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What is a Green Assisted Living Facility?

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Retirement and similar communities are stepping into the environmental movement with the development of green assisted living facilities. These communities are logical extensions of sustainable living philosophies and reflect the standards embodied in all sustainable communities.

Assessing a green community

If you are considering an assisted living facility, and would prefer a green property, there are some key things to look for before making a decision. These include:

  • Excellent levels of indoor air quality are met and maintained
  • Incorporates water conservation and storm water management
  • On-site appliances, fixtures, and electronics meet or surpass the EPA’s Energy Star standards
  • Runoff and storm water drainage is environmentally safe
  • The community has a minimal carbon footprint
  • The community has Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) recognition
  • The food used and its preparations adhere to sustainable practices
  • The materials used in constructing the facility were locally produced, reclaimed, or recycled
  • The structure receives it energy from renewable resources
  • Water use and water conservation methods are scrupulously managed

If the building is new or under construction, a location that claims to be eco-friendly will follow sustainable building practices. In addition to low impact, renewable, recycled, or reclaimed building materials, the building’s entire design will reflect the latest standards of sustainable and environmentally sound philosophies.

Landscaping and grounds design are also a significant factor. The plants and natural materials used will require little maintenance, make extensive use of local and native flora, and incorporate the natural terrain to create an aesthetically pleasing, eco-friendly environment.

The most important aspect of green assisted living is its waste disposal practices. While most communities have strict regulations regarding disposing of medical waste, it needs to be determined if the facility meets these standards on a minimal level, or do they exceed the regulations and used more advanced methods. Disposal of waste generated daily must also be examined. Look for extensive recycling programs, and reduction of traditional waste generating practices.

Finally, determine if the facility uses eco-friendly practices in all aspects of its operations: all of its fabrics, cleaning products and procedures, food products and preparation, as well as waste disposal should be green. For a facility to truly provide green assisted living, it must be in all phases of its operations.

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