Senior Care Center Goes Tankless for Long-term Green Strategy
The Silverleaf eldercare center in Austin, Texas, chose to install a Noritz tankless water heater to ensure a continuous, cost-efficient, hot-water supply for its residents.
Builder and developer Jason Brenizer’s vision was to create an assisted living option that would provide exceptional care without sacrificing the normalcy of day-to-day life.
Today, that vision has become a reality at the Silverleaf Eldercare Assisted Living Center in Austin, TX. Unlike traditional assisted living centers that are often large commercial buildings located far from major centers of population, Silverleaf is a converted, centrally located residential home within a short drive of metropolitan Austin.
“We wanted our residents to literally feel ‘at home’ by being in a location where friends and relatives could conveniently visit on a daily basis,” says Brenizer.
The development team located the existing home in a location in need of assisted-living care and began the remodel.
Going green and tankless
Chief among the remodelling priorities was ensuring that efficient, green products would make the home environmentally sustainable, while also effectively meeting the residents’ needs. Such products include LED, “circadian rhythm” lighting, installed throughout the home. The LED lighting serves two main purposes, says Brenizer:
“LED is more energy-efficient than incandescent or fluorescent lights, of course, but it also mimics the sunlight, which helps maintain the circadian rhythms of the elderly occupants, who are indoors for most of the day.”
Equally important as having effective lighting was ensuring that all 12 occupants have ready access to hot water for hygiene and other needs. The 3,500-square-foot home has two full bathrooms with showers, three half-baths, a large gourmet kitchen and two washers that operate most of the day. “Given the high potential for simultaneous, hot-water demand, we needed to guarantee we were covered,” says Brenizer.
He knew from the start that a conventional tank-style water heater or boiler would not meet his goals for the center. Storage-tank technology is ”very inefficient because it heats water even when it’s not needed. When it runs out of hot water, the residents are out of luck.”
Past travels to Europe and Asia had exposed Brenizer to tankless water heating technology, which heats water on demand — that is, only when needed — saving energy and meeting residents’ needs in the process. “I knew I wanted tankless from the get-go,” recalls Brenizer. “We spoke with several industry contractors, and they overwhelmingly recommended Noritz for its ease-of-installation and durability. I got the impression that Noritz builds quality.”
Reliability for the long-term
Brenizer and his team settled on installing the NRCP1112 unit, which was donated by Noritz. The entire job installation project, which took place in the home’s attic, spanned roughly five hours with no complications.
“The compact nature of the product meant we could install it out of sight,” explains Brenizer. “We would have never been able to put a storage tank in the attic, and would’ve had to use up space on the main level.”
Installing the Noritz unit has also made it easier for Silverleaf to pass mandatory, random, building inspections. “The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has a life safety code, which includes scalding prevention, that we have to meet, ” explains Brenizer. “Unlike with a storage tank water heater, the temperature on a tankless unit can be adjusted more quickly and precisely to keep it within the permissible temperature limit.”
Finally, on-demand hot water is saving the center energy while providing for all bathing, cooking and washing needs. “As a business, the lower cost of operation helps our bottom line; as a home for the elderly, the consistent hot-water supply ensures our residents will never be left in the cold,” says Brenizer.
Silverleaf Eldercare Center opened its doors during the summer of 2018 and recently moved in its first resident. “We look forward to welcoming more residents and are confident that products like the water heater from Noritz will make their stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible,” says Brenizer. He plans to continue using Noritz as he builds to his goal of 10 elderly care centers in metro Austin and other parts of Texas.
For more information on Noritz products, please visit www.noritz.com