At Episcopal Retirement Homes, we’re always looking for new ways to stay on the cutting edge of senior living. For us, innovation means finding technologies and techniques that help us improve the health and wellness of our residents.
We recently posted about how our recent renovations at St. Paul Village in Madisonville have raised the bar for affordable senior living. One of the ways that we’re improving life at St. Paul is through better energy efficiency.
Going green can help promote a better quality of senior life and provide significant savings in energy costs. In our quest for a greener retirement community, we stumbled upon these 3 simple ways to introduce more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible living into your own home.
Tip 1: Be energy conscious.
If you’re looking to help sustain natural resources and preserve our environment for the future, think about ways you can cut back on how much energy you use. The good news is that being conscious of your energy consumption isn’t just environmentally friendly, it’s financially responsibly too.
- Keep your thermostat steadier. Supplement your summer and winter needs with low-cost heating and cooling alternatives like space heaters and directional fans. (For more on how to be energy efficient this summer check out this post on the ERH blog.)
- Use energy-efficient products. Low-flow faucets and showerheads can cut your water consumption in half while switching from conventional incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs reduces your expenditures and saves you $40 over the life of the bulb.
- Weatherproof. Weatherstripping isn’t just for the winter. Taking care of drafts can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter without central air. If you’re planning to make any senior living renovations at home, talk to your contractor about double checking the insulation in your walls and ceilings, too.
- Save your energy bills. Keeping track of your regular consumption allows you to follow trends from month to month and establish yearly patterns so that you can plan ahead for periods of high usage.
Tip 2: Verify.
These days, green is good for businesses.
In fact it’s so profitable that some companies have begun “greenwashing” their products to appeal to the ecologically responsible shopper. This trend can lead to uncertainty about what brands and products you can trust to deliver on their promises of greener senior living.
To make sure that the products you’re buying are genuinely eco-friendly and energy efficient, you can use the Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides to verify that marketing claims about the environmentally friendliness of certain goods.
The savvy shopper will also want to consider these Tips for Going Green guidelines from the USA.gov:
- Look for brands or labels that make specific rather than vague statements about environmental impact. For example, a paper product that claims to contain “75% post-consumer recycled materials” is likely a better choice than one that simply boasts “made from recycled materials.”
- Some advertisements can be misleading about what part or portion of the product is eco-friendly. Carefully read labels to determine whether green marketing claims apply to the packaging, the product, or both.
- Green marketing scams do exist, so be wary of potential fakes in third-party certified products. You can find reliable labels on the Consumer Reports website. We’ve found labels like ENERGYSTAR to be particularly helpful in our efforts to make senior living at St. Paul more ecologically responsible.
Tip 3: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Don’t just buy eco-friendly, be responsible in how you use products, too.
- Stop to think before throw away your glass, metal, plastic, or paper products. Earth911 can help you locate the nearest recycling center, but many Waste Management companies offer curbside recycling programs.
- Make sure you properly dispose of potentially hazardous non-recyclables like car batteries, cell phones, televisions, paints, oils, and solvents. Contact a local household hazardous wasters (HHW) collection facility or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to find the best way to dispose of waste.
Image Credit: mattwalker69