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Planning for a Green Retirement

Where can baby boomers find a green retirement community?


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A green retirement community will have lots of walking opportunities.


The exponential growth in green living and environmental awareness isn't limited to today's youngsters: Many people who came of age in the early years of the environmental movement have retained the eco-consciousness of their youth.

And many of those folks are soon to retire. But where? And how? If you're a baby boomer or senior -– or will soon become one -– here are five tips you can use to make sure that your retirement years are also environmentally-friendly:

Look for a Green Retirement Community

Independent and assisted-living retirement communities can be customized to be energy efficient by installing low-flow toilets, energy-efficient light bulbs, eco-friendly heating and cooling systems, and even low-VOC paints and carpet. So if you're looking to make your retirement environmentally-friendly, make sure to ask the retirement community if they use any energy-efficient appliances and utilities, like green electricity providers.

Many environmentally-friendly communities are also LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), so it's worth asking whether the location you are considering has been certified.

Find A Retirement Community Close to Friends and Family

For many people, long-distance travel is no fun. Traveling can be expensive and tiring, as well as harmful to the environment. Try to retire in a place close to your friends and/or family, where you won't need to take long flights every Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holiday. Instead, you can be in the same city as your loved ones, and save on gasoline and the pollution caused by exhaust. Flying across the country on a commercial jetliner uses as much gasoline as driving alone in a medium-sized car, so flying less often helps reduce your environmental impact.

Find Retirement Communities Near Public Transportation

If you have places to go -- the grocery store, the bank, the health center, or a coffee shop with friends -- switching to public transportation can significantly decrease your carbon footprint. It can also save a lot of money, especially with cities and towns across the United States offering discounts for older passengers. Relying on public transit is a no-brainer in some cities, but in other, less transit-friendly places it's a recipe for disaster, so a little research is needed before making any big moving decision.

Consider an Exotic Retirement Destination

If your retirement dream is to move away from the city, then for most, living close to family might not be the best option for you. Instead, consider something a little more exotic such as Thailand, Mexico, Panama or another retiree-friendly country as your retirement destination: it could radically diminish your environmental impact. In many locales across Southeast Asia and Latin America, you can walk everywhere you need to go, food is often produced locally, and there are even opportunities to live in eco-friendly huts in the rainforest.

Grow Your own Vegetables

When busy with a career or raising children -– or both -– grocery shopping can be an inconvenient afterthought. But for baby boomers whose careers are slowing down, or retirees with extra time to spare, growing your own produce in the communal garden will help the environment keep pesticides out of the soil. With less reliance on your local grocery store, you will also make fewer trips there, saving you gasoline and money. Find out if your local green retirement community has a garden where you can grow vegetables.

For more information on retirement options, please visit RetirementHomes.com.

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