Energy Efficiency Built into Design of Wisconsin Senior Living Facility

Former Governor Tommy Thompson applauds Focus on Energy Assistance to Riverwood Senior Living


(Wisconsin Dells) – The residents of Riverwood Senior Living-Eagle’s Nest are discovering first-hand how FOCUS ON ENERGY® worked with Wisconsin Dells Power and Light and Alliant Energy offering incentives for using energy-efficient equipment in a new facility. The senior living residence, located on the scenic Lower Wisconsin River, has 30 assisted living apartments, 22 memory care suites, and a Community Café. Riverwood installed LED lighting, occupancy sensors with in-place switches, and in-floor heat throughout the entire building using more than $10,000 in incentives from Focus on Energy.

“It was most important that we create a safe and enjoyable home for our residents,” said Tommy G. Thompson, Riverwood Owner. “Fresh air is pulled into each room and pushed out an extensive exhaust system. Ten-foot ceilings, tall windows, and new LED Lights ensure each apartment is well lit so our residents can enjoy the natural beauty of Riverwood. Focus on Energy and PACE Wisconsin allowed us to meet our goals and use these savings for hiring and training our exceptional staff.”

The project earned $10,458.52 in Focus on Energy incentives for its energy-efficiency efforts. Riverwood partnered with other firms throughout the project that also embraced sustainability and energy efficiency, including HBI Builders, Findorff, and Community Living Solutions. Riverwood used the guidance and expertise of local contractors Muchow Heating & Air Conditioning, United Electric and Zimmerman Plumbing for the project.

“A great deal of thought went into the energy efficiency component during the building design,” said Mary Panzer, one of the Owner/Developers of Riverwood. “We were committed to utilizing the Focus on Energy program from the start to provide resident friendly and energy efficient amenities and plan to continue to work with the program on subsequent phases of the Riverwood campus.”

“Staff and residents are grateful for the extra safety features provided by separate air sourcing for each apartment during the past year,” said Laurie Kreul, Riverwood Administrator.

Riverwood is also the first senior living project in the state to use Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE Wisconsin). This innovative Wisconsin energy program allows property owners to receive low-cost, long-term loans to complete energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation improvements. Riverwood's PACE consultant identified the new facility as 38% more energy efficient than what is typically required by code.

Columbia County and the Wisconsin Counties Association were instrumental to provide the leadership and foresight to pass the enabling resolution that allowed Riverwood to participate in the PACE Wisconsin program.

“Riverwood Eagle’s Nest has set the bar high for senior care in Wisconsin,” said Dan Carey of One Community Bank. “Its state-of-the-art facility provides a quiet and relaxing setting with superior care. We were proud to provide the PACE Financing on the project which is a specialized lending program used to facilitate the funding of energy efficient design and construction. PACE pairs nicely with Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program to encourage these improvements."

“Riverwood’s vision taps growing trends in senior living—providing care through what is essentially a small community that features hospitality components and amenities,” said Terry McLaughlin, Chairman Community Living Solutions. “Focus on Energy and PACE Wisconsin allowed Riverwood to meet the initial vision of the owners for energy efficiency while serving the needs of a small community.”

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