Top 10 States for LEED 2015: Mercy Ridge Retirement Center
The 2015 Top 10 States list honors transformative efforts at the state level to create healthier, more energy- and water-efficient places to live, learn, work and play. In 2015 alone, 1,633 projects were certified in the United States—equivalent to an incredible 275 million square feet.
In this series, we spotlight the standout LEED-certified projects that contributed to the overall 2015 Top 10 rankings. Join us in celebrating some of the best examples of green building design, construction and operation.
Mercy Ridge Retirement Center
The Mercy Ridge Retirement Community in Timonium, Md., is a continuing care retirement community offering both independent and assisted living. Originally certified LEED Silver in 2011, Mercy Ridge was recertified LEED Gold for Existing Buildings in October 2015. Residents agree that LEED improvements to Mercy Ridge not only bolster their quality of life, but also help them do their part to lessen impacts on the environment, keeping the world green for future generations.
Mercy Ridge sits on a 32-acre campus, which features landscaped grounds, dining and recreational amenities and residences. The project scored high marks for indoor environmental quality on the LEED Scorecard, using indoor air quality best management practices and implementing strategies to boost occupant comfort and green cleaning. Additionally, 50 percent of occupied space offers daylighting and quality views. Water efficiency measures also helped the project achieve a 15 percent reduction in indoor potable water use. Following its initial certification, the project’s sustainable technologies, strategies and design were estimated to save the community more than $40,000 a year.
While the newly recertified facilities help residents fulfill their ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship, their passion for sustainability goes beyond the walls. The Mercy Ridge Sustainability Committee, born out of residents’ interest in the project’s recertification process, quickly evolved from a small volunteer group to an official resident committee leading change and promoting successes of sustainable stewardship throughout the community. One of the committee’s biggest accomplishments to date is Mercy Ridge’s week-long Earth Day celebration, which included a campus tour, community paper shred and recycle event, presentations and a trip to the compost facility that services Mercy Ridge.
Maryland ranks No. 2 on the 2015 Top 10 States list, up from No. 3 in 2014. There were 127 projects certified in the state in 2015, representing 17.6 million square feet of LEED-certified space—equal to 3.06 square feet per resident. Maryland’s strong showing helps solidify the mid-Atlantic region as the heartland of green building in the United States. Unsurprisingly, Baltimore boasts the most LEED-certified space in the state, but proximity to Washington, D.C., has also spurred considerable growth for LEED in College Park, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg.
Between 2015 and 2018, green construction in Maryland is expected to contribute $17.04 billion to the state’s GDP, including $6.46 billion in labor earnings and 110,000 jobs, according to USGBC’s Green Economic Impact Study, conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton. The study also concluded that LEED alone is anticipated to add $9.64 billion to the Illinois GDP, including 413,000 jobs and $24.22 billion in labor earnings, as well as $375.5 million in tax revenue by 2018.
Other notable projects in the state include the LEED Gold National Archives building in College Park, and the LEED Gold Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown.