Saving Green by Going Green By Cynthia Helzel M

oseley Architects is on a mission to change the way senior living providers think about energy

conservation. They’re working to make energy-conscious building design a natural part of planning senior living communities. This spring, their firm was recognized

when the EPA named them a 2018 EN- ERGY STAR Partner of the Year in the Service and Product Provider category. Moseley is one of only two commercial architecture firms to ever receive the award.

Outstanding dedication to energy conservation Moseley Architects is a multifaceted archi- tecture and engineering firm with a dedicat- ed sustainable design and energy efficiency group as well as a senior living design group. The ENERGY STAR program is a joint effort of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy to certify products and buildings that meet high energy efficiency standards. ENERGY STAR building design helps to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmo- sphere by creating buildings that use less energy. Every year, the agencies present Partner of the Year awards to select busi- nesses and organizations that demonstrate high achievement in energy efficiency. “Moseley Architects was chosen for this

award because they demonstrated a supe- rior commitment to energy efficiency and sustainable building design,” said Lauren Hodges, director of communications at ENERGY STAR’s commercial buildings and industrial plants division. In 2016-2017, 13 of Moseley’s building

designs achieved “Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR” certification. The firm also gave presentations on energy efficiency at national and regional architecture confer-

ences, trained their own staff in ENERGY STAR design principles, and worked with the EPA to enhance its ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager program. Moseley also collects and analyzes data to monitor the ac- tual performance of the buildings it designs.

How senior living communities benefit from ENERGY STAR design “We feel sustainable design is not only an environmental responsibility, but it’s also good for business,” said Steve Ruiz, Mo- seley’s senior living group leader. “From a business standpoint, the return on invest- ment is considerable.” Initial investments in sustainable energy design will generally be recouped after several years of efficient operation. Having lower operating costs increases the overall ROI when building a new community and should bring greater profits if that community is later sold. Although Moseley designs senior living de-

velopments with ENERGY STAR guidelines in mind, the density-weighting factors used by the EPA and the cost of energy modeling have discouraged most clients from pursuing “Designed to Earn the ENERGY STAR” certification during the design phase. How- ever, a growing number of Moseley’s clients have successfully applied for and received the ENERGY STAR label for building op- erations, which can be applied for once their buildings are up and running. Sunrise Senior Living, for example, has

gained ENERGY STAR certification for many of its Moseley-designed buildings. “What we try to do as a firm is design a good energy strategy from the get-go,” Ruiz said. His firm recently attained LEED (Leader-

ship in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status for a new Kensington Senior Living building in Falls Church, Va. “We’re


one of the first in this area to have that for senior living,” Ruiz said. Harley Cook, Kensington founding part-

ner, has worked with Moseley for 24 years, first at Sunrise and now at Kensington. He explains that his company and its residents can take pride in working and living in en- ergy-efficient buildings. “First of all it saves on utilities, and that’s obviously a benefit to the development as well as to the environ- ment. The other benefit is participating in the sustainable movement,” Cook said.


• Work with architects who can design energy-efficient buildings for your region.

• Use the ENERGY STAR program’s Portfolio Manager to assess and guide energy-saving modifications and decisions.

• Choose the correct ENERGY STAR windows for your area. They often provide the best ROI of any sustainable design option.

• Invest in efficient HVAC systems. The money can be earned back in operating efficiency within three to five years.

• Install LED lighting. It uses at least 75 percent less energy than traditional bulbs.

• Insulate buildings with exterior rigid insulation rather than installing batted insulation in the walls.

• Seal the building shell to prevent air leaks.

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