Enso Village Taps ‘Green Bond’ Financing for New Community

It’s A First for Senior Living

Enso Village Aerial View
Enso Village Aerial Rendering

HEALDSBURG, Calif., May 18, 2021 — This month, Enso Village, a 275-unit greenfield life plan community, became the first senior living startup to receive approval for “Green Bond” financing for the construction of its new community in Healdsburg, California. The Enso Village Green Bonds will go on sale this month to raise $308 million to cover development costs, including design, marketing, land acquisition and construction of the project. Specialty investment bank Ziegler will issue the tax-exempt bonds.

Enso Village is a one-of-a-kind senior living community, co-sponsored by the San Francisco Zen Center and The Kendal Corporation, a leading nonprofit provider of senior living programs, services and communities. From the inception, the Zen Center and Kendal have worked to actualize their vision of Enso Village as a sustainable community.  Development services are being provided by Greenbrier Development, a national provider to the not-for-profit senior housing sector.  By all accounts, the Zen-inspired community has been well received by prospective residents as the community achieved 94% reservations within a few months of being offered.

“We at Ziegler are very excited about the many innovative aspects of this project, including the Green designation, which we hope will attract potential new bond investors who might not otherwise invest in senior living,” said Mary Muñoz, Senior Managing Director of Ziegler.  Sarkis Garabedian, Managing Director, added “Seeking the Green Bond designation started at the top with both sponsors holding sustainability as a guiding principle. Their consistent dedication to reducing the environmental footprint of Enso Village through green design, construction and operations was well-received by our approved verifier, Vigeo Eiris, securing an opinion of a ‘Robust’ contribution to sustainability under the Climate Bonds Standard.”

Early in the process, the Enso team brought in Thornton Tomasetti to consult on the new community.  This foresight helped lay the foundation for project’s eventual approval for Green Bond status which required the project had to meet or exceed certain environmental criteria based on the opinion of an independent third-party evaluator.

For Enso Village, this included choosing green building materials for both exterior and interior portions of the community and diverting 65% of all construction waste from landfills. But it goes beyond environmentally responsible construction. The community will use its food waste for composting on its urban farm and select drought-tolerant native plants to minimize water consumption.

Green energy production and energy-efficiency are integral to Enso Village. The community will have a solar array, estimated to produce enough solar energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 9,000 kilograms kgCO2e. In fact, Enso Village will exceed the LEED energy baseline by 24% in greenhouse gas reductions. Additionally, energy-efficient practices will be incorporated throughout the project, from kitchen appliances to heating, cooling and lighting systems.

For HKIT Architects, the architect of record and collaborative designer for the community, sustainability at Enso Village is an integral value in both the building design and the overall community with a focus on living lightly on the land. Together with Mithῡn, the consulting design architect for the project, the two firms worked together to help the project achieve the green bond approval. The community was designed to exceed both the LEED Gold standard and Title 24 including the use of sustainable materials and products, systems that utilize 100% renewable energy, water conservation in building design and landscape. The massing of the main buildings starts with a simple large form and breaks down into a series of smaller volumes connected by bridging elements. The smaller volumes are further highlighted through simple gable roof forms reminiscent of farm buildings.

The Green Bond designation is more commonly applied to projects developed solely for environmental purposes – think large municipal solar or wind projects, waste management programs, or water conservation projects. Enso Village, which has made a commitment to long-term sustainability and environmental stewardship, was approved for the offering through an independent third-party review – a requirement for issuance of the bonds.

“This represents not only a major milestone in the development of Enso Village, but also our very real commitment to the environment during our construction phase as well as for the future of the community,” said Stephen Bailey, Senior Vice President of New Business & Development for Kendal Corporation. “We hope that this will be the first of many new communities to achieve this designation.”

When completed in 2023, Enso Village will include 221 independent living residences, 30 assisted living apartments and 24 memory care accommodations located on 16 acres in the picturesque town of Healdsburg in Sonoma Wine Country. The community will boast a full-service restaurant, a bistro with a vegetarian menu inspired by the San Francisco Zen Center’s Greens Restaurant, an indoor pool with a sundeck, and located at the heart of the community, a Zendo for meditation and gathering.

“When we envisioned Enso Village, we consciously made decisions with an awareness of how our actions impact the earth,” said Susan O’Connell, Spiritual Director for Enso Village. “The approval of the Green Bonds recognizes our commitment to that goal in a very tangible way and aligns with our pledge to environmental stewardship and the merging of “vision” and clear, measurable outcomes.”