The Horizon House retirement community takes conservation seriously. Many of the 595 residents grew up in the depression era and know a thing or two about making every penny count. That ethic helped guide the community to become the greenest retirement home in the state. Working together, residents, building managers, energy efficiency experts and Seattle City Light have instituted energy, water and waste conservation actions at the one million square foot complex that are saving tens of thousands of dollars on energy bills each year and avoiding tons of waste that could have ended up in landfills.
Horizon House is a vibrant continuing care retirement community located in the heart of downtown Seattle. The beautiful campus is home for seniors of every age and stage1.Established in 1961, Horizon House encourage creativity and individuality. This dynamic, urban retirement village is home to more than 550 older adults who have come together to share their interesting lives. Horizon House first benchmarked the energy performance of their campus in April 2011 to comply with a new City of Seattle ordinance.
Horizon House had its work cut out for them when they first set out to benchmark the retirement community as required by the City’s energy benchmarking and reporting ordinance. The complex was constructed in four phases over more than 50 years, and has more than 160 individual energy and water meters3. Building managers used a Resource Conservation Manager who worked closely with Seattle City Light to make benchmarking work for their unique community. The community was benchmarked successfully in April 2011, a full year ahead of the city’s first deadline.Building managers say benchmarking helped them take a more comprehensive look at how resources were being used and opened up a wealth of new savings opportunities, critical for a complex that typically expends $1 million each year on energy, water and waste combined.
The energy saving measures at Horizon House include heating and cooling (HVAC) upgrades in common areas, a major upgrade of more than 300 lighting fixtures and installation of occupancy sensors in stairwells, parking garages, offices and community spaces. These improvements are now saving more than 220,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough electricity to power 22 homes for a year3.
During 2013, Horizon House continued to identify immediate opportunities to reduce resource consumption and looked for every opportunity to engage both residents and staff in the process. The result was savings in excess of $100,000 compared to a 2010 baseline year. Conservation improvements were accounted for when budgeting for the year, but improvements exceeded expectations, resulting in nearly $31,000 in additional savings. Much of these savings can be attributed to the commitment residents have made to reduce their resource consumption versus the installation of more efficient Infrastructure2.