Community earns 'green' awards

Going "green" seems to be the "in" thing these days, from conserving water to purchasing energy-efficient appliances to using fluorescent light bulbs.

Now an entire community has been built with the idea of being totally green, with everything around it. It's called The Circle at Concord Mills, and ever since it opened last April, the residents have enjoyed a socially responsible living experience.

"We are 100percent smoke free and have a LEED-certified clubhouse and Audubon-certified Silver Signature Sanctuary. We are the first multi-family community awarded this recognition,'" said Scott Cramton, property manager of the apartment community. "We were also awarded the 2010 National Green Building Project of the Year for a multi-family luxury community."

All 312 apartments are built with "green" building materials, using paints and sealants that are low in volatile organic compounds. Each has a built-in recycling cabinet in the kitchen island. The community also has a central recycling center.

Since The Circle at Concord Mills opened last year, the residents have recycled 6.5tons of aluminum, glass and plastic.

If you drive a hybrid or other fuel-efficient vehicle, you get preferred parking. For those who want to use only their own energy, courtesy bicycles are available.

For the four-legged residents, there is a leash-free dog park. Even the community clubhouse was built with recycled contents and houses a 24-hour fitness center.

Through the community's Facebook page, I had a chance to contact some of the residents, and I found that just about all of them are very happy to be there.

"I moved into a one-bedroom apartment in April of this year and love it. The Circle at Concord Mills is the only dog-friendly apartment complex in the area, and the fact that it has so many eco-friendly features was just icing on the cake," said Carla Haake.

"My Dalmatian-mix puppy, Piper, just loves the neighborhood dog park. She literally drags me down the stairs every day and heads straight for it. And the pool area is pristine. We both are very happy there."

Wassim Rahi said, "I am resident at this wonderful community since last January.... It is one of the best in Charlotte. The leasing office employees are very friendly and kind. They do really make you feel as if you were living with family. The community is very clean, neat and safe. Truly, I love it."

If you are interested in a "green" living experience, visit the website of the Circle at Concord Mills, It may well be the community of the future.