About 18 months ago, we started a “going green” effort at Moorings Park. Moorings Park is a community of some 500 residents in independent living apartments, plus an additional number in assisted living and healthcare facilities. There are approximately 25 buildings on our 83-acre campus.
The first step was to audit items on campus related to resource conservation, proper solid waste disposal, and wildlife habitat enhancement.
With 25 buildings and several miles of roadways and walking/golf cart paths throughout the campus, Moorings Park consumes a lot of electricity. A continuing investment in a capital equipment program to install energy saving equipment is coupled with the residents’ effort to “cut the juice when not in use.” The result has been a significant reduction in the amount of electricity used annually at Moorings Park.
Where economically practical, solar panels have been installed to generate energy for a variety of operations at Moorings Park. Innovations in new lighting products are continually being evaluated, and energy inefficient incandescent lighting is regularly replaced where practical. A computer-controlled system for all lighting in public areas of the campus has been initiated. Street lighting operated by solar panels is currently being evaluated.
The several miles of walking/golf cart paths at Moorings Park were formerly constructed of asphalt. A year ago, it was determined that the paths required a major overhaul and renovation. Instead of continuing with petroleum-based asphalt, Rainbow Turf poured-in-place unitary surfacing was used to provide a new surface for the paths. The porous surfacing is made from recycled rubber. The paths covered with the surfacing material are expected to last more than 15 years, requiring only minor maintenance. The paths are slightly resilient and much more comfortable for walking than asphalt or concrete. A key feature of the surfacing is that it is porous and can be placed around trees and shrubs without affecting the root systems or nutrient access to the tree.
In the past two years, the Food Service Department has undergone a complete renovation of the main kitchen and food storage areas at Moorings Park. Major changes have been made to minimize solid waste, and to improve the overall efficiency of preparing and providing food for Moorings Park residents.
An important project has been educating staff and residents regarding disposal of solid waste. The main effort has been to insure that all recyclable material is separated from regular garbage, and that toxic waste is disposed of properly.
Moorings Park has made an effort to enhance the wildlife habitat for the creatures that share the campus with the staff and residents. The recent planting of native shrubs and grasses has removed a significant acreage of turf from the campus. The project reduced both labor and landscaping materials with a significant reduction in irrigation needed to maintain the turf grass.
On the 83-acre campus there are 10 purple martin houses. Each year, they regularly attract these interesting birds. Recently, residents have constructed and erected six bluebird nest boxes at carefully selected sites. An osprey platform has been erected on the shore of one of the eight bodies of water at Moorings Park. It has already attracted the interest of several osprey. What is said to be one of the largest butterfly gardens in Collier County has recently been planted on the campus.
Improvement in the water quality of ponds and lakes is an important part of any environmental program. Moorings Park has a policy that any water entering the property has to have better quality when it leaves the campus. In addition to a littoral planting program designed to improve water quality, Moorings Park has installed aerators and fountains in the water features this past year.