Atria Celebrates First Senior Housing LEED Certification

Atria Senior Living announced the company’s first achievement in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification, a national standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to recognize high performance green buildings.

Part of a multi-pronged approach by the company to increase environmental sustainability, Atria Tamalpais Creek in Novato, California, was awarded silver LEED certification status earlier this month. It represents the first of the company’s more than 120 senior living communities to meet the USGBC’s stringent environmental guidelines to achieve LEED certification status, with five more Atria communities in New York and California also seeking certification.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability, and specific goals must be met in five key areas for a building to achieve certification: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

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A recent redevelopment and renovation project at Atria Tamalpais Creek included the incorporation of several environmentally-friendly factors, including the use of regionally-sourced materials, a clean air initiative using low-VOC paint and carpet, installation of energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, and integration of recycling programs and adequate green space. To conserve resources and reduce waste, 93 percent of the existing building was reused in the renovation, and more than 576 tons of waste were diverted from the landfill. Low-flow water fixtures are expected to reduce water usage by 30 percent.

“This achievement represents our commitment not only to the residents we serve, but to the world around us,” said Julie Harding, Chief Operating Officer at Atria Senior Living. “We began our green efforts with small changes; now, creating and maintaining environmentally-friendly practices has become part of our day-to-day operations.”

Atria’s carbon-reducing efforts began in early 2009 when the company kicked off its “Go Green with Atria” campaign. The campaign began with the installation of more than 140,000 compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) light bulbs in all Atria communities and at the corporate Support Center. The switch resulted in an energy savings of 37 million kWh of electricity – the emissions-equivalent of taking 6,000 cars off the road.

Other efforts by the company to increase environmental sustainability include newly-functioning solar roofs at two communities in New York and New Jersey, as well as a partnership with Shaw Industries Group Inc., the world’s largest carpet manufacturer, to create a formula for 100 percent recyclable carpeting. To date, approximately 340,000 yards of the recyclable carpet have been installed in Atria communities nationwide, saving 600 tons of carpet from landfills.

Seeing the company’s first solar panel projects and LEED certification achievement come to fruition are indicators of the company’s direction and goals for the future, according to Harding.

“Our commitment is to provide residents with the best possible senior living experience, and increasing our environmentally-friendly practices plays a key role in that commitment,” said Harding. “We are proud of the fact that we are achieving larger, more measurable sustainability goals and doing our part to help ensure clean resources are available for future generations.”

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