More retirement communities are going 'green'

The coldest months of winter are approaching, and when the weather gets colder, more heat is used to heat homes, apartments and senior living communities. For many senior living communities, utility bills during the winter months can be a significant expense.

But high utility costs can be avoided. Retirement communities can save money and invest in their own infrastructure by investing in becoming environmentally-friendly. Being environmentally-friendly will help retirement communities use less energy. And that will save them money.

Using data provided by Gray is Green, an environmental advocacy organization for seniors, here are four communities across the United States who have invested in energy-efficient projects, and are seeing significant savings as a result:

Kendal at Hanover, a continuing care retirement community in Hanover, New Hampshire, invested $12,000 in their energy efforts. This investment in becoming environmentally friendly has lowered Kendal’s utility bill by 8.5%, resulting in annual savings of $136,000.

Plymouth Harbor, an independent living community in Sarasota, Florida, changed their ceiling lights in the hallways from standard light bulbs, and replaced them with Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) and LED light bulbs. These changes are saving Plymouth Harbor about $44,000 per year. Plymouth Harbor also invested in low-flow efficient toilets in their remodeled units, and this change is saving the community about $45,000 annually.

The Hudson Senior Center, a senior day program facility located in Hudson, Massachusetts, renovated their building to make it more energy-efficient. They installed motion sensors in the interior and exterior of the building to ensure lights only turn on when they are needed. The Hudson Senior Center also installed energy-efficient windows, low-flow toilets aimed at saving water, as well as connecting the central power grid to the office of their Director, so all electricity can be shut down in a particular room if it is completely empty. These savings have meant a 26% decrease in utility usage, saving the Hudson Senior Center about $150,000 ever year.

Friends Homes, a non-profit continuing care retirement community in Guilford, North Carolina, is another example of a senior living community which has invested in becoming environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient. Some of the projects undertaken by Friends Homes include installing a solar hot water system on the roof, consisting of 157 separate panels. This change is expected to save Friends Homes about $150,000 per year.

As recently reported by the U.S. Green Building Council, environmentally-friendly buildings do not need to be brand-new buildings. Rather, they simply need to have changes made to make them more energy-efficient. Communities and buildings of any size can be renovated; nothing is too large a job. According to the report, New York City’s Empire State building recently became environmentally-certified, and the building will save more than four million dollars in energy costs every year.

Energy can be saved in any retirement community, and when communities are more energy-efficient, not only are they helping the environment, but they are saving thousands of dollars in the process.


This research article is written by, using data provided by Gray is Green