Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Finding The Best Green Living Retirement Homes

Green LivingThe baby boomer generation is well known for being a part of green initiatives and green living ideas. Members of this generation lived through the birth of the technological age and saw multiple wars in which natural resources were destroyed. Thus, focus on green living only seems natural to many in retirement.
However, older individuals often meet challenges when attempting to maintain their green living. Unfortunately, their bodies do not allow them pleasures like tending their green gardens or volunteering in a marathon for cancer anymore. Retirement communities have become increasingly popular with the boomer generation. Seniors no longer dread retirement communities; they provide senior activities, multiple types of housing, senior clubs and sports, and accessible medical attention.
How do you find a green retirement community and continue your green living? What makes a retirement community "green"?
Many aspects of a community and/or building complex make it environmentally friendly or "green living friendly". A green home or complex must meet the following requirements that encompass necessities not only in the way the area is run but how it was built in the first place.
  • Beats the EPA's Energy Star Standards
  • Achieves high standards of indoor air quality
  • Uses building materials that are locally produced or that have been recycled
  • Incorporates water conservation and storm water management
  • Achieves a minimal footprint on the land
  • Keeps carbon emissions low through use of renewable energy or super-efficient building envelopes
Clearly other aspects of green living can be incorporated into a green retirement community such as green transportation and the surrounding area.
Is a Community Truly Practicing Green Living Ideas? Watch out for Greenwashing!
Unfortunately, one of the dangers of searching for green living retirement homes is finding communities that, on the surface, appear to meet all of your environmental concerns but, in reality, simply use the term "green" as a popular advertising technique.
It has become a trend with multiple developers to layer environmental lingo into their marketing strategies and pitches. Terms like "eco-sensitive" don't mean a thing, but potential clients associate its usage with constructive environmental initiative.
This use of companies pretending to be environmentally friendly when in fact they are not is called greenwashing. A sure sign of greenwashing is if the "green" community you are looking at has a golf course attached to it. Golf courses are generally extremely bad for the environment due to the massive amount of pesticides and water that they need for upkeep. Additional warning signs of potential greenwashing include
  • talking about protecting natural resources
  • protecting and having environmental quality
  • incorporating biodiversity
How Do you Check the Community's Claims?
Retirees need to be wary of senior housing that say they incorporate green living; but do not be cynical! A simple way of finding out if a claim is true includes checking LEED certification standards for communal buildings in the potential development.
The LEED stands for Leadership in energy and Environmental Design. Developed by the US Green Building Council, LEED is a non-profit, non-government department that changes the way buildings are designed, built, and operated.
Melissa Rubin is a senior copywriter and Web developer at OTO Networks, a digital marketing company located in Baltimore, Maryland. Her primary responsibilities include SEO, link building and creating content for multiple sites. A preview of a site on which she has worked,, is available with this article.