project the size of Victory Centre South
Chicago can easily exceed $50,000.
Points and Pointers
There are LEED-certified projects in all
50 states, and every business day $464
million worth of construction registers
with LEED, according to the USGBC.
Once Victory Centre of South Chicago
receives its LEED certification, it will become a model for assisted living communities seeking the same.
The green attributes that will help
Victory Centre of South Chicago earn
enough points to achieve Silver certification include:
• Native landscaping throughout the
community’s outdoor spaces. Plants
and shrubs that are native to the Chicago area will require less water and
chemical fertilizers to maintain. Landscaping projects also include planting
extra trees to shade impervious surface
parking, which in turn reduces heat retention and additional cooling efforts.
• A bioswale rain garden that collects and
retains water. The rain water collected
can then be used to maintain the community’s outdoor spaces as needed.
• Reflective Energy Star roofing. The non-patio roofs throughout the community
are Energy Star products that bounce
heat off the building, which also contributes to curbing energy usage.
• Quality and copious insulation. This
strategy affects all the community’s
roof surfaces. The building also has
additional cavity wall insulation, advanced air sealing at doors and windows, and vinyl windows with Low-E
glass—all to provide more efficient
insulation for heating and cooling to
reduce energy usage.
• Energy Star-rated appliances. These
include refrigerators, stoves, lighting
systems and accessories, and HVAC
systems that use the least amount of
energy to run over time.
• Building and finishing products containing recycled materials. Victory
Centre of South Chicago was constructed with gypsum drywall and
insulation that contain recycled materials. Products that contain recycled
materials can vary in price.
• Adhesives, sealants, and paints that
include minimal levels of volatile organic compounds, or low-VOC products. Use of non-formaldehyde pro-
cessed insulation, for example, reduces
the amount of toxins in the air, which
can help those with lung disease and
asthma breathe more easily.
• Low sones rating fans in restrooms. These
run quietly to reduce sound pollution.
And while Victory Centre of South Chicago may become Pathway Senior Living’s
first LEED-certified community, it isn’t the
company’s first foray into green building
and design. Like many senior living providers, the company has implemented several green policies and procedures at its
communities in the past few years. These
include using electronic forms instead of
paper; a quarterly “cash back” reward for
communities that curb paper consumption; recycling toner cartridges and computer equipment; and using green cleaning methods and products.
sunrise se-nior Living received an ALFA Best of
the Best Award in 2008 for its Sunrise
Energy Council, a brain trust that spans
all of the company’s functions related
to energy. (See “Best of the Best” in the
June 2008 issue of Assisted Living Executive.) The council has enacted several
strategies, including retrofitting compact
fluorescent lighting in more than 325
communities, to curb energy usage and
costs. Sunrise Senior Living also has
communities under development that
will seek LEED certification.
Benchmark Assisted Living is slashing
energy consumption and costs at its
communities by applying best practices
from the Energy Star program, developed
by the Environmental Protection Agency. (See “Sustainable Solutions” in the
November/December 2008 issue of
Assisted Living Executive.) The company
has installed compact fluorescent or other
energy-efficient lighting in all buildings,
and is steadily replacing old appliances
with Energy Star-rated appliances.
There are certain appliances, however,
that are not yet covered by the Energy Star
program, including some stovetops and
ovens—but providers still have options.
For example, many ceramic stovetops
allow for more energy-efficient cooking because burners are spring-loaded
beneath the glass and force even distribution of heat. Plus, the absence of replacement and maintenance parts needed for
ceramic cook tops, compared with coil cook
tops, “translates into both cost and landfill
savings,” says Suzanne Owens, vice president of sales and marketing for Kenyon
International, a manufacturer of ceramic
cook tops. In recent years, the company has
seen increased interest in its green product
options across several housing sectors.
Resources and next steps
Providers have access to a host of resources that can help them make communities healthier and more environmentally
friendly places to live and work, including
the ALFA Web site, www.alfa.org, where
they can access recent articles from
Assisted Living Executive.
Here are other information sources
providers may find useful:
• The U.S. Green Building Council, www.
usgbc.gov, offers several free downloads
that explain everything from the LEED
basics to strategies for specific types of
• Energy Star, www.energystar.gov, offers
product-specific guidelines and recommendations for residential buildings.
• The EPA’s Green Building site, www.
epa.gov/greenbuilding, offers case studies that address water and energy consumption strategies.
ALFA is also working with Energy
Star’s Healthcare Facilities Division to
get assisted living added to the building
categories rated by Energy Star. The program will provide companies with a tool
to measure performance in all of their
buildings and benchmark that performance against other providers. Assisted
Living Executive will provide updates as
soon as they are available.
If your senior living company or community is pursuing LEED certification, tell
us about it. Assisted Living Executive will continue reporting on the industry’s progress in
this area. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. ❏
Bryan Ochalla is a contributing writer to
Assisted Living Executive. Reach him at
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