Re: Wall street journal article
From: Ann Lehman (
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:38:19 -0700 (PDT)
Here it is.....
Retirement Communities Lure Boomers With Eco-Friendly MessageMore 55-plus
developments are promoting their energy efficiency—and they say retirees
are willing to pay the price

Julie Halpert
April 22, 2018 10:00 p.m. ET

Tennis, golf and an attractive clubhouse have long been staples in the
universe of 55-plus communities selling an active lifestyle to retirees.

But a growing number of such communities are trying a different message
directly geared toward baby boomers: highlighting the eco-friendly features
of their developments.

As boomers retire, downsize, or just look for new homes that better fit
their current needs, more 55-plus communities are competing based on
features like solar panels, water reclamation, energy-efficient appliances,
and windows with low-reflective glass, says Samantha Reid, a spokeswoman for <>, an online resource for
information on active-adult communities.

Houses with eco-friendly designs may cost more than similar homes without
them. But developers of 55-plus communities say many baby boomers are
willing to pay the price.

            Jeff McQueen, president of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Shea Homes
Active Lifestyle Communities, a division of privately held Shea Homes, says
his company makes a considerable effort to design and build
energy-efficient homes, based on an internal study of boomers that
indicated 50% desired energy-efficient and sustainable features in their

Consider Mary Anne Graf, age 70, and her husband, Paul, 71, who bought a
home in a Shea Homes Trilogy-branded 55-plus community in Denver, N.C.,
last August for $515,000. The Grafs paid more than they would have in
slightly less-expensive active-adult communities, in part because of a
$29,000 solar-energy package. But they say they chose their home partly
because of that solar option.

“We’ve been very satisfied and love the solar,” says Ms. Graf. The Grafs’
average electric bill is $36 a month for their 1,850-square-foot home.
“We’re saving ourselves money and benefiting the environment.”

Similarly, at Robson Resort Communities <> , a
company focused on 55-plus buyers in Arizona and Texas, Chief Financial
Officer Steve Soriano says his company’s research shows more than a third
of its prospective buyers seek an energy-efficient and environmentally
friendly home. All new homes in Robson’s Sun Lakes, Ariz., development are
Energy Star-certified, a federal measure of high energy efficiency that
takes into account such features as insulation, building materials and
window types.

Robson communities also design their landscaping and golf courses to reduce
water runoff and evaporation, and have their own wastewater-treatment
plants that reclaim and reuse water. According to the company, the use of
reclaimed water reduces the cost of irrigating the golf course and
community landscaping for each community by 50%.

Environmentally friendly designs have become necessary to compete, says
Marshall Gobuty, developer and majority owner of Mirabella, a 55-plus
community under construction in Bradenton, Fla. To that end, Mr. Gobuty and
other developers are increasingly pursuing so-called LEED certification, an
official stamp of approval from the U.S. Green Building Council that says a
building or development meets the council’s Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design standards. LEED certification requires meeting a long
list of conditions, including proximity to transportation, water
efficiency, energy usage and sustainable materials.

Mirabella has received LEED certification for all of the 90 villas it has
built so far (out of a total 160 to be built.) Energy-efficient features in
the villas include LED lighting, double-pane vinyl windows and extensive
insulation. For the last 25 homes to be built, there also will be a
community charging station for electric vehicles and solar panels.

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and chief executive of the U.S. Green Building
Council, says his organization has seen a steady uptick in 55-plus
communities seeking LEED certification in recent years. Last year, 24
developments received LEED certification, and 16 are already in the process
so far this year, he says. Mr. Ramanujam says his group expects that the
number of projects being certified will double each year over the next five

LEED-certified projects see an average 25% reduction in energy costs, says
Mr. Ramanujam.

At Mirabella, Mr. Gobuty says LEED certification has added 12% to 14% to
each certified home’s cost. But, again, in the company’s view, that extra
cost pays for itself. All but 22 of the project’s planned 160 villas have
been sold.

Mr. Gobuty says he is also developing a 55-plus community in Ellenton,
Fla., that will feature 600 net-zero-energy homes, a type of home that is
largely energy-self-sufficient. In net-zero-energy homes, the total amount
of energy used in a year roughly equals the amount of energy created on
site—mostly through use of solar panels. Thus, in theory, depending on the
utility, residents of net-zero-energy homes may not have to pay an electric

Meanwhile, it isn’t just 55-plus communities that are focusing on green
living. There is also a growing movement in senior housing known as
cohousing, in which homeowners have their own units but share a common
living space and other resources. Currently, there are about a dozen senior
cohousing communities in the U.S., according to the Cohousing Association
of the U.S.

Charles Durrett, a Nevada City, Calif., architect who specializes in
cohousing units, says “living lighter on the planet” is a big goal for
every senior cohousing community he encounters.

At Village Hearth Cohousing <> , under
construction in Durham, N.C., homes will be clustered on 15 acres,
preserving 10 acres of green space.

Pat McAulay, a member of that community, says that although boomers have
always valued environmental sustainability, “a lot of us ended up walking
the normal corporate path.

”Cohousing,” Ms. McAulay says, “gives us the chance to go back to those
things that were really important to us when we were younger. It gives us a
chance to redeem ourselves.”

[image: Robson Resort Communities, a builder of active-adult communities in
the Southwest, designs its landscaping to reduce water runoff and
evaporation.]Robson Resort Communities, a builder of active-adult
communities in the Southwest, designs its landscaping to reduce water
runoff and evaporation. Photo: Robson
*Ms. Halpert is a writer in Michigan. Email her at reports [at]
<reports [at]>.*

*Corrections & Amplifications *
An earlier version of this article featured a computerized rendering of a
planned house in Ellenton, Fla. The article incorrectly identified the
rendering as a photograph of an actual house in the Mirabella 55-plus
community in Bradenton, Fla. (April 23, 2018

On Apr 23, 2018, at 1:20 PM, Ann Lehman <ann [at]> wrote:

Do you get this?

Ann Lehman
Governance and Gender Consultant
Zimmerman Lehman*forging futures for nonprofits
** <>
*510.755.5701 (Mobile)

ENEWS Subscribe to our free e-newsletter,ZimNotes
<> or find us on:


Ann Lehman
Governance and Gender Consultant
Zimmerman Lehman*forging futures for nonprofits
** <>
*510.755.5701 (Mobile)

ENEWS Subscribe to our free e-newsletter,ZimNotes
<> or find us on:


On Mon, Apr 23, 2018 at 1:18 PM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

> Hello all –
> There is a Wall Street Journal article on senior Cohousing. I am not
> subscribe to WSJ… I wonder if anyone has access to that article and can
> either send the text or a link if you have put it on a website For your
> marketing or out reach purposes.
> Thanks!
> Ann Zabaldo
> Takomavillage Cohousing
> Washington DC
> Sent from my iPhone
> All tiipos ... curtesy of Siri  :-)
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

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