March 31 — Baby boomers are known for their devotion to preserving the environment – at least when they are not driving their SUV’s. So the big question is, will the folks who pioneered Earth Day look for green (sustainable) retirement and active adult communities? Just as important, will the marketers of those communities recognize the need and make the product available in an appealing concept?
We recently came across some examples of green communities, which is encouraging. Shea Homes, a large national home builder, has announced that environmentally friendly homes will be the focus of some of its new developments in Florida and other sun belt states. These homes will be so-called “eco-friendly”, and will have energy saving features such as solar attic fans, motion-sensor triggered lighting, energy-efficient windows and appliances, and garages with electric-vehicle charging stations. Some materials like insulation will be recycled. According to a report in Off the Grid, Shea says it has “focused on small, incremental green features that will add up to important energy savings.”
Meanwhile other developments are getting on the environmental, or green, bandwagon as well. Some retirement homes being built for the military in San Antonio feature solar hot water heaters. A retirement community builder in Maine, Sea Coast Management Co., has offered incentives to install solar water heaters as well as a Toyota Prius to home buyers.
Cohousing communities tend to be at the vanguard of green retirement communities. Although these communities might be a touch too new age for many people, they are almost always interested in preserving the environment, as well as sharing common facilities and ongoing connections with neighbors. These intentional neighborhoods, created and managed by residents, offer an innovative solution to today’s environmental and social challenges. Here is a link to a directory of co-housing communities.
How green is green? As Carol Gulyas wrote at Topretirements last year in “Looking for Green Retirement Communities“, it is important to evaluate “eco”, “green”, and “environmentally sustainability” claims carefully and sceptically. Many active adult community builders talk about green, but the reality is not always up to the promise. She suggests that you learn more about what it really means to be environmentally friendly – and then ask questions of builders to be sure. Of course part of the equation is how much baby boomers will pay for when it comes to the environment. That’s because for now anyway, being green takes some green.