Energy-efficient construction drives N.C. job growth, energy savings

Ginkgo Residential is a Charlotte, N.C.-based real estate company that provides high-quality workforce rental housing that’s energy efficient and environmentally sensitive. CEO Philip Payne founded Ginkgo in 2010, and the company now employs 130 workers, some of whom recently helped complete an efficiency retrofit at the Yorktown Club.

Located in Durham, N.C., the Yorktown Club, a 236-unit apartment building, was purchased by Ginkgo in December 2010. Prior to Ginkgo’s involvement, the 40-year-old building was dilapidated. There was mold, rot on the porches, apartment-wide water damage, and peeling linoleum floors. After Ginkgo’s purchase, its employees went to work replacing roofs, installing low-emissivity windows, adding landscaping, creating a community garden, upgrading to Energy Star-rated appliances, installing Energy Star-rated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and repairing any damage to the buildings.

As of July 2013, approximately 90 percent of the refurbished units were rented out, many by former occupants, who range from older, low-income residents to Duke students. While rent has slightly increased, the energy bills are half what they used to be, offsetting a portion of the higher rent and helping to keep rentals affordable. Ginkgo turns a sizable profit through its rentals, demonstrating the financial feasibility of delivering economic, environmental, and social benefits through real estate projects.

— Environmental Entrepreneurs

Photo courtesy of Ginkgo Residential