Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 19, 2011

New senior community emphasizes green lifestyles

By Daniel Human
Tribune business writer

— A handful of residents in a few-month-old apartment complex listened as two green building experts told their audience members what they need to do to conserve energy and practice other types of green living.

It was part of an orientation program Brentwood Greene senior apartment set up for the community’s residents.

As Christin Kappel, a “green rater,” and Doug Weatherby, the building’s architect, spoke, the group in front of them nodded appreciatively to the advice that was intended to help them live more efficiently and environmentally friendly.

Residents, who are 55 and older, began moving last October into the apartment building, which is on Dodge Street just west of Markland Mall.

The complex has leased 42 of its 60 units, which come in one and two bedrooms and two bedrooms with a den, said Property Manager Tara Frank.

Visitors toured the three-story apartment complex Friday during a grand opening.

While residents listened to lectures on how they can save more than 20 percent on energy usage by using Energy Star appliances to the merits of flicking off a light, visitors strolled through information booths and toured the complex.

A laundry room, a fitness room, a hair salon, a reading and computer room, and a children’s playroom are all amenities included within the apartment community.

Across the parking lot from the building’s entrance, Brentwood Greene has cleared and fenced in space for a pet park. The apartment allows residents to keep pets that are 25 pounds or less.

Behind the building, residents have access to a community garden where they can grow whatever they want to plant.

Charlene Wray, senior vice president of operations for the apartment’s parent company, The Woda Group, said the company settled on building an independent senior living complex after market surveys showed the demand.

The company manages about 150 properties, 35 of which are senior living, in nine states.

Rent for apartments runs between $390 and $625 per month. The property accepts housing vouchers funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The building is seeking LEED Certification, a program that ranks buildings depending on how green they are.

Kappel, who is helping Brentwood Greene through the LEED process, said the company would know within four to six weeks whether it received the status.

Wray acknowledged building green comes with higher initial expenses because of pricier materials and appliances, but eventually the lower monthly and annual expenses pay off the investment.

“We don’t build it to turn around and sell it,” she said. “This is a long-term investment, and we want to help our residents.”

Resident Tad Dunlap moved to Brentwood Greene in November. Electric and gas bills during the high-costing winter in his two-bedroom unit were about half what they were at his previous apartment, which was also two bedrooms, he said.

“I’m impressed with the utility bills being so low,” he said.

• Daniel Human is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. He can be reached at 765-454-8570

or at daniel.human