green building in nashville

Cummins Station in Nashville, TN

Exposed brick, seasoned wooden floors and preserved factory-esque architectural features remind visitors of a bygone era when women wore petticoats and men waxed their mustaches.  Granted, mustache waxing is back (shout-out to all you bearded hipsters on the East side), but the DZ Management team, owner of Cummins Station, made sure to bring the building into the 21st Century, renovating and retro-fitting it for energy efficient plumbing, A/C and electric.  In fact, the building touts a LEED ND Gold Certification, making it more “green” than most buildings in Nashville built within the last 100 years.

That the building is so old makes it an automatic shoo-in as a “green” office building.  Building materials (bricks, wood, steel) were reused in the most efficient way there is:  by preserving.  Plus, infrastructure did not need to be rebuilt.  Instead, construction teams used what was already in place, including sewer systems, electrical and gas utilities, eliminating the need “for new infrastructure that new developments typically have to reproduce,” according to the Cummins Station website.  “Infrastructure usage in downtown areas tends to be much denser than in other locales, which means taxpayers as well as the environment get the best ‘bang for the buck’.”

The building’s restrooms were remodeled using sustainable materials that are more than 90% recyclable – a good portion of those materials having originated within a 500-mile radius.  The lead paint of yesteryear is long gone, replaced by zero and low VOC paint and sulfulcants.  A rainwater recapture system is used to water the landscaping in outdoor common areas, fill commodes and help boost the building’s sustainability score.  The building was converted to all LED lights, which are up to 75% more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.  Plus, the building is a hub for the Avalon Acres Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA).

The essence of historic Nashville is something that should not be lost amidst the fast pace of progression, and Cummins Station has evolved into a great example of how Nashville has both progressed into the future and preserved its beloved past.

By India Stone