For those who don’t know, Manayunk is a unique urban neighborhood just outside of Philadelphia.  Main St., along the Schuylkill River is a popular area that is home to many high end restaurants and shopping.  When I heard about a green community in Manayunk I had to check it out. 

At first instinct I kind of chuckled to myself; wondering how anyone could actually make a successful sustainable community in Manayunk and actually sell the properties.  After touring a model home I learned that the starting price for an unfurnished 3 bedroom/2 bath rowhome is 700k dollars.  One can easily make the assumption that the “green” aspect of this carriage-home community is merely a marketing scheme to support the outrageous price tag.  I thought maybe this was the case, but in fact I have to applaud their efforts to build responsibly and efficiently because given the building site and existing circumstances, I feel they did a fairly decent job.  After all they are trying to obtain LEED platinum certification.

More importantly as a sustainable community, I would like to see this development offer a sustainable lifestyle to the people that live in it.  At most, they chose materials that are responsible, partial sustainable utilities, and offer amenities such as an electric car charger in your garage.  Utilizing icynene for insulation and structral insulated sheathing, these homes are efficient considering they are stick built. 

Alternative energy sources were limited due to the infrastructure of the area.  Photovoltaics on the roof help to heat the water and supply partial power.  Overall, Sheldon Crossing claims 75% energy savings in their homes.  This helps to justify part of the initial investment in a 700k dollar home.  The other half of the justification is implied in the “luxury” aspect of their advertisements.  They really are nice, and do provide a luxurious, unique interior that is eco-friendly.  The real downfall of the community is its location.  It’s on a hill with great “green roof” top views of the city, but don’t look down across the street.  It’s just not a luxurious area, and I’m not a real estate expert but comparable sized homes in the neighborhood can’t be more than 300k. 

They are great looking green homes that offer luxury in a not so luxurious area.  Some of the sustainable features that are truly unique to Manayunk are the green roofs with photovoltaic panels.  Regardless of minor issues implied with having these properties in a not so sustainable and luxurious area, I am excited to see sustainable projects developed locally.

 visit Sheldon Crossing here