Thought Leadership

Marvella highlights Presbyterian Homes & Services’ sustainability efforts



image of Marvella in St. PaulEarth Day—held annually on April 22—inspires people across the globe to preserve, protect and sustain the planet. Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), too, seeks to be a wise manager of environmental resources, motivated by the biblical concept and PHS value of stewardship.

“Our mindset is that we are responsible to be good stewards of God’s resources and of residents’ resources,” says Lisa Albain, senior development manager at Senior Housing Partners (SHP), the PHS project development arm.

Lisa’s work overseeing the Marvella development at Highland Bridge in the Highland Park neighborhood of Saint Paul is the organization’s latest—and most comprehensive—effort to create an environmentally sustainable future.

Marvella offers a continuum of care for residents aged 62 and older. It includes a total of 300 residences featuring a mix of independent living, assisted living, and memory care apartments on two adjoining blocks, near the banks of the Mississippi River.

Lisa notes that Marvella incorporates many earth-friendly features.

  • Electricity throughout the Highland Bridge Master Development will be available from 100% carbon-free and renewable sources.
  • LEED Silver Certified, Marvella’s buildings will use an estimated 30 percent less indoor water and 50 percent less outdoor water compared to typical designs. They will also include a 40-kilowatt solar array located on top of both buildings, reducing the community’s carbon footprint.
  • LED light fixtures, high efficiency MagicPak units for HVAC systems, and Energy Star appliances will create significant energy savings for residents.
  • Stormwater in the Highland Bridge neighborhood will be collected for on-site treatment, capturing 94 percent of total suspended solids, and improving the capture of phosphorous by 75 percent.
  • The Marvella Community is currently projecting 20 electric vehicle charging stalls in the resident parking areas and two “fee for charge” public pay stations at each of the visitor parking areas.
  • Two bike storage rooms will make it convenient for both residents and employees to bike, rather than drive.
  • Public transportation is less than one-quarter mile from the development.

image of Lisa Albain“Thoughtfulness goes into all of our development work,” says Lisa. “We’re interested not just in sustainability in year one of our projects, but in providing benefits for the long term. If it is the right thing to do and we have the capacity to do it, we’re going to do it,” she observes.

Lisa says stewardship at SHP goes beyond developing energy-efficient, earth-friendly buildings. It includes sharing SHP’s knowledge with other nonprofit providers of senior care. “We don’t necessarily see other businesses serving seniors in our market as competitors,” Lisa notes. “We see them as co-laborers. The demand is too great for just us to meet.

“We’re doing our best to meet the demand for senior housing and care,” she asserts. “Sharing our knowledge of development with other nonprofit providers to help them build communities is a win-win situation for everyone.”

Lisa believes everyone has a role to play in using resources wisely. “It doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking, like what we are doing at Marvella,” Lisa explains. “It can be in the day-to-day simple things.”

Lisa’s Earth-care ideas include:

  • Turning off the water “between brushes” when brushing teeth
  • Turning off lights when leaving rooms
  • Turning down heating at bedtime in the winter and being mindful not to blast the AC in the summer at night
  • Walking, bike riding, taking public transportation, and ridesharing, rather than driving alone

“Sometimes when we look at a problem, it appears so big that we feel helpless,” Lisa says, “but if we each do a little something, together we can make a big difference. God has called us to be good stewards of His resources,” Lisa concludes. “We simply need to be intentional about it.”



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