John Sattelmayer

At Horizon Bay we did a good job of educating employees and residents about our sustainability efforts. Brookdale Senior Living was more focused on high-level tasks, such as energy conservation. We’ve combined the best practices of both entities. Brookdale had taken a huge step and replaced CFL bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs throughout its portfolio of retirement communities, and it brought that to Horizon Bay Realty’s communities. Horizon Bay, meanwhile, is helping Brookdale engage and involve its residents with its sustainability efforts.

“We can really change lives by what we do. We want the space to facilitate interaction. We want people to
feel at home.”

To reach residents, we’ve formed a Green Living Council. The goal of the council is to increase the visibility of our sustainability efforts. In the past, we did this more on the maintenance side. Now we’re directing it to high-level executives and marketing people. That, we think, will take our message to the residents.

Our message is that our residents are critical to this process. It’s up to residents to help affect change inside their apartments. You don’t want to leave your windows open while running the heat or air conditioning, for example. You’d want to use energy-efficient bulbs, and you’d want to recycle.

Residents are reacting surprisingly well. I was at a community in Missouri the other day, looking at a landscaping program, and I was surprised by how informed residents are on the subject. They know we’re looking at plants that are native to their environment and want to plant responsibly so we don’t have to water all the time.


John Sattelmayer began his career as a culinary intern at Disney World, but he is now the senior director of corporate development at Brookdale Senior Living. In October 2011, Brookdale acquired Horizon Bay Retirement Living, providing John opportunities to improve both groups’ sustainability programs. For more info visit

Partnerships have been an important part of our efforts. We’re working with local biological societies, such as the Missouri Biological Society, which preselects plants that are appropriate for the local climate via its Plants of Merit program. Contractors are also important because they work on projects based on our direction. For example, we selected Branch Construction, a general contractor, because its management believes the same things we do. We don’t want to go into a building, tear everything down, and bring in new stuff if we can save anything. Branch has done a great job helping us repurpose.

Next, I see us doing more work with daylight harvesting. As we work on landscaping projects, we’re looking at it not only from the perspective of improving curb appeal, but also from the perspective of improving the view from indoors. That makes you realize the importance of bringing the outdoors inside. If you can get more daylight inside, you can reduce your lighting load, thereby reducing energy consumption. But you also improve the residents’ experience with natural lighting.

We can really change lives by what we do. We pay special attention to making sure we have the proper lighting; comfortable, perfect temperature; pleasing colors. We want the space to facilitate interaction. We want people to feel at home. When I walk into a dining room and realize it’s comfortable because it’s filled with happy residents, I’m happy.

Up Close & Personal

What was your first job? I was a culinary intern at Disney World.

If you weren’t in your current field, what would you do? I love what I do. This job found me. But I started in food service, then started building kitchens, so I’d probably work in a hotel.

What inspires you? Making people happy.

Describe yourself in three words. Enthusiastic, efficient, and effective.

Your hidden talent? Project management. I’m good at bringing it all together.