Three-Star Austin Energy Green Building Rating Awarded to Westminster

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Mayor Lee Leffingwell Receives Key to Auditorium to Support Aging Task Force Goals

Westminster leadership recently offered Mayor Lee Leffingwell a “key” to its new Harris Bell auditorium, which the mayor plans to use for Aging Task Force town halls to help the city support the needs of its fast-growing seniors population. The commemorative key was part of the grand opening of Westminster, a newly renovated and expanded 475-resident community near downtown Austin that is receiving national accolades for its state-of-the-art architectural features and its sustainable, energy efficient design elements.

“While Westminster is known as an Austin original, this forward-thinking community represents the future of what senior living can be, complementing the city’s long-term plans to welcome and support the needs of a rapidly growing boomer population,” said Mayor Lee Leffingwell who partnered with AARP, major health care providers and aging leadership to launch an Aging Task Force to make Austin an age-inclusive city for seniors.

The Brookings Institute ranks the Austin-metro area with the fastest-growing percentage of individuals ages 55 to 64 in the United States, and the second-fastest growing concentration of seniors ages 65 and higher. As a result, the city has ramped up efforts to provide a wider variety of housing to seniors at all income ranges. Goals support healthy living, independence, and enhanced technology to provide more information and public awareness about senior activities, caregiver assistance and transportation.

Mayor Leffingwell also presented to Westminster with the three-star Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) rating for creating a building that showcases energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality and efficient material use. The protection and conservation of resources and the creation of a healthy living environment were strategic priorities from the onset and led to the three-star AEGB rating.

The Future of Senior Living in a Wired, Energy Efficient World:

As communities nationwide catch the wave of the silver tsunami, the senior living industry is experiencing record development with modern communities built with larger common areas to accommodate extended families and guests. Designed by Perkins + Will architects, Westminster is considered a world-class model representing the future of senior living architecture. The community places an emphasis on wellness amenities such as in-house exercise studios, saline pools and whirlpools, and upscale locker rooms for extremely active, health-minded seniors; the campus is equipped with wireless technology to allow residents to communicate with family and friends on iPads and other mobile devices; residents can access portals for daily event calendars, billing, and menu options, and wireless technology is able to support Telehealth applications for residents’ medical needs 24-7.

Faulkner Design Group has built a reputation as one of the leading design firms in the nation with a focus on “smart” environmentally friendly senior living communities. According to its president and founder Adrienne Akin Faulkner, RID, LEED Green Associate, IIDA, ASID, future-driven communities like Westminster place an enhanced focus on conservation, with environmental improvements including outdoor living spaces with courtyards for dining, putting greens, raised gardens and walking loops.

With the expertise of Perkins + Will, TBG Partners landscape architects and the Faulkner design team Mayor Leffingwell recognized Westminster for achieving a three-star Austin Energy Green Building rating (equivalent to LEED Silver certification) due to the following sustainable features and green practices:

  • 22 percent energy savings through efficient HVAC and lighting systems, high performance glazing, and advanced controls;
  • Sustainable water practices including low-flow fixtures, storm water runoff controls, improved irrigation methods and Texas-landscaping that resulted in a 36 percent reduction in water usage indoors, and a 75 percent reduction in water used for irrigation;
  • Increased use of public transportation, new bicycle racks and showers for employees, as well as electric car charging stations;
  • Overall improvement in natural lighting design and use of full cutoff fixtures outdoors to reduce light pollution;
  • Efficient use of materials through the re-use of components from the existing building;
  • The materials footprint was further mitigated by diverting 82% of construction debris from the landfill, and by selecting high recycled content and Texas-sourced building materials;
  • Use of Energy Star-rated appliances;
  • Use of low-emitting materials throughout.

About Westminster

Established in 1967, Westminster, formerly Westminster Manor, is one of Austin’s first and most established retirement communities. Operating as a not-for-profit community, Westminster is managed by Life Care Services™ and provides modern residences, state-of-the-art health care and other amenities to residents seeking comfortable and culturally enriching lifestyles in Central Austin. For more information, call (512) 454-4711 or visit

About Austin Energy Green Building:

In 1991 Austin Energy Green Building (AEGB) developed the first rating system in the U.S. for evaluating the sustainability of buildings in Central Texas. By developing and maintaining its own Austin-specific rating systems, AEGB has the flexibility to carry out Austin’s aggressive climate protection and energy conservation goals. Since 1991, AEGB has rated more than 10,000 single family homes, 85 multifamily projects containing more than 12,500 dwelling units, and almost 200 commercial buildings exceeding 20 million square feet.

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Brooke Barnhill
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