Cristalina PARC is Striving for LEED® Gold Certification

in News

Written by PARC Retirement Living

Ever since the early planning stages for our newest residence – Cristalina PARC in Kelowna – we knew we wanted nothing less for the building than LEED® Gold Certification – the international standard for sustainability excellence.

Three other PARC residences have already achieved the certification:

This makes PARC the only independent senior living company in Canada to have the majority of its residences LEED® Gold certified.

What is LEED® Gold?

LEED® stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s the global standard for leadership in green building. A LEED® certification verifies that the building has been designed and constructed to minimize environmental impact.

By working toward the certification, buildings lower their carbon emissions, conserve resources and reduce operating costs by prioritizing sustainable practices. And they create a healthier environment for their residents and neighbours!

To become LEED® Gold certified, a building must undergo third-party verification of performance excellence in seven areas:

  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Innovation in design
  • Regional priority

Needless to say, we are thrilled to be among the limited number of retirement communities around the world that rank high in all of these categories to achieve LEED® Gold each year.

Leading the way

At Cristalina, we’ve focused on ensuring a high quality of life for residents – including better-quality air and plenty of natural light. Here are a few of the main reasons Cristalina PARC will qualify for LEED® Gold:

Energy efficiency
Cristalina PARC is slated to use at least 25 per cent less energy than a traditional building. This results in 520,000kWh of energy savings per year. Yet inside, our spaces are always comfortable and climate controlled.

How do we do more with less? For starters, high-performance windows and insulation (beyond the level required by LEED® Gold standards), seal our building envelope tightly, keeping our indoor spaces cool in summer and cozy in winter. Multiple centralized and highly efficient air-source heat and air conditioning systems also help keep our suites and amenity spaces comfortable at all times. Plus, greenery-covered open spaces (equal to 11 per cent of our site area) and reflective roof surfaces reduce the heat island effect, which helps to keep urban spaces cooler in the summer.

Energy-efficient elevators and appliances, and passive solar shading also help Cristalina PARC save energy.

Healthy air quality
Creating a healthy indoor environment for residents, staff and visitors was incredibly important in the design of Cristalina PARC. Heat-recovery ventilators installed in our suites, amenity areas and commercial spaces ensure constant, top-notch air quality, for instance. Our communal spaces are also equipped with carbon dioxide sensors, which adjust outdoor air flow based on occupancy, for constant high air quality. Walk-off mats installed in all entryways trap and prevent outdoor pollutants and allergens from entering the building. Plus, all of our interior materials and finishes are low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds), and only high-quality green housekeeping products are used for cleaning.

Design for ultimate well-being
Life at Cristalina PARC is good for the body and soul – by design. Open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling windows maximize wellness-enhancing natural light, along with soul-stirring views of Lake Okanagan and Kelowna’s stunning surroundings. This is no accident: research proves that direct views of nature and plenty of daylight keep the heart and circadian rhythm healthy, improving sleep and daytime alertness. Researchers at Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment even found that green buildings with design features like Cristalina PARC’s improve cognitive function by 61 to 101 per cent. And reduced energy usage also means reduced costs – and those are savings we’re able to pass along to our residents.

In actuality, there are dozens of ways that our new residence is environmentally friendly. Here are a few others:

  1. Site Location: The residence offers exceptional access to transit and bike routes, as well as to numerous services and retail shops within walking distance.
  2. Green Transportation: We offer electric vehicle charging stations and a car sharing program.
  3. Heat Island Effect Reduction: Dark materials used for roofs and paving create hot microclimates because they absorb more sunlight. By using lighter materials, we can help to keep our neighbourhood cooler during the summer months.
  4. Water Use Reduction: Cristalina’s landscaping is water efficient and features local or drought-resistant plant life. The building also includes water efficient plumbing fixtures such as taps and toilets.
  5. Energy Performance: Compared to a baseline design, Cristalina PARC has reduced energy usage by 57 per cent. This is thanks to better insulation, windows and energy efficient lights and appliances.
  6. Indoor Environment Quality: High-quality materials, paints and adhesives have been chosen to eliminate harmful dusts and vapours. MERV-13 air filters have been installed in Cristalina’s suites and amenity areas, and MERV-14 filters are used in corridors. Both MERV-13 and MERV-14 are suitable to filter out wildfire smoke, pollen and dust.

Combined with our Active LivingTM lifestyle and incredible location , it’s clear that Cristalina PARC residents have the opportunity to live their best lives every day. And we’ll soon have the certification to prove it.

Come and see for yourself why Cristalina PARC is set to become one of the best places to live for Kelowna seniors. Book a tour today!