Ladies and gentlemen, I have seen the future: dual flush toilets.
Forget those bygone days when you used the same amount of water to flush away whatever business needed to go bye-bye. Ye olde toilet presented a Catch-22: A low-flush commode conserved water but sometimes led to clogging issues. A high-volume toilet would swallow a set of car keys, but it made Mother Nature cry.
So, how brilliant yet simple the dual flush, which has two buttons: one for easy jobs, using only 0.8 gallons a flush, and another for number two, using 1.6 gallons of water.
The dual flush toilet is a standard feature at the new condo development Madison 19 — just one of many green amenities available there. (Madison 19's tag line says that it was "designed with the environment in mind.") The development is the latest offering from Phil Woodard, whose resume includes the downtown Memphis condos 2 West and GE5.
Woodard has seen the future, too. He says that the construction industry has come a long way toward greener materials. "Two years ago, it was hard to find," Woodard says. "In three years, it's going to be the norm. The industry is catching up. It's not costing any more to build green."
Madison 19 is a case in point. During construction, Woodard used blown-in cellulose insulation made of ground-up newspapers and blue jeans (no joke). With soundboard on both sides of the insulation, the walls provide excellent soundproofing from neighbors: Its Sound Transmission Class is rated at about 64 — normal is in the low-to-mid 50s. And, yes, the color of the insulation is "Levi's blue."
Other earth-friendly features include energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs throughout; Technistone quartz countertops that are made with 35 percent recycled material; locally built cabinetry made of maple, a replenishable wood (from Memphis' S&S Custom Cabinets); paint that's water-based, formaldehyde-free, and low-VOC (an organic gas, a bad thing); and commercial-grade, high-insulation, low-E (low-emissivity, a good thing) casement windows, which allow for cross-ventilation. Woodard says electric bills on the model unit have been around $63 a month.
A resident's carbon footprint need not be extravagant, considering the trolley running right outside the front door and the many restaurants, attractions, and employers within walking or biking distance. Madison 19 will have four community bicycles for resident use.
Many of the decisions behind Madison 19 have to do with keeping it low-maintenance. In addition to the long-lasting fluorescent lights, the exterior of the building is pre-finished concrete board and corrugated aluminum panels. The landscaping is drought-tolerant, with drip irrigation and hardy nandinas. All this keeps homeowners' monthly association fees down. "There's no trim, nothing to paint," Woodard says. "Six years from now, the homeowners' association won't have to collect 20 grand to paint the building. And in seven or eight, you'll have to change a light bulb."
Madison 19 is in the heart of the Medical Center and is being marketed particularly to that area's professionals and students. Woodard is excited by the direction the district is heading, with new restaurants and businesses opening and the burgeoning bioscience community about to explode.
Madison 19 is next in the line of what is becoming the Woodard Properties trademark: low maintenance and environmentally friendly. It employs many of the same strategies as 2 West, and it adds new features, such as cellulose insulation. "It's a graduation of what I've done before," Woodard says. "As I keep building, I want to keep doing that. We'll take the same version and keep tweaking — we'll keep getting better. We'll keep refining and going deeper into it."
Woodard does research in libraries and online to see what developers are doing across the country, and he has his eye on the next project and how it may build on what Madison 19 has done.
"On the next job, I'll do rainwater-capturing and solar. I'll do the same thing [as Madison 19] except add some of that, to where the heating and air conditioning and water heaters are solar," he says. "We don't do instantaneous heaters [at Madison 19], because it's hard on electric. Maybe solar can do that. I don't know. So that'll be the next step. That'll be my next project, and I'll have fun doing it. It's a process of learning." ■
Madison 19, 670 Madison
For more information, call Martin Group Realty at 881-6052 or go to madison19.com.