Village On The Isle, a continuing care retirement community in Venice FL, was built in 1982 making our retirement community 30 years old this year. Since then our retirement community has gone through many changes and so has the world around us. In 1982, the average price for a gallon of gas was $1.30 and eggs were .89 a dozen. In 1982, the Commodore 64 an 8-bit computer with 64 kilobytes of memory was all the rage and DOS 1.25 was released.
The cost of energy has more than tripled since then. To help offset the cost, our management team has made a commitment to our Continuing Care Retirement Community residents to control our costs. To do this we have invested in newer technology and better, higher efficiency equipment.
We started at the top down. We installed a white reflective TPO roof save us 10 -15% on energy costs. Not only was the roofing an economical savings to us, it helped with the protection of our residents as it was designed to the newest hurricane construction standards.
We are systematically replacing our older windows and doors with energy efficient, impact resistant window systems. Windows are also treated with window film that reflects out the sun and reduces solar heat gain by 85%.
To reduce cost from our air-conditioning system (which counts for 65% of our energy consumption) we take a multi layer approach. First we are replacing out older air-conditioning units with higher SEER rated units. This saves us additional costs on our utilities. At the same time we install UV lights in the air-handling units. This keeps their coils cleaner which in turn keeps the efficiency high. Programmable thermostats have also been installed. The most significant benefit of using a programmable thermostat is the ability to preset the temperature during the day or night. By using the heat or air conditioning less when away from area, less energy is used and this turns into savings on the energy bill.
Minnie split air-condition units are used where they are applicable; these units are some of the most efficient systems (up to 26 SEER). We also have variable frequency motors on our pumps that throttle when they are not in high demand; this produces a 30% savings in energy. All of our new appliances are Energy Star appliances are that generally use 20%–30% less energy than required by federal standards. High efficiency boilers and water heaters are used which are 94.6% efficient in heat transfer range compared to our older boilers that were 50 % efficiency. As you can see we are making every effort in all areas of this retirement community to be “green.”
Lighting is another area that we are making strides in. We started by replacing the 4,000 incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs: this saved us 75% in energy savings. They also produce 75% less heat, so it’s safer to operate and can cut associated cost with cooling. Our older T-8 fluorescent bulbs are being replaced with T-12 bulbs that save 20% energy. LED fixtures are starting to be installed in our outdoor areas. LED fixtures use 1/3 to 1/30th of a standard fixture and last 10 to 15 times longer.
We are also taking advantage of the sun, we use solar heat to help heat our swimming pool. We are also using initiative technology using a solar system to help heat our domestic water. We are preheating our water before it goes to our water heating boilers. By preheating the water before it goes into the boilers we have decreased our energy consumption by 30%. We believe that we are the first in the state if not the county to use this technology in that manner.
These are just a few of the ways we reduce our energy needs and carbon footprint. By doing so we are preserving our environment and directing cost savings to enhancing resident care and our community!