Wit and Wisdom Blog for Atria Senior Living

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Older Woman Outdoors

Sustainability and Senior Living


Posted on March 24, 2014 by Katy Miller


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Green living is more than just a trendy catchphrase; it’s a thoughtful and purposeful way of life for those who seek to conserve energy and create an eco-friendly world. Senior living communities are taking up the challenge issued by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Through construction choices, recycling programs, energy conservation methods and the use of alternative fuel sources, retirement communities are getting behind this movement as a way to provide retirees with the type of living environment they desire.

LEED is a rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize and certify high-performance green buildings.

It's the nationally accepted standard for verifying that a building is designed, constructed and operated using strategies that improve performance in six important categories:

  1. Site sustainability
  2. Indoor environmental quality
  3. Materials and resources
  4. Energy and atmosphere
  5. Water efficiency
  6. Innovation and design process

LEED is also a credit system that awards points for designs that positively affect the environment. The concept arrived in 1998, and is considered a standard for modern design. Assisted and independent living communities such as Atria Tamalpais Creek in Novato, California and Atria Woodbriar Place in Falmouth, Massachusetts have created award-winning LEED spaces.

At Atria, we fit our LEED-certified buildings with solar power-generated energy, super insulation, energy-efficient lighting, ENERGY STAR® appliances, water-efficient plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, low VOC paint, carpet and wood substrates and recycled materials in sidewalks, parking lots and earthwork.

The sustainability trend is quickly emerging in this space, as the goal in sustainable design for senior communities is to focus on a resident-focused model of care in an environment that improves the overall quality of life.

Carefully planned outdoor design makes for a more natural looking space, promoting an active lifestyle through walking paths, scenic bike trails and other recreational amenities. Many of these outdoor areas mimic park-like settings and contribute to an overall sense of well-being for residents.  


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