Sustainability at Lathrop

by Barbara Walvoord

Lathrop residents and management are thinking a lot these days about being sustainable–in terms of occupancy, finances, services, buildings, and long-range plans. More broadly, Lathrop and the other Kendal affiliates all voted in 2009 to implement thirteen “sustainability initiatives” to help keep not only ourselves but our WORLD sustainable in the future.

  1. Establish, monitor, and maintain a community-wide, multi-faceted system of recycling or disposal of items such as, but not limited to, paper goods, containers, plastics, batteries, electronic goods, and hazardous materials.
  2. Establish a program to reduce office paper usage, and purchase of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC, an international non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established to promote responsible management of the world’s forests) certified paper for all print materials.
  3. Establish a program to install and maintain native landscape.
  4. Provide building automation/energy management system for monitoring mechanical, electrical, and plumbing equipment for maximum efficiency.
  5. Develop an energy conservation plan that is measurable.
  6. Adopt a policy to purchase only EnergyStar appliances.
  7. Offer environmental educational programs and ongoing reminders and updates to staff and residents about environmental issues and opportunities.
  8. Establish a program for water conservation.
  9. Provide a program for incorporating the least possible use of herbicides and pesticides into landscape management.
  10. Provide a program for using green chemicals in all aspects of operations including housekeeping, laundry, and dining.
  11. Establish a “food philosophy” which includes incorporating local food in the dining program.
  12. Establish a program and practice of Green Building standards in any construction or renovation project including finishes and furnishing.
  13. Establish a sustainability workgroup in the community including residents and staff that actively works to monitor and advance the sustainability efforts of the community; includes a sustainability “library” with references and website links.                (http://www.kendal.org/sustainability-initiatives/)

All Kendal campuses are working to implement these 13 principles. Campuses share their progress on the Kendal website and at quarterly teleconferences (Al Eipper represents Lathrop). Many of the campuses are more active than we are on issues such as recycling, energy conservation, green appliances, and others.

The Land Conservation Committee focuses on principles #3 and #9–nurturing native plants and animals, and reducing herbicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers. We also sponsor educational programs, trails, and hikes/rides that encourage our residents to interact with nature. Because the committee has this focus, in the future this column will be called “Our Lathrop Lands.”

But members of the Land Conservation Committee care deeply about all the sustainability principles. We honor the actions of Lathrop’s Green Committee, which, for a number of years, made Lathrop a sustainability leader among the Kendal affiliates. In the process of Lathrop’s long-range planning, the members of the Land Conservation Committee want to bring again the full 13 principles to the attention of our entire community.

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