“A new senior housing community in Bemidji, Minn., developed by Ecumen has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
Ecumen developed the LEED-certified community, which opened in 2009, for North Country Health Services. Called WoodsEdge at North Country, the Bemidji site has 107 apartments, which include independent living, assisted living and memory care.
“Green senior housing will undoubtedly become a larger part of the country’s landscape,” said Steve Ordahl, Ecumen senior vice president of business and fund development. “I anticipate we’ll begin to see that reflected more and more in land use. For example, one opportunity we see is more village-type housing concepts that integrate intergenerational housing, dining, shopping, recreation and other features in one location.”
Innovation in design, water efficiency, light pollution reduction, and energy use are among the categories the U.S. Green Building Council awarded points to the Ecumen project.
Nearly 600,000 square feet of native plantings surround WoodsEdge at North Country. Potable water use is being reduced by 23 percent through the use of water-efficient sinks, showers and toilets. More than 900 tons of construction waste was diverted from landfills to recycling. Many of the building materials originated within 500 miles of the site. Underground parking at the site lessens impervious space and reduces storm water runoff. Preferred parking spaces are featured for low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicles. Light waste was reduced through energy efficient lighting. And a number of the interior design features are created from recycled materials.
Ecumen, which is based in Shoreview, Minn., is the most innovative leader of senior housing and services, empowering individuals to live richer and fuller lives. Ecumen provides a wide array of senior housing and services, including a senior housing development division that provides consulting and management services nationally. Ecumen has been named 6 years in a row by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal as one of Minnesota’s Best Places to Work.”
Materially, we all live in a finite world. As our world continues to grow in size, the amount of stress species around the globe puts on our planet increases. Plain and simple. There is a solution to lessen the amount of stress we as humans put on our environment: sustainability through increased efficiency. Whether it be light fixtures, power plants, electronics, natural resources, or waste, the increased efficiency equates to the same or more for less. That’s where the LEED certification comes in. The LEED certification evaluates both existing or future buildings’ impact on the environment, noted above in the article above. One of the metrics used to evaluate a building lies in how efficient its light fixtures are. It should be duly noted, that a light bulb with a high efficiency rating does not, in itself, reduce nor eliminate light pollution. It’s all about the shielding. When choosing to modify or purchase a new light fixture, make sure it’s 100% shielded, to ensure darker skies for everyone to enjoy!
Let there be night!