Principles in Practice – Physical Resources Management
EAGLE Principle 7: Physical Resources Management
Cassidy Koch, Director of Environmental Services
Chelsea Retirement Community
United Methodist Retirement Communities’ Guiding Beliefs drive everything we do on the Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC) campus. One of these beliefs is Stewardship: “We responsibly manage the resources entrusted to us.” EAGLE Principle 7 states that accredited organizations “exercise environmentally responsible stewardship over its land, facilities, and equipment …” This gave us the opportunity to ensure our actions are aligned with our beliefs as good stewards.
During our EAGLE self-study, environmental sustainability became a top focus for managing our resources. Like many of our campus initiatives, our residents had already taken the lead. Several years ago, independent living residents, passionate about preserving the environment, initiated residential recycling. Inspired by their thoughtful actions, CRC launched a commercial recycling program for our entire campus. With stewardship guiding our decisions, we opted for a vendor that exhibits sound environmental business practices, rather than simply choosing the lowest bidder.
Our heightened awareness of environmentally responsible stewardship led us to switch laundry chemical supply vendors for our commercial and residential laundry operations in 2016. This switch resulted in significant cost savings and greatly reduced electric, gas, and water usage. For example, the new laundry supplies allowed CRC to eliminate three rinse cycles from every commercial laundry washing load resulting in over 776,000 gallons of water saved annually.
In 2016, CRC also launched an LED lighting conversion project to replace all lighting throughout our campus buildings. This resulted in decreased electrical usage and better lighting for residents, while reducing CRC’s carbon footprint. This project is estimated to save us 691,996 kWh per year going forward.
These are just a few ways that EAGLE Principle 7 helped focus our attention on more fully living out the best practices of Stewardship. EAGLE’s accreditation process dovetailed with our own mission and guiding beliefs in ways that have benefitted our residents, our organization, and our shared environment.