At Friends House, we’re passionate about building a community through caring – caring for our residents, our employees, and our world. Built on the Quaker values we affectionately refer to as SPICES, one of our essential founding principles is sustainability. While we’ve been committed to environmentally conscientious living from the very start, Friends House continues to incorporate eco-friendly strategies as we grow toward the future. Not only does a green approach to retirement living help the world around us – it contributes to happier and healthier lives for our residents.
A Commitment to Sustainability Starts with Small Steps.
At Friends House, we’re dedicated to sustainable growth.
That includes making changes, large and small, to minimize our impact on the natural environment. In addition to the common ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra, we utilize the following sustainable practices and encourage our residents, staff, and neighbors to do the same:
Composting Isn’t a Load of Garbage – According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), composting food waste and other organics can significantly reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and even eliminate the need for chemical fertilizers. That’s why Friends House composts many applicable kitchen scraps on site and has been awarded locally for its efforts.
Ditch the Pesticides – Pesticides and other harmful chemicals commonly used in gardens are known to contaminate groundwater, in addition to killing pollinators and other beneficial insects, as well as harming birds that feed on them. Friends House does not use any poisons or pesticides in our community landscaping or gardens in an attempt to minimize our impact on the local ecosystem
Incorporating Plants that Are the Bees’ Knees – Pollinators are vitally important to agriculture, as well as our food system and ecosystems. Yet, pollinators and especially the country’s bee population continues to decline. An article published by Friends of Earth explains that one out of every three bites of food we consume relies on pollination performed by bees and other beneficial insects. Keeping that in mind, Friends House grows native plants throughout our community that encourages bees, butterflies, and other helpful pollinators and to support our resident beehives.
Ongoing Efforts to Stay Eco-Friendly.
Even if they are small, environmentally conscious changes in everyday life are a great start, Friends House is committed to growing sustainably. In 2017, we embarked on the next chapter of our community: a meticulously planned expansion project.
“It is exciting to know that our residents enjoy the new lodges, cottages, and courtyards. We’re also excited to support the environmental quality of our campus while creating opportunities for new residents to join and enjoy our community.” says Philip Burkholder, CEO. “Our growth incorporates eco-friendly, efficient design.”
Thoughtfully planned, this redevelopment project was designed to uphold the beautiful, natural environment already in place. Friends House residents can enjoy nature from their private balconies and patios, or enjoy long walks on our woodland trails.
We have already accomplished a lot: our earlier Friends House expansion project focused on:
Enhanced Stormwater Management – Minimizing the impacts to the surrounding watershed, creating multiple drainage basins while also reducing nonporous surfaces, and both conserving and protecting freshwater resources.
Efficient Building Design – Decreasing energy consumption and associated environmental impacts by utilizing, high-efficiency lighting, appliances, heating and cooling and adopting additional best practices consistent with the National Association of Home Builders.
Protection of Natural Resources – Reducing materials and waste, considering durability and life cycle impacts during product selection, using construction materials that were sourced from sustainable resources, and selecting products that contain high percentages of recycled content.
Unexpected Benefits of Green Living in Retirement Communities.
While it’s common today to prioritize sustainability to minimize our impact on the environment, a green lifestyle can also benefit the overall mental and physical health of today’s seniors. In fact, according to an article posted by American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), “There’s a direct, proven connection between green communities, environmental wellness, and the mental and physical health of senior residents.” Green living benefit the seniors at Friends House in several ways
An Active Lifestyle – Having beautiful gardens and walking paths is a great way to encourage residents to remain physically active. Instead of spending their days cooped up indoors, seniors can take afternoon strolls or spend time leaf-peeping while taking in the crisp, fall air.
Mental Health – Spending more time outdoors or venturing out in the retirement community means our residents can have the social life they want and need. By offering members of the Friends House community green spaces, like our community gardens, or encouraging green initiatives, like recycling, we’re able to help build stronger social relationships and reduce risk of depression. Furthermore, a study published by the National Library of Medicine concludes that green living can give residents a higher sense of purpose, create feelings of fulfillment, and boost mental health.
Higher Cognitive Function – Many communities focus on the cognitive benefits of active, healthy lifestyles, but did you know that green living is also linked to cognition? In fact, ASHA reports that individuals living in green building conditions received 61% higher cognition scores than those who weren’t.
Making Green Living a Priority in Your Future.
When considering a LifePlan Community/CCRC for yourself or your loved one, there are a variety of factors to consider: healthcare services, lifestyle, sustainability, price… instead of making compromises on any of these concerns, maybe you should consider a community that makes these good things a priority. Friends House is a Life Plan Community that’s passionate about the bigger picture while offering excellent, compassionate care. To see our sustainability efforts for yourself, schedule a personal visit! We’d love to show you around.