Senior Living facilities are unique entities, with various types of building uses, in one place. Is a senior living facility a residence or health care facility? Does it fit into the hospitality or educational category?
Do we have an opportunity to employ green construction practices when considering new construction, interior space, special needs and 24/7 operation?
In the United States the US Green Building Council established benchmark criteria for sustainable construction and building operations. The USGBC LEED® process focuses on new construction for commercial buildings, residential, health care and hospitality accommodations. The process also addresses existing buildings and how they operate. There is a LEED process which concentrates on educational buildings and campus development.
Though the LEED® tools predominantly evaluate the built environment, the Senior Living Sustainability Guide® moves beyond this by addressing: the organization, the residents, and functional sides of developing sustainable environments from the beginning of the development process.
A sustainably-minded developer must merge the concepts presented in each category and select the best practices available. A developer must always be mindful of the primary function of a building, regardless of the desire to construct and operate a sustainable facility. A green building that does not function well, and delight it's residents and staff, is not truly sustainable. Sustainability is defined by a concept known as “Triple Bottom Line.” The proper balance of environmental, social and financial criteria is optimized to serve and satisfy building users.
Various special needs must be considered in the case of senior living, including:
• Indoor Air Quality
• Climate-controlled environment, tailored to special circumstances.
The senior living building environment is a special one designed for maximum safety, comfort and environmental exposure. The Senior Living Sustainability Guide® provides guidance for development of environments for seniors.
Content provided by: Steve Baer