Sustainable communities

Reducing our individual impact on the environment is important, but several RetireAustralia residents are finding they can make an even bigger difference together.

At Glengara Retirement Village, the installation of sustainable solar panels on the Country Club in 2011 has seen a significant reduction in the village’s carbon footprint.

As an added bonus, residents have saved more than $50,000 in electricity costs.

Colin Graham was involved in establishing the initiative and said the savings have benefited each household.

“Those energy cost savings help reduce the cost of running the Country Club, which flows through to modest savings in our recurrent charges,” he said.

“We are pleased that we are making a modest contribution towards greening the environment and utilising the natural opportunity the solar presents.”

A recent upgrade promises to maximise both the savings and the environmental benefits even further, generating more power to be used or exported to the grid.

Similar initiatives have taken place at Torrens Grove and other RetireAustralia villages. The popularity of these measures—which were approved by residents before being implemented—shows the residents are keen to make their communities more sustainable.

According to a 2012 survey, Australians over 65 tend to be more conscious of their resource consumption. They also recognise the importance of energy and water saving, recycling and waste reduction.

“We like to think we’re quite savvy as far as recycling is concerned and we have a system in place to collect cans and bottles as part of the buyback scheme,” said Colin.

Additionally, changes are being made to village environments, with many operators prioritising sustainability in new projects. This can include using low-impact materials, installing water and energy efficient systems and fostering environmental initiatives.

RetireAustralia is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia and aims to achieve Green Star certification—awarded to sustainable developments—on its new communities.

As more operators and residents champion sustainability and green living practices, the impact will continue to grow.

“As a community, our effort and voice is much more seen and appreciated,” Colin said.

“There’s a sort of community spirit.

“People want to get together and take the initiative to uphold environmental programs, and we all get the collective benefit of it.”

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