Kaitlin Veenstra, Associate director of architecture–sustainability, Ryan A+E Inc. (Chicago)

Kaitlin Veenstra, Associate director of architecture–sustainability, Ryan A+E Inc. (Chicago)

Photo credit: Klehr Photo & Ryan Companies US, Inc.

In her role as Ryan A+E Inc.’s national sustainability leader, Kaitlin (Kaity) Veenstra plays an integral role in setting the sustainability strategy for the firm. Her environmental passion has sparked many new initiatives at Ryan A+E that have directly impacted senior living projects, from photovoltaics and wellness certifications to research into smart thermostats to improve energy efficiency and operations.

In the past two years, she’s advised on more than 11 senior living projects across the country, including achieving LEED Silver certification for the Presbyterian Homes Marvella campus in St. Paul, Minn., and navigating the Austin Energy Green Building Program at Grand Living at the Grove in Austin, Texas. At the latter, she helped the team identify value-add strategies that aligned with the operator’s brand goals such as high-efficiency residential appliances, electric vehicle infrastructure, and healthy interior finish materials.

Clarendale Six Corners, Chicago

Veenstra brings her expertise in LEED, Fitwel, and WELL rating systems to every project to help spark new ideas. For two new urban senior living communities, the 406,000-square-foot Clarendale Clayton in St. Louis and the 369,000-square-foot Clarendale Six Corners in Chicago, she helped owners navigate local code requirements and ordinances regarding sustainable design to make strategic choices that delivered a holistic, positive impact on both the environment and well-being of residents and staff.

Specifically, Clarendale Six Corners features a reconfiguration of amenity spaces from the ground level to the third floor, leveraging the tight urban site constraints as a value-add opportunity to reduce walking distance, facilitate resident engagement through multifunctional spaces, and reimagine outdoor terraces to bring nature and respite into the urban environment.

By incorporating a green roof into the project, the design simultaneously addresses stormwater runoff while enhancing views from resident units. Energy-efficient mechanical systems along with low-flow plumbing fixtures also helped the project meet Chicago’s Sustainable Development Construction Leaders.

Veenstra serves as a role model for other team members and future industry professionals who share her passion for creating a more resilient world.

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