Retirement Communities Going Green

By Dan Peerless
Executive Director,
Gray Is Green

Gray Is Green and the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut (AASCC) have partnered to help spread the concepts and practices of sustainable living to retirement communities and senior housing centers in Connecticut.

Gray Is Green: The National Senior Conservation Corps, has made excellent progress on its unique new Senior Volunteer Energy Auditor Program, with the help of funding from the Community Catalyst Fund. The program, which will be piloted in Connecticut under a partnership with the AASCC, will recruit and train retired volunteers to perform basic energy efficiency audits of local retirement homes and senior housing communities.

“Green Teams” or sustainability committees have been springing up all across the country in retirement communities, drawing together older Americans with a shared concern for the environmental legacy of their generation, and an interest in active participation in a movement that is often, mistakenly, viewed as only a young person’s game. With support from the Clean Air-Cool Planet’s Community Catalyst Fund, Gray Is Green has prepared a series of educational seminars on sustainability and training materials for use at continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). The Agency on Aging has begun visiting regional CCRCs with existing Green Teams to learn from their successes and challenges, and to enlist their help in demonstrating the value of sustainability programs to other retirement communities.

Gray Is Green is responsible for the creation of training materials and audit guides, and will also be conducting the training sessions. The Community Catalyst Fund provided the means to hire interns to work on the compilation of these materials. Work completed thus far includes materials on the fundamental purpose and practices of energy efficiency in housing and facilities, on communicating the science and research behind climate change and the importance of efficiency practices to residents, and the outline for an audit report to facility operators.

Our partner, the AASCC, was recently awarded a significant Programs of National Significance (PNS) grant to support the volunteer coordination component of the project. These funds will be used to hire a program coordinator, to manage volunteer scheduling, and for quality assurance and community feedback purposes. As the program matures, the materials and practices developed for this program will be distributed to the national network of Retired Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP) for replication wherever possible.

Gray Is Green and the AASCC both appeared at the ConnCCRA (Connecticut Continuing Care Retirement Association) annual meeting on Thursday, October 14, to present and discuss their partnership to establish and support sustainability committees in retirement communities in the Greater New Haven area. We were looking forward to connecting with the ConnCCRA member communities, and arranging to visit the individual communities for more in-depth discussions.

To the best of our knowledge, this program is unique, and it holds great promise for carbon savings by a segment of society that is expected to double in the next few decades. Regular updates will be forthcoming. If you are interesting in learning more about the project, or any other work of Gray Is Green, please contact Executive Director Dan Peerless at danpeerless@grayisgreen.org.

Explore posts in the same categories: Advocacy, Carbon Management, climate change, climate education, Climate Science, Community Action, environment, green jobs, New Generation, sustainability

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One Comment on “Retirement Communities Going Green”

  1. Drugs Online Says:

    I will not write much – just a thank you:)!


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