Green Retirement Living
A green retirement community is a facility that is environmentally sustainable and is energy-efficient. Green retirement communities are proud to assert how they use little or no toxic materials and chemicals. The communities use organic means to live so that they have less of a negative impact on the planet.
More and more people are becoming interested and want to live in these communities. The green retirement communities give the residents a more vibrant and exciting environment, compared to typical nursing or assisted living homes that are too closely similar to hospitals. Seniors who are aging, feel more comfortable with the type of environment that the green retirement communities offer. The open spaces, natural features, and energy-efficient actions make the residents feel more engaged and helpful to the environment around them.
What Qualifies as a Green Retirement Community?
Green Community Adjustments
There are many adjustments that must be made in order to be a green retirement community:
- The facility or community must meet or exceed the EPA’s energy Star standards
- Meet or exceed indoor air quality standards
- Uses local or recycled building materials
- Have a high standard of water conservation and storm water management
- Causes little carbon footprint on the planet
- Uses renewable energy or energy-efficient and have minimal or no carbon use
Green Community Characteristics
There are also other characteristics of a green retirement community that residents look for or ask for such as:
- Low-flow toilets
- Energy-efficient light bulbs
- Eco-friendly heating and cooling systems such as geothermal heating
- Low-VOO paints
- Public transportation or nearby locations to decrease carbon footprint (typically the residents will want an urban lifestyle since it would be better way to reduce the carbon footprint by walking to the places they need to go)
- Grow their own food such as fruit and vegetables
- Airy spaces and more windows for natural light
- Low or no toxic-made indoor furnishings
Green Community Certifications
Green standards have two official types: Energy Star rating on appliances and LEED certification. An energy star rating on an appliance is a label placed on by the government that decrees the appliance is energy-efficient. LEED certification is a program created by the United States Green Building Council to construct a more energy-efficient and healthier way of life in a building. There are four levels: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. The higher the level the more energy-efficient the building; each level of certification is worth having even the lowest, since getting a certification is not easy. Receiving a certification means those in charge of the building made many adjustments such as:
- Drought-resistant plants
- Recycled materials
- Installing large windows
- Improving air quality
How do you tell which Retirement Communities are Green?
It is very important to ask questions of a community that claims to be a green community, because they may say the community is eco-friendly when they truly are not. Communities that claim they are green may have obvious signs that indicate otherwise such as a golf course, which requires a large quantity of water or small windows that do not allow enough natural light.
It would be wise to check out the place and look for evidence of eco-friendly signs. Also checking to see if the facility has a LEED certification and energy star ratings is a sure way to see if the community is truly green.