clean Energy has a longstanding commitment towards a solar supplemented future and Tinker Farm has created the ability to supply sustainable energy to nearly 750 homes in the Pittsboro area. Tinker Farm was also built with its furry and feathered inhabitants in mind, ensuring that existing wildlife terrains were left untouched, erosion was unmitigated, and waste was minimized. While Chatham Park continues to focus on the health of our ecosystem, it is also important that the individual homes in our residential areas maintain a clean, green focus. In implementing an ecoSelect® Plus certification process, new homes are tested in several categories for energy efficiency:
- Our homes are designed and built to be healthy, comfortable, and efficient through a combination of green building strategies, water conservation features, and performance testing. All homes are inspected and tested by Southern Energy Management, an independent third-party building science and solar energy firm. The Chatham Park program includes extra requirements to meet higher and more rigorous standards than is typically required in new home construction.
- Programmable thermostats allow residents to set climate schedules and control home temperatures while they are away for extended periods.
- Installation of energy efficient lighting can last up to 25 times longer and uses just 1/4 the energy of incandescent bulbs. They produce less heat, resulting in lower cooling needs, and require replacement far less often.
- Chatham Park homes come EV-ready with a dedicated power supply to allow you to easily add a charger for an electric vehicle.
With these and several additional tests, approved homes are given a Home Energy Rating based on their energy efficiency, an index that is recognized nationally in calculating energy performance. The lower the HERS index, the less energy used and the more affordable the home is to maintain. To date, Chatham Park’s homes have achieved an impressive rating as 34% more energy efficient than standard code homes because of the ecoSelect® Plus program. Did you know that each home is pre-wired to be EV charger ready? That makes it easy to install chargers if you choose to go with an electric vehicle. Also, the Cottages in Vineyards currently provide charging stations in their assigned parking area, and all of the commercial buildings and amenities are required to install at least two charging stations per building. Chatham Park promotes energy conservation. Here’s what you can do to help:
How you can conserve energy:
- Zero energy may be a reality for you if you add solar to your home.
- Turn off lights in unused rooms.
- Install optical sensor outlets on outdoor lights so that they turn on automatically at dusk and turn off automatically after a predetermined time.
- Replace incandescent bulbs with long-lasting LED bulbs.
- Utilize programmable thermostats to set climate schedules or control home temperatures while away.
- Make sure to keep air filters clean and your furnace is optimized.
- Consider an electric vehicle. Car chargers are available at the Cottages in Chatham Park, at Paddles, and at MOSAIC!
- Add locally grown food to your dinner table or eat at local restaurants.
- Walk to Knight Farm Community Park instead of driving.
Plan your landscaping thoughtfully
In considering the plant material and grasses that embellish Chatham Park, the developer ensured that native and regionally appropriate plants were not only used in the common areas but also requires them in the architectural guidelines for residential landscape plans, including pollinator plants – an important resource to help repopulate some of our struggling species. The benefit of native plants is that they require less maintenance and water, and they support pollinators and help control ticks and mosquitos. Also, they do not require fertilizers and require fewer pesticides than non-native species. They also help reduce air pollution.
How you can participate:
- Become educated on native plant species and how to implement them into your landscape.
- Use pollinator-friendly plantings whenever possible.
- Avoid the use of pesticides that can harm native insects, birds, and pollinators.
- Grow your own herbs, fruits and vegetables, even if it’s just a few pots around the house, it all helps!
Chatham Park was intentionally designed to encourage healthy choices for our planet. From the solar farm to the pollinator gardens to the Water Recovery Center, it is one of the most forward-thinking communities in America. The environment that surrounds Chatham Park has been top of mind since the initial design plans of the Pittsboro community landed on the drawing board. Chatham Park’s impact on the area has been positively managed through the creative installation of systems designed to encourage its residents to do their part to create and maintain a healthier planet. The goal of sustainable living is one that Chatham Park strives to take to the next level, and with the help of our community, success is all but guaranteed.