Today it’s not uncommon for a senior living community to achieve LEED© certification, but back in 2009, it wasn’t just uncommon, it was unheard of. And with the return on investment of becoming LEED© certified not being realized until seven years later, who could fault developers for deciding not to pursue certification. Yet that wasn’t the decision Ingleside made when building the brand-new Ingleside at King Farm community in 2009. According to Executive Director Marilyn Leist, “a deliberate decision was made by the board members to become LEED© certified when the building was being designed,” and because of that decision, the community became the second senior living community in the nation to achieve LEED© certification.
As part of the LEED© certification process, buildings are rated as to whether they fulfill certain objectives. For example, under the Suitable Sites category, criteria include Heat island effect – non-roof or Stormwater design – quantity and quality control. If a building fulfills these objectives, they earn a number of points within that category. Ingleside at King Farm earned a scoring of 27/69, with a score of 8 out of 14 in Sustainable Sites, 5 out of 5 in Innovation and 6 out of 15 in Indoor Environmental Quality. Incorporating these objectives into the community’s design has resulted in positive and tangible impacts upon the residents’ lives. The community’s proximity to resources, public transportation and availability of bicycle storage (three criteria within the Sustainable Sites category) allows residents to take the bus or walk instead of having to drive. And by maximizing the open space around the community during the planning process (another criteria within Sustainable Sites), residents live surrounded by protected habitat.
Apart from the community’s design, sustainability is a part of the lifestyle found at Ingleside at King Farm. “At our community we have easy access to the outdoors” and offer outdoor activities, says Mark Scoffield, director of construction management. “Our residents are conscious of the need to recycle,” and we work with a very active resident recycling group, Leist adds. Following apartment turnovers, items are donated. Other sustainable practices include using recycling products in the dining program, such as compostable coffee cups, and Leist says the only concern the residents have about this practice is having the price be reasonable.
Even though residents may not understand what being LEED© certified entails, they do understand its conservation benefits, Scoffield says, because they see its benefits in energy management, which means lower utility bills. Having a very active resident group which promotes energy conservation and makes sure neighbors are on board “lends a very strong atmosphere of being mindful of what you do and how you do it,” he explains. Because of the residents’ efforts, the community received the Multi-Family Property Excellence in Recycling from Montgomery County in 2010, 2011 and 2013.
With a possible expansion in the works, Scoffield says that while they will not pursue LEED© certification, they will incorporate many LEED requirements because “the payback makes sense to follow LEED© requirements for certification.” The City of Rockville also has 35 sustainable requirements that have to be incorporated into the new construction. What this means for current and future residents of Ingleside of King Farm is that they can expect even a higher standard of living.