Page E1.1 . 09 August 2006                     
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    LEED Gold Elder Living

    by ArchitectureWeek

    As "green" principles begin to take hold in U.S. firms, those architects who have been following them the longest are demonstrating a refined and diverse understanding of what "sustainability" means to a building's occupants. For the NBBJ design team for the Washington State Veterans' Home, sustaining the elderly inhabitants' quality of life was a key component of the design intent.

    This meant, for instance, not only reducing energy costs but installing a mechanical system that would allow the residents to engage in the old-fashioned activity of opening and closing windows to suit their comfort. It also meant reducing nighttime glare from lights and selecting materials that were not only sustainably harvested or manufactured, but that would smell "homey."

    The new skilled-nursing facility in Retsil was commissioned by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). The client's interest was in reducing operating expenses and creating a model for future facilities in anticipation of an enormous growth in the state's elderly population.

    The WDVA asked the architects to provide a physical environment that would encourage confidence and independence among patients expected to enhance their ability to function and to provide a familiar setting with the comforts and privacy of home.

    By all reports, the facility satisfies these goals and, as icing on the cake, it was given LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in May 2006.   >>>

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    Washington State Veterans' Home, designed by NBBJ.
    Photo: George White

    ArchWeek Image

    High windows with large overhangs provide daylight without excessive solar heat gain.
    Photo: Matt Milios

     

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