Grandparents want their grandchildren to inherit a clean, healthy environment. Many seniors look for eco-friendly upgrades when selecting a care facility.
What can senior care facilities do to improve the sustainability of their practices? From instituting recycling measures to making energy-efficient upgrades, such organizations can go far in reducing their carbon footprint. Here’s what to look for in an eco-friendly living arrangement.
1. Plant a Resident Garden
Gardens serve multiple purposes. They get residents out and moving in the fresh air and sunshine. They beautify the grounds and release life-giving oxygen into the air.
Growing fruits and vegetables also reduces your carbon footprint by decreasing the amount of food you need to transport. Plus, you improve the nutritional content of what you serve residents for meals. Produce loses its vitamins and minerals gradually after harvesting. The fresher the veggies you serve, the more benefit you receive. This practice mainly helps seniors whose appetites have decreased with age.
2. Upgrade Your Appliances
When the washers and dryers at your facility wear out, replace them with energy-efficient models. Quality items pay for themselves by saving money on monthly utilities. Do the same for each area that contains stoves or dishwashers for resident use.
Think beyond the basics. For example, many senior care facilities contain elevators or chair lifts for adults who struggle with mobility issues. You can investigate different models to determine which offer the eco-friendliest features. You can also customize your current model with a new drive system or cab design.
3. Install Automation
Do you leave lights on in unoccupied rooms? If so, you’re inflating your electric bill and wasting resources. Install automatic switches that turn lights and televisions off when residents and staff exit.
When making property upgrades, install smart thermostats with independent heating and cooling. Research indicates this practice saves 10 to 12% on heating and 15% on air conditioning — more than $100 per year in savings.
4. Change Lightbulbs
Incandescent bulbs burn through a ton of energy. Replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Compact fluorescents use a third of the power of incandescents with the same wattage. Plus, they emit less heat, meaning residents run the AC less to keep their living area cool.
When upgrading light fixtures, look for ways to repurpose old items. You can even shop local salvage yards and have old lamps rewired.
5. Go Low-Flow
Going green doesn’t stop with reducing energy use. Water is an equally precious resource. When upgrading bathrooms and kitchens, opt for low-flow showerheads and faucets.
You should also consider turning down your water heater. Doing so saves you more than $400 per unit each year. It also protects residents from accidental scalding.
6. Encourage Resident Recycling
Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the annual energy equivalent of a two-person family. Provide ample recycling bins around your facility and in residential living areas. Most people will recycle — if they don’t have to travel to do so.
You can save additional money on promotional items and cut down on single-use plastic in your marketing. If you’re in the habit of giving guests one-time use water bottles with your logo, replace these with reusable mugs. Once a guest pitches a single-use bottle in the bin, they lose your contact information. Printing it on something they’ll use daily keeps your organization front and center.
7. Consider Going Solar
If you’re undergoing major renovations, consider going solar. You can take advantage of tax breaks for converting to green energy. Plus, while you may need to remain on the grid to prevent outages, you reduce your utility bills significantly. If your facility installs an independent backup power source, you may have no bill at all.
Capitalize on your solar improvements in your marketing strategy. 73% of millennials report they are willing to spend more on green products and services. Children and grandchildren who help fund their parents’ retirement will likely weigh the sustainability of your facility in their final decision.
Making Your Senior Care Facility More Green
Going green tells your residents you care about the planet their grandchildren will inherit. Instituting sustainable measures helps you attract new clients and do your part to protect the earth.