Category: Sustainability

Meet Jenn & Geoff

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Geoff and Jenn would be happy to shake your hand, but make sure they haven’t just come in from the garden. After moving into the Gramercy New Albany, one of the first things the couple did was get a plot in the community garden. “We grew arugula, beets, tomatoes, some herbs, and lots of jalapeños. It was great having the addition of all that fresh produce in our daily diets all summer. Fresh, healthy food is a key element to our lifestyle, and we really enjoyed the opportunity to grow it ourselves.”

The couple explained that lifestyle was the central reason behind the their move. Choosing this Kaufman community supported a larger shift they were making in their lives—to add more time and space that would allow them to grow their business and nurture their personal lives.

The fact that The Gramercy is just a mile from their store, VeloScience Bike Works, is one piece of the equation. “Time we would have spent mowing, raking leaves, and fixing up the house has now been spent developing our business and our pet projects like Sophia’s ReCycle, which has provided dozens of bikes to kids whose families couldn’t afford them.”

For a couple that loves to be physically active, the fitness center has practically been an extension of their apartment. Jennifer teaches the Spinning classes and enjoys yoga and bootcamp, while Geoff said when weather prevents him from training at one of the parks or country roads nearby, he loves that the facility is just a short walk from their doorstep.

Having more time has also translated into taking more joy in their living space. They said they fell in love with the styling and decor, especially how the layout provided a sense of open space and brightness. Geoff explained, “Since moving here we’ve been devouring books. The New Albany Library is a great resource, and for the first time in many years we’ve been able to enjoy having access. Living healthy lifestyles and accomplishing ambitious athletic goals are both important to us, and so much about The Gramercy makes achieving these goals much easier.”

Meet Pratima & Ashwin

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When Ashwin and Pratima look back on the life they had when they were students, one thing they remember fondly is the community they were a part of. To them, community meant activities, friendships, and shared philosophies—all things that enabled them to be the people they wanted to be. So even though they were one of the first residents of 600 Goodale, they were thrilled to find that the community was already thriving.

It started with fitness. Working out has given Ashwin and Pratima more than just physical benefits. The couple said one of the highlights of group fitness classes is that while they are exercising they are also getting to know their neighbors—making working out as much fun as going out! Pratima remembers how easy it used to be to find excuses not to work out, but she said Kaufman made it so easy to hit the gym that they both made it a habit. “Now we work out several days of the week without having to leave our building, and spend more time focusing on our mind and body with yoga classes twice per week!”

While they now spend more time taking care of their health, Ashwin and Pratima said they love that they can spend less time taking care of their recycling, now that recycling bins are just a few steps from their apartment. “Before we moved here we would pile up all our recycling in a corner of the apartment, then pile it all up in our car and drive to a recycling center. Kaufman has relieved us of that headache with the Go Green campaign.”

Beyond just recycling, the couple said they love the community’s involvement with Besa, an organization that helps connect people with volunteer opportunities throughout the area. Pratima said, “We really enjoy giving back to the community, and when we were students, community service opportunities were much more accessible and available. But Kaufman’s association with Besa has given us the opportunity to start being part of a community once again.”

Don’t think that for this couple life is all work though. Pratima said the atmosphere at 600 Goodale provides plenty of opportunities for them to relax. “The awesome staff at the office—especially Lauren, Reika and Liz—make us feel instantly at home, and the courtyard is wonderful. It is a perfect spot for relaxing, with the pool, fire pit, outdoor grilling area, cabanas, and a beautiful view of the Olentangy River.”

Pratima said she thinks moving to 600 Goodale has made a wide-reaching impact on their lives. “One big thing that has changed is our appreciation for an apartment that we actually love. It has made us realize how important it is to be in a place that fits in with our philosophy and needs, including getting the opportunity to be part of a community that makes a positive impact in people’s lives.”

Kaufman Development Offices Now Powered by Green Energy

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We are proud to announce that as of December 27, the Kaufman Development offices are 100% powered by green energy, supplied by AEP Energy.

Wind will be the predominant energy source, but biomass and other renewable resources will also be used.

“We build communities centered around wellness, philanthropy, innovation and sustainability, so we are always looking for new ways to build these values into everything we do,” says Kaufman CFO Frank Sasso. “Switching to 100% renewable energy at our corporate office was a natural way to further our efforts in sustainability.”

Kaufman went out to bid for open market electricity options during our 2014 budgeting process. By going green, we will reduce our energy costs by about $800 per year.

“As others in our community make the switch, the number of sustainable energy sources will increase and prices will drop for all,” says Kaufman Development Project Manager Jay DeVore. “Hopefully prices for wind, solar and hydro power will soon be competitive with prices for more traditional sources.”

It’s also important to note that, according to studies, Generation Y and Millennials value ecology, sustainability and legacy. And as members of those generations become corporate decision makers, Jay says investment in green energy sources is likely to jump significantly.

At Kaufman, other efforts to reduce our environmental impact include using programmable thermostats and LED light bulbs, as well as recycling at our offices and all our communities. We also encourage bike commuting.

“I think it’s great that we are continuing to pursue our value system,” Jay says. “Hopefully others in the community will notice that the switch was relatively easy and follow suit.”

The Gramercy Community Garden’s Inaugural Growing Season is a Success

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A community garden was planted at The Gramercy this spring, and to our delight it has yielded a bounty of tasty herbs and vegetables and pretty flowers.

Parsley, basil, tomatoes, eggplants, brussel sprouts, hot peppers, squash, lettuce, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, and wave petunias are just some of the goodies that thrived during the garden’s inaugural growing season.

Residents are responsible for taking care of their own plots.

“Some residents have built friendships at the garden, and they look out for each other’s plots,” says Gramercy Community Ambassador Jimmy Hoppel.

The garden’s 44 plots range from four to 30 square feet in size.

A trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and a planting demonstration by Pam Baker of Baker’s Acres Greenhouse helped get the residents inspired and prepared to make the most of their garden.

Additionally, a garden committee was formed to help oversee its progress. During the committee’s meetings, residents discussed improvements to the garden as well as what the Gramercy could provide to better their gardening experience.

Those meetings birthed a shed (complete with gardening tools) and a birdhouse designed to control the insect population.

A class about closing down your plot for fall, transferring plants indoors, and what to plant now so your plot is ready come springtime will prepare the Gramercy’s gardeners for the months ahead.

“I think the first growing season went well,” Jimmy says. “So many residents were able to explore gardening for the first time and see success.”

The garden was also a beautiful aesthetic addition to The Gramercy, adding pops of green, red, yellow, and purple to the grounds, he says.

 

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens Inspires The Gramercy’s Community Garden Plans

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This past August our team visited the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to gather ideas and inspiration for our own community garden at The Gramercy. We met with Bill Dawson, Franklin Park Conservatory’s Growing to Green Coordinator, who gave us great insight based on his experience assisting with more than 200 community gardens in the central Ohio area. Bill specializes in providing advice, resources and education to local community gardens through classes and site visits.

OUR INSPIRATION: FRANKLIN PARK CONSERVATORY’S COMMUNITY GARDEN CAMPUS

Bill guided our tour of the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens community garden, which has 40 plots that are rented out to area residents, organizations, individuals and families. The community garden is part of the nearly five-acre Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Garden Campus, which grows about 4,000 pounds of produce each year.

In Bill’s words, “everything is very clean and green.” The garden’s plots are wood-framed with untreated lumber, and the garden incorporates other sustainable features including permeable pavement, rain barrels and a rain garden.

In addition to focusing on sustainability, the Community Garden Campus also aims to help the community. Bill asks participants to donate produce from their plots to area food pantries or people in need. He said, “They enjoy doing it. Some people purposely plant an extra row of vegetables. We ourselves donate about 2,400 pounds, and our community garden participants top that off with their contributions.”

Reika Oda, a Community Ambassador for The Gramercy was especially inspired by our visit. “After walking through the community garden with Bill Dawson, I was inspired by the community that was created out of such pride and care for gardening,” she said. “I read the clever names on the hand-made signs of each plot and had a strong desire to be a part of such a fun community.”

Bill Dawson explained, “We wanted to develop this area for the community, by the community, with the community. We spent time talking with the community and neighbors about what they wanted to see. It’s a place for people to mill around, attend classes and events, or sit in the garden and just enjoy it.”

OUR PLANS: THE GRAMERCY’S COMMUNITY GARDEN

Bill was able to provide great insight as we began planning our own community garden. He emphasized the importance of getting organized and developing a sustainability plan before putting a shovel in the ground.

“You don’t want to go in and just start planting. Talk to the neighbors first. Ask what people want,” Bill Advised. “Don’t build the garden and hope they’ll come; plan it with the community at large and think about who could be involved.”

Bill’s advice for creating a brand new community garden has been invaluable as we create our own plans for The Gramercy New Albany’s community garden. Construction is underway, and will be completed this spring.

Our team is enthusiastic about this new venture. Reika said, “I can’t wait to pick our first produce of the season and grill our handpicked veggies by the pool.”

We’re excited to further promote healthy living and sustainability at The Gramercy, and can’t wait to come together with our residents to grow our own produce and herbs.

V.I.P. Waste Services Promotes Sustainability at The Gramercy New Albany

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Here at Kaufman, we believe that sustainability is no longer about “going green” or “being green.” Instead, it has earned its rightful place in everyday life, moving beyond the philosophical to the responsible. That’s why we’ve partnered with V.I.P. Waste Services to provide a recycling program, making it easy for residents of The Gramercy New Albany to recycle about 80% of their household trash.

Each week, V.I.P will save residents a trip by picking up recyclables from the doorsteps of each apartment. A wide range of recyclable materials are accepted, and residents are not required to remove labels or sort materials. Everything collected by V.I.P. is recycled locally, too.

We believe that sustainability is its own reward, and we’re happy to offer this service free of charge, as a courtesy amenity to all residents of The Gramercy New Albany. Together we can help preserve the natural world and enhance environmental well-being. We encourage you to learn more about why recycling is important, get the facts about recycling aluminum, plastic, paper, and glass, and find out how you can reduce waste.

Besides recycling, what are some other ways you’re living more sustainably?