Design Group Helped Property Achieve Three-Star Austin Green Building Rating

A look into the sustainable senior living community
By Chelsie Butler
October 07, 2013

Dallas-based Faulker Design Group recently helped achieve a three-star Austin Green Building rating for the Westminster, a flagship Platinum Living property and 500+ senior living community in downtown Austin. The rating is equivalent to LEED Silver certification.

“Working with P+W architects, Faulkner was looking to change the norm for the Platinum Living generation and implement a design standard that sets the stage for sustainability and affects the way people live in a more positive, life-affirming way,” said Adrienne Akin Faulkner, president and founder of Faulkner Design Group. “With this standard in place, these spaces can have a higher perceived value, are built for longevity and are seen not only as innovative, but also forward thinking. This makes the environment more usable and flexible for as many people as possible, for many years to come.”

Another standout of the newly renovated space is that it also features a plethora of sustainable, energy-efficient interior design elements, including: 

  • Outdoor living spaces, including a courtyard, raised garden and walking track
  • Improved HVAC systems and controls, which achieves a 22 percent energy savings
  • Low-flow fixtures, storm water runoff controls, improved irrigation methods that have resulted in a 36 percent water usage reduction and 75 percent irrigation reduction
  • Enhancements to onsite public transportation options with new bike racks, showers and electric car-charging stations
  • The incorporation of natural lighting in the design with floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as full cutoff fixtures to reduce indoor lighting use
  • Energy Star-rated appliances in the kitchens and bathrooms
  • Efficient material usage to eliminate 82 percent of construction debris through the use of locally sourced products and the reuse of existing building elements

In terms of the kitchens at Westminster, they were designed as open spaces and feature granite countertops, modern appliances and sink-in islands. The bathrooms were given universal design consideration in that they were designed to be adaptable as residents’ needs changed. According to Faulkner, the bathrooms can be outfitted with amenities to accommodate wheelchairs walking aids, as needed.

“We’ve always felt like it was important to implement these types of elements into our Platinum Living communities because a universally accepted, universally functional, well-designed living and working space promotes wellness, health, mobility and efficiency,” she added. “As a result, promoting this “Universal Understanding” of universally designed elements results in a better quality of life, which is something we strive to create in all of our communities." 

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