One of Augustas oldest buildings was honored today with one of the newest designations applied to sites that conform to modern environmental and conservation standards.
The Granite Mill, which was built in 1848 and later incorporated into a corner of the Enterprise Mill along the Augusta Canal, was designated as a LEED Gold Status structure for green features that include on-site recycling, reuse of historic granite and a rooftop solar panel.
The LEED designation is a U.S. Green Council acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. It joins a handful of sites in the area with such a designation, including the U.S. Forest Services Southern Research Station in New Ellenton, S.C.
Rebecca Rogers, the Augusta Canal Authoritys marketing director, said the Granite Mill was among the first buildings to rise along the canal after it was first completed in 1845. It was finished in 1848 and it is, today, the oldest of the buildings on the canal that are still standing, she said.
The Granite Mill was built by an Augustan James Coleman. It provided flour for most of the city.
Today, its 15,000 feet of renovated space includes office and residential areas that adjoin the Enterprise Mill, which was renovated to similar standards in 1999.
Savannah-based Melaver Construction and Development provided the LEED construction management, according to a press release from Melaver, which owns the Enterprise complex off Greene Street.
Enterprise Mill, which houses the Augusta Canal Interpretive Center, has two hydropower turbines that provide electricity to the entire complex and generates additional kilowatts that provide revenue for the Canal National Heritage Area and its governing authority.
Granite Mill, where renovations were completed in 2008, includes low-flow plumbing that will save about 100,000 gallons per year over conventional fixtures, according to Melaver.
Indoor air quality has been improved for future tenants through the use of non-toxic paints and sealants. Other sustainable features which added to LEED certification include the use of salvaged and local recycled materials, Energy Star appliances, ceiling fans, and lighting fixtures, and no ozone chlorine based chemicals were used in cooling and refrigeration units.