In Seattle, senior assisted living and memory care company Aegis Living has marked the official opening of what it describes as the “world’s greenest senior living community.” Aegis Living Lake Union is the first assisted living community built to meet global green building standards for the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Building Challenge Petal Certification. The community is also participating in the City of Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program.
“As we celebrate 25 years in business, now more than ever Aegis Living is looking towards the future and importance of sustainable senior living,” said founder and CEO Dwayne Clark. “Being the first to reach such an important milestone, Aegis Lake Union will no doubt raise the bar for the industry, setting new standards for us and others to lessen our environmental footprint while continuing to deliver an exceptional resident experience. I couldn’t be prouder of our team for always leading the way.”
As the first senior living community built to pursue these standards, Aegis Living had to create its own baseline metrics for improving energy use. Aegis Living Lake Union is completely emission-free, using no fossil fuels, including no gas servicing the building. Standard electricity supports the entire 73,437-square-foot building and offsets 105% of the building’s total energy demand through various energy reduction measures, including an onsite solar array and offsite solar energy farms that generate 1.7-million-kilowatt hours.
The building has also reduced its overall energy draw by 25% (relative to a comparable building type) through key features that include an enhanced thermal envelope comprised of triple pane window glazing, thermal insulation for exterior walls, and heat recovery through forced-air ventilation. Other features that reduce the energy draw include a recirculating heat pump system, LED lighting and sensors to monitor use, and high-efficiency appliances. The community is expected to save approximately 320,000 kilowatt-hours annually – equivalent to planting more than 12,000 trees each year. All non-drinking water is supplied through captured rainwater and treated grey water, saving more than 140,000 gallons of water annually for the life of the building.
Aegis Living Lake Union is currently registered for Living Building Challenge 3.1 Petal Certification for Energy, Place, and Beauty. It will begin an audit process and performance period once the 79 senior living apartments are occupied.
“This is a remarkable accomplishment that took a team effort and great collaboration across our development team, architecture design, and construction partners as well as the International Living Future Institute, city of Seattle, among others” said Brian Palmore, senior vice president of development. “We are proud to be first in the market and present a model not just for us but for others.”
In addition to its sustainable features, Aegis Living Lake Union’s design is inspired by the University of Washington rowing team that won gold at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany as detailed in Daniel James Brown’s bestseller, The Boys in the Boat. This inspiration can be seen throughout the building’s design: The lobby features an original Pocock racing shell spanning the length of the ceiling, a reminder of the connection to the winning rowing team. The exterior of the building includes a full-size mural of the winning team, and another internal mural will pay tribute to each rower. Even the living room chandeliers echo the shape of the blade on rowing oars, and the building will be home to the 1936 Olympic torch.
- Architect: Ankrom Moisan
- General Contractor: Absher Construction