Aging in Place – the ability to make modifications that allow senior citizens to stay in their homes as they age – provides many different benefits to homeowners. As we revealed in parts 1-3, there are physical and emotional benefits, safety and security benefits, and financial benefits that result from Aging in Place.
In part 4, we want to focus on how Aging in Place supports the environment for future generations. In the 21st century, green home design and Aging in Place will increase in popularity, making a combination of the two one of the biggest trends in home remodeling. By using green strategies for aging in place, homes will become easier to live in, healthier for occupants, and more financially viable.
Green Strategies for Aging in Place
By loose definition, green strategies are any type of home building or remodeling that provides a healthier environment, lower maintenance and operating costs, and more energy efficient characteristics. The goal of green home design is to create a living environment that consumes less energy, water, and other resources.
While there are a variety of methods to achieving these objectives, it’s easiest to view green strategies in five essential elements: environmentally friendly, energy saving, water conservation, healthy indoor air quality, and outside the home.
To arrive at a better understanding of how these elements align with aging in place modifications, let’s take a look at how the five elements can be used:
- 1. Environmentally friendly
-Natural light helps cut down on lighting requirements, reduces heat gain in summer, and decreases heat loss in the winter
-Rapidly renewable and recycled-content materials: bamboo, carpets, tiles, and concrete mixes
- 2. Energy saving
-Energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR® rated appliances, windows, and water heating systems
-Photovoltaic energy and water heating systems also reduce energy consumption
- 3. Water conservation
-Low-flow fixtures including showers, faucet heads, and toilets
-ENERGY STAR dishwashers and washing machines
-Tank-less water heaters, low-volume irrigation systems, and rainwater collection systems
- 4. Healthy indoor air quality
-HVAC sizing for proper home ventilation
-Kitchen and bathroom fans for fresh air cycling
-Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, finishes, and wallpaper
- 5. Outside the home
-Preservation of trees and natural vegetation
-Group landscaping by watering needs
-Reduction of solid surface spaces like driveways
-Pavers, grids, and other permeable surfaces
As you can see, integrating green strategies with Aging in Place can help seniors conserve resources while making it possible to stay in their homes as they age. There are a number of professional resources that can guide you in meeting individual needs, but be sure to consult a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) representative for the most complete, up-to-date, and qualified information.