Legacy gets green award

On the heels of the announcement that Louisville has the fifth-largest carbon footprint per capita of the country’s 100-biggest cities comes some good green news: The National Association of Home Builders has named Legacy Lofts, that multi-colored condo complex at the corner of East Main and Campbell streets in East Downtown, the “National Multifamily Green Building Project of the Year” — and it’s not even finished. 

Mark Isaacs, president of Legacy Development Corporation and an MIT-trained architect, accepted the award in New Orleans last month. He said he sees it as a vote of confidence from the association that Legacy is on the right path. 

Isaacs said he has always dreamt of moving Louisville toward a more renewable mode of being. 

“When I came back to Louisville in 1978, we started talking about how to help Louisville make the transition to being renewable,” he said. “We walked through the streets painting the dream of new infrastructures.” 

Thirty years later, he is seeing part of his dream realized with Legacy Lofts, which not only has near-zero carbon emissions, but it also has the possibility of becoming a net energy-producing building over the course of the year.

Although renewable energy has always been on his mind, it was not until Hurricane Katrina that Isaacs received “a kick in the pants to get me off the couch. Now is the time.” He said he realized that letting global warming escalate or leaving the problem up to the government was not an option. He took it upon himself — through his business — to develop a model for the rest of the country, lined with the message that affordable near-zero carbon emission lifestyles are possible. 

There are three other LEED-certified green buildings in the city: Tucker Booker Donhoff + Partners Architects (also in East Downtown) and two PNC Bank branches. That’s up from zero two years ago. As well, there are at least 10 projects on the books here registered to become LEED-certified, among them a new annex building at TARC. 

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