Asbury system honors Earth Day year-round through sustainability

Water consumption alone reduced by 943,000 gallons at three Asbury communities in 2011

April 03, 2012

GERMANTOWN, Md.  -  Asbury Communities, a not-for-profit organization that manages five continuing care retirement communities in three states, plans to celebrate Earth Day by strengthening its commitment to implementing “green” practices. With the help of Sodexo, a food and facilities management firm headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., Asbury Communities’ laundry facilities alone saved a combined 943,000 gallons of water in 2011 at Asbury Methodist Village, Gaithersburg, Md.; Asbury~Solomons Island, Solomons, Md.; and Bethany Village, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

“In keeping with Asbury’s core value of stewardship, the principle of sustainability is being employed at every Asbury community – in virtually every area of operations,” said Doug Leidig, chief operating officer. “Sodexo shares our commitment to the environment and is helping us implement new and more effective ways to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, promote responsible waste management and reduce the use of toxic chemicals.”

The reduction in water consumption grew out of a year-long process that began with measuring each washing machine to achieve maximum efficiency with water, chemical and energy use. In addition to the water savings, the corporation also was able to achieve a savings of $30,000 as a result of the changes.

This year, two additional Asbury communities – Springhill in Erie, Pa., and Inverness Village in Tulsa, Okla. – will come fully online with the program.

Asbury Methodist Village is currently awaiting approval from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to pilot a new product that will allow laundry to be washed at a lower temperature and reduce the number of rinse cycles – saving even more water.

And soon after Earth Day, the community will be rolling out its first natural-gas powered vehicle, the first step taken after Asbury/Sodexo management recently completed a system-wide fleet survey of the vehicles on each Asbury campus. Some of its environmental goals included tracking vehicles’ age – which has a significant impact on fuel efficiency – and studying the feasibility of introducing natural-gas powered or electric cars. Updated fleet vehicles across the Asbury system will incorporate these green-friendly capabilities.

Across the Asbury Communities system of senior living communities in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma, residents buck the stereotype that the green eco-friendly movement is usually regarded as a youth movement. Examples include:

• Residents at Asbury~Solomons Island, in Southern Maryland, have focused on helping the fragile ecosystem of the Chesapeake Bay through two projects. In the first, residents grow oysters and provide them a protected home on the community’s breakwater in the Patuxent River. The second is turning the community’s riverfront lawn and riverbank into a habitat sanctuary for wildlife.

• At Bethany Village, a group of residents initiated the “Green Team” to promote sustainable practices on campus. To read more go to:

• Recycling superstar Inverness Village was named Tulsa’s Recycling Community of 2011 for its collection of an average 7,000 pounds of recyclable material each month. To read more go to:

• Asbury Methodist Village residents will team up with local high school students to celebrate Earth Day by planting more than 40 trees at a nearby park. This resident-driven event is part of Asbury’s Beloved Community project, a community outreach program partnering Asbury residents, the Wesley Theological Seminary and the City of Gaithersburg.  Asbury Methodist Village, which also features a 17-acre wildlife preserve, was recently recertified by the Wildlife Habitat Council as a Wildlife at Work site through 2014. That recertification followed the retirement community’s receipt of The City of Gaithersburg 2010 Environmental Award for innovative, sustainable green practices and a recycling award from Montgomery County in 2009.

Asbury Communities, Inc. provides management and support services for a system of continuing care retirement communities for older adults. Asbury Communities is ranked by LeadingAge and Ziegler Capital Markets Group’s AZ 100 as the 15th largest not-for-profit multi-site senior living organization in the country.

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