Future sustainability blends with Lake Union’s historical past

Ageis is building the first senior living center in Eastlake that will also be the world’s greenest and takes a page from the New York Times bestseller Boys in the Boat, about the UW’s 1936 Olympic rowing team. Its architecture will pay tribute to that time with a modern shell house design. The address was also changed to 1936 to play up that historic connection. The building, part of the Aegis Living portfolio of senior assisted living centers, broke ground the first week of November 2019 at the corner of Eastlake Ave. E. and Newton St.

Like most of the new construction on Eastlake Ave., the building will take advantage of the new height limits, standing at six stories above ground and one story below. The structure will have 79 units consisting of studios and one bedrooms; some will be memory care units. There will also be on site amenities including “a spa/wellness center with a salon, massage parlor and fitness center,” and “signature for Aegis Living communities, residents will enjoy a variety of gathering spaces to spend time with family, friends and neighbors, including an onsite cinema and sky lounge and a terrace with views of Lake Union,” according to their press release.

Below ground will feature 18 parking spaces, 16 bicycle parking spaces, two loading docks and additional storage areas.

Green building is a challenge for senior living centers because of the facilities continuous energy use due to being occupied 95 percent of the time, said a company representative. But they’re meeting that challenge. According to Aegis’ press release:

“The building is on track to be the first assisted living community to meet the most rigorous global green/sustainability building standards with a Living Building Challenge certification and is participating in the City of Seattle’s Living Building Pilot Program. In addition to a novel emission-free design approach, the organization developed new energy and water consumption benchmarks for the senior living category….

“Built to be emission-free, Aegis Living Lake Union will use standard electricity to support the entire 70,000 square-foot building, including large appliances and kitchen equipment, significantly reducing overall environmental impact. The community will offset more than the building’s total energy demand through various energy reduction measures, an onsite solar array and an offsite solar energy farm. Key features include improved insulation such as triple pane windows and thermal insulation for exterior walls, heat recovery through forced-air ventilation, a recirculating heat pump system, LED lighting and sensors to monitor use, installation of all high efficiency appliances and more. The community will save approximately 320,000 kilowatt-hours annually – equivalent to planting more than 12,000 trees each year. Another 1.7 million kilowatt hours will be generated between the solar array and offsite energy farm.

“All non-drinking water will be supplied through captured rainwater and treated greywater; the community will reserve potable water for consumption only. These measures will save more than 140,000 gallons of water annually for the life of the building.”

The street level will have an Aegis restaurant known as Queen Bee Café and be open to the public. Aegis donates 100 percent of the profits from the café to local charities.

The building was supposed to open spring of this year, 2021, but due to the pandemic that’s been delayed to Winter 2022. They are taking resident applications now.

A version of this article first appeared on the Lake Union Watershed blog.

Written by Judy Smith

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