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Student Research Paper

Landis Homes Retirement Community

Landis Homes a is not-for-profit retirement community that was established in 1964 as a retirement home for older missionaries who couldn’t afford to retire. The mission of Landis Homes is to serve aging adults and their families by honoring and enriching their lives in a community of Christ-like love. Located in Lititz, Landis Homes is home to almost 800 residents living in cottages, apartments, suites, personal care and healthcare.

On July 1, 2012, Landis Homes officially became an affiliate of Landis Communities. A staff of 500 serves the 800 residents as well as approximately 100 residents on a weekly basis in one of the two Adult Day Services centers on 114-acre campus, which is surrounded by Lancaster County farmland (landishomes.com).
The work ethic is outstanding here at Landis Homes. From the CEO, to the dining team, everyone at Landis Homes carries a great motivation and attitude to serve others. Nurses periodically meet with residents in healthcare to find out what they need to make them feel like they are at home. The staff continues to support residents in living to the fullest by listening to their suggestion on how they want to live and then by putting those suggestions into action.

Landis Homes has added another addition of apartments in downtown Lancaster. Steeple View Lofts are loft-designed apartments that are medium prices for seniors who want to live in an urban setting and still enjoy walking to local shops.

A Resident’s Perspective

Connie Stauffer has been a resident at Landis Homes since 2010. Before coming to Landis Homes, Connie was an elementary education-reading specialist. Even though her husband was serving on the Landis Homes Executive Board, they decided to do a thorough research of all the retirement communities Lancaster had to offer. The Stauffer’s got together with a group of friends and brainstormed ideas of places they wanted to live. Their list included a place where life long learning experiences were a part everyday activities, as well as physical exercise and brain simulation. They also were looking for a retirement community that was very aware of environmental concerns and conserved land. Finally, after much consideration, the Stauffer’s decided that Landis Homes upheld to their personal beliefs on stewardship and a holistic way of life. Connie and her husband believed that it was extremely important to live somewhere that would be beneficial to the environment. The Stauffer’s always carried values that are strong in being stewards of the earth and growing up with over arching beliefs to leave a better environment for the next generation to come.

Connie and her husband were thrilled that Landis Homes had the idea of building green and conservation of land. They especially liked the fact that Landis Homes is landlocked by farms in all directions. Since Landis Homes is landlocked, Landis Homes decided to build up instead of out to conserve land for future projects. Those buildings become LEED Gold certified Hybrid Homes, where Connie lives today. Connie enjoys that the building is very clean because the geothermal heating and cooling system eliminates a lot of dirt and dust that would usually build up in an apartment with a regularly heating and cooling system. Each apartment in the Hybrid home building has two outside exposures, also known as two large windows, for allowing natural light into the apartment. “The exposure of light brings health, wholeness and light is something you should need in order to live”, said Connie. In Connie’s apartment, she has both east and south outside exposures, which do not affect her heating and cooling because the windows are well built and insulated.

Another aspect that Connie really values is Landis Homes’ philosophy of care. She shared a story of a friend of hers who is in a personal care unit and was asked by a staff member what he was hungry for that day. He said he really missed his wife’s butternut squash pie. The staff member told the dinning team and a couple hours later, he had a butternut squash pie waiting for him the dinning area. She said those are the little things that happen everyday around Landis Homes that makes it different from the rest.

A big part in why Connie enjoys living at Landis Homes is the interaction with others and a sense of community. Not only staff but residents also show that everyone is honored to be a part of the community. Once a week in the west community room, Connie and a group of 8-10 residents take part in tai chi exercises to help relieve stress and improve balance. Connie is also on the advisory board for Pathways Institute as a small endowment to her late husband. Pathways Institute offers programs in two semesters, spring and fall, which provides learning opportunities for retired individuals. Pathway Institute programs include trips to Harrisburg’s forum and classes held by retired business professionals, professors, hobbyist and conservationist who share their knowledge with others in the community. Connie believes these programs inspire them to open their minds and use their brains to learn, which she believes can lead to less medication use. The classes teach many values on holistic, physical, mental and spiritual spectrum. It also is a way retired individuals can give back to their peers and others in the community.

Baby Boomers

Landis Homes is certainly thinking of future projects to accommodate the next string of baby boomers gearing up for retirement. The first set of baby boomers are approaching their seventies and looking for places to finally relax after a stressful life well lived.
Those born between 1946 and 1964 are known as the baby boomers and are part of an activist culture. They grew up during the country’s first environmental awakening, witnessing the first Earth Day in 1970 and the passing of the Clean Air Act in 1970 and the Clean Water Act in 1972. Baby boomers pride themselves in making changes that not only themselves but benefit everyone around them. Baby Boomers lived through the Cold War, Vietnam, Watergate and the housing bubble. They are also believed to be the richest generation in America, making it possible for them to retire to retirement communities, especially communities that are taking on sustainable initiatives (allanhamilton.com). Recent surveys have suggested that the baby boomer generations are more willing to go green than any other generation. As the next set of baby boomers reach peak retirement ages they will be looking for communities to retire to, especially sustainable, environmental friendly communities. It is reported that 85 percent of baby boomers were interested in a home with a smaller carbon footprint and less operating costs (www.greenhome.com). That is where Landis Homes has a leg up on the competition, as one of the first Living GREEN retirement communities in Lancaster County.

Baby boomers are known as the most physically fit generation to reach retirement. Not only does Landis Homes offer sustainable housing, they also offer a plethora of activities to promote their Life Enrichment programs. Landis Homes’ activities are designed to encourage and promote spiritual, physical, social, intellectual and occupational wellness lifestyles for all if their residents. Also encouraged, is participating and planning of activities Landis Homes offer residents on campus. Group activities are scheduled for Residential Living, Personal Care and Health care, which include educational speakers, music groups, arts and crafts, worship services, fitness activities and service projects. They also offer bus trips to local restaurants, concerts and events that include garden tours, shopping, historical walking tours and trips to Downtown Lancaster (Landis Homes).
There are many reasons why baby boomers are attracted to Lancaster County, the main reason being that it is a friendly small town. Lancaster County’s location alone it one of it’s best features. Depending on where you are in the county, it is 90 minutes from Philadelphia, two hours from Washington, D.C and three hours from New York City. Another attraction is low taxes. The sales tax is 6% and state income tax is a flat rate of 3.07% (babyboomerretirement.com). This gives retires the opportunity to still travel and enjoy life outside of a retirement community.

One of Landis Homes ‘greenest’ features are the Hybrid Homes located on South Campus. Hybrid homes provide residents with a new housing option that combines patio homes and apartment living lifestyle. Hybrid homes foster a sense of community between occupants of up to 13 apartments per building with shared living areas including a hearth room on each floor and a community room that is typically shared with a second hybrid household.
To maximize outdoor connections, homes on each floor are positioned to function as corner units with multiple exposures for improved views and daylight connections. With green features such as water-saving plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient lighting, highly insulated walls and windows and geothermal heating and cooling, which uses ground source energy rather than the earth’s core. Geothermal heat pump technology relies on the sun to heat the ground at the earth’s surface. The geothermal mechanical system, high performance windows and increased insulation are projected to help the homes achieve 30 percent high efficiency than ASHRAE base models (GeoComfort).

Hybrid Homes

Hybrid homes also assist in water conservation for the whole retirement community. Rainwater from the roofs of these homes is collected in a 2,500-gallon underground tank, underneath a parking lot, and the piped to outdoor faucets, where it cane be used to water plants or wash cars.
Hybrid homes provide amore compact footprint, which helps to preserve open space, and the under-ground resident parking garage reduces surface parking lots and the associated heat island effects. Elevated temperatures from heat islands can effect a community’s environment and quality of life. Most impacts from heat islands are negative and include:

  • Increased energy consumption
    • Higher temperatures in the summer increase the demand for cooling, which adds to the demand of electricity.
  • Elevated emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases
    • Increased energy demand results in greater emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions. Higher air temperatures produce ground-level ozone.
  • Compromised human health and comfort
    • Higher temperatures day and night combined with air pollution levels can lead to discomfort, respiratory problems, heat camps, heat exhaustion, non-fata; heat stroke and heat-related deaths.
  • Impaired water quality
    • Runoff water from hot pavements and rooftops, drain into storm sewers and end up raising water temperatures released into small and large bodies of water. This can be extremely stressful to aquatic ecosystems.

(Information in this section provide by the United States Environmental Protection Agency)

Walkways also connect residents to a nature trail through the woods as well as gardens available for their personal use to grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers. Right now, Landis Homes is in the process of cleaning out the woods located behind the campus and replacing those plants with native ones. A pedestrian bridge spans a natural stream channel to connect residents back to the core building and services in order to promote walking rather than vehicle transport for those who are able . Another “green” option Landis Homes has to offer, are their new Cottage Homes built from 2010-2012. Each home contains a geothermal heat pump, which collects heat from within the earth during winter and displaces heat back to the earth during summer for cooling using an underground piping or “loop” system with approximately 70 percent of the energy used being renewable.

Each Hybrid home building was built with a central community room on the first floor, where anyone on campus can rent out the room for group activates, special occasions or personal events. The Hybrid homes were designed and constructed to not contain any type of hallway outside of each apartment. The set up of the apartments always you have complete privacy as well as a sense of community. Each floor also has its own common room that all the apartment doors on that floor face out to. The common room includes a fireplace, table, chairs and green plants that get their needed amount of sunlight and are watered by the residents on that floor regularly. Most resident’s uses the common are for putting together puzzles with friends, morning coffee and to just socialize comfortably.

Another feature is tubular day lighting, which brings daylight into dark spaces, through tubes inserted through the roof, so that residents can switch off electric lights during the day and use the efficient and healthful natural lighting. The last feature are the solar attic fans, which use the power of the sun to provide attic ventilation and costs nothing to operate.

Currently, Landis Homes is expanding their South Campus buy adding two other Hybrid home buildings. The first building that already has the walls and elevator shafts up will be completed May/June 2014. That building is completely sold out but the other building right beside it that is in the foundation laying stages has a couple homes still available for purchase.

LEED Construction

Last summer, Landis Homes’ South Campus targeted for LEED Silver certification but instead earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a construction company that uses sustainable materials for their building projects.The campus earned credit for features such as energy performance, use of low-emitting materials landscaping, and the use of natural light. It was also named Central PA LEED Project of the Year. LEED also known as Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building tool that provides certifications for buildings, homes, or communities designed and built keeping human and environmental health in mind. LEED looks for buildings, homes and communities that have included sustainable site development, water saving fixtures, energy efficiency, material selection and indoor environmental quality.

Landis Homes received a certification for LEED Gold for their Hybrid Homes, its new expansion on South Campus. The LEED Gold certification was established by the U.S Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED Gold is the second highest LEED ranking for energy performance, water efficiency, low-emitting materials, recycled contents and incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. Landis homes’ LEED certified buildings save money for their residents’ families, other businesses in the area and local taxpayers by using less energy, less water and byreducing greenhouse gas emissions. Landis Homes LEED buildings also contribute to a healthier environment for residents and their staff.

Below are project features that contributed to LEED Certification:

    • Optimize Energy Performances
  • Geothermal mechanical system and other measures exceeded 45% energy cost savings compared to baseline building
    • Water Efficiency
  • Ultra low-flow plumbing fixtures and rainwater harvesting
    • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Thermal comfort which included windows and insulation
  • Low-emitting materials that included specific types of adhesives, paints, and carpeting
    • Sustainable Site
  • Open space including the woodland area and floodplain restoration project
  • Groundwater recharge and filtration systems to manage storm water including rain garden on South Campus and porous paving

LEED scored Landis Homes on their New Construction and Major Renovations rating system scorecard.
LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations rating systems awarded Landis Homes:

  • 6 out of 14 for sustainable sites
  • 13 out of 17 for energy and atmosphere
  • 5 out of 13 for materials and resources
  • 12 out of 15 for indoor environmental quality
  • 5 out of 5 for innovations

With a total of 45 points out of 69 points, Landis Homes was able to earn a LEED Gold certification.
(Information in this section provided by U.S Green Building Council)

Green Power

Maintaining LEED Gold certification qualifications, Landis Homes has started supporting renewable energy. In January 2013, Landis Homes purchased “Green Power” for 10 percent of electricity used on their campus now through January 2015. Green power energy is electricity produced from renewable sources such as solar power, wind power, geothermal energy, biogas, biomass and small hydroelectric sources with low-impact. Landis Homes’ benefits from buying “Green Power” include supporting their own social and stewardship goals, environmental leadership positioning and enhancing employee character.
Green power energy sources produce electricity with less environmental impact than conventional power and produces less greenhouse gas emissions. Green power sources must also have been built within the last 15 years in order to support “new” renewable energy development (Hess Energy Marketing).
Landis Homes received a Renewable Energy Certification (RECs), which is one of the easiest ways for an organization to support green sources of power. When Landis Homes purchased RECs, they made a commitment to support greener sources of power and invested in the development of renewable energy sources. Green-e Energy, the nations leading independent certification and verification program for renewable energy, has certified the RECs provided by Hess Energy. Their seal assures that the renewable energy purchased is reducing the environmental impact of the electricity used.
Environmental benefits of buying green power for Landis Homes include improving energy diversity, independence and sustainability. Green power supports the conservation of non-renewable fossil fuels including oil, coal and natural gas. Renewable energy offsets carbon dioxide and other emissions from conventional power plants (Hess Energy Marketing).
(Information in this section provided by Hess Energy Marketing)

AUTOBrine Delivery Systems

Another system used at Landis Homes to help in their mission of being environmentally friendly is The AUTOBrine System from Cope Salt of Lancaster. The AUTOBrine System contributes to Landis Homes program to reduce non-biodegradable waste by eliminating all plastic bags and shrink-wrap used for transporting bagged salt. The AUTOBrine System has helped Landis Homes reduce their carbon footprint by over 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.
The AUTOBrine System is a water conditioning system that softens water for facilities and helps contribute to the reduction of a facilities’ carbon footprint. Current customers of AUTOBrine Systems have eliminated over 800,000 pounds of plastic and 60,000 pallets. Brine is water saturated with salt, usually sodium chloride. It can be used in the water softening process or pre-wetting process to prevent ice and snow from adhering to a sidewalk or roadway (autobrine.com).
The salt used in an AUTOBrine System is purchased as loose salt. Purchasing loose salt eliminates the energy used to dry and bag the salt, as well as the process of manufacturing the bags. With the help of the AUTOBrine System, Landis Homes avoids sending 2, 890 plastic bags to the landfill each year.
(Information in this section provided by AUTOBrine.com) 

Rain Water Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting is another way Landis Homes has gone green. Rainwater is harvested in barrels attached to downspouts of cottages, the roofs of Hybrid homes and healthcare buildings. The rainwater collected in barrels from different location on campus is then, collected in a 2,500-gallon underground tank. The water from the underground tank is piped to outdoor faucets, where it can be used to water plants or to wash cars. There are two Rainwater Car Wash stations located ina parking area near the Hybrid homes that can be used by all residents on campus. In efforts to harvest rainwater in a different way, Landis Homes has installed a Rain Garden on south campus. The rain garden is able to control water runoff since the plants absorb water but they also improve water quality through water filtration. Since the plants needs to able to absorb runoff water and improve water quality, the selection of plants and soil is very important. The rain garden will also provide a habitat for native animals.

The rain garden will have a different look than a traditional landscaped area because native plants will be used. The native plants used in the rain garden include:

  • Marsh marigold, which sprouts yellow flowers in the spring
  • Different types of sedges
  • Iris
  • Aster
  • Cardinal flower
  • Soft rush and turtlehead, which has a pinkish-purple bloom

At first, the rain garden may require a bit of maintenance to keep out invasive species but once it matures, it will require little maintenance from the landscaping team (Landis Homes).

Streams and Floodplain Restoration

Another one of Landis Homes’ green projects was the stream and floodplain restoration. The floodplain restoration project helped Landis Homes earn LEED Gold. Construction of the stream and floodplain restoration was completed in October but is still being tweaked. Last August, Landis Homes began working on their Floodplain Restoration plan by removing sediments and fill that built-up over many years in the stream and floodplain that ran through the campus. Removing the sediment provided several benefits for Landis Homes and the community including removing about three feet of sediments containing nitrogen and phosphorous collected in the floodplain (landishomes.com).

The original stream that ran through the floodplain eventually emptied into the Chesapeake Bay. It has been reported that the Chesapeake Bay is considered impaired water under the Clean Water Act. With the removal of contaminated sediment, Landis Homes is doing their effort in helping clean up the Chesapeake Bay. The stream at Landis Homes empties into the Susquehanna River first, which flows through Lancaster County, is the Chesapeake Bay’s largest tributary, providing 50percent of its fresh water source.

Lancaster County is seen as one of the largest sources of pollution for the Bay and they have been asked to do their part in reducing contaminated sediments. With the removal of the contaminated sediments, Landis Homes is able to contribute to reducing the nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. By removing the sediments, the stream is able to stabilize so storm water isn’t able to erode away the banks. The wider and flatter floodplain improves water quality by created vegetated wetlands to help filter sediments and pollutants.

Landis Homes worked with LandStudies, Inc., an environmental planning and restoration firm serving the mid-Atlantic region for more than 25 years, to design the floodplain. LandStudies believes that understanding and working with natural systems instead of artificially controlling them. LandStudies offers a new approach to conventional site design while balancing stewardship with practicality. The floodplain restoration project was designed to meet the needs of the community. LandStudies explained the project as,  “Removing legacy sediment form the floodplain and increasing floodwater storage potential. In addition, the project will reduce stream bank erosion and promote the infiltration and filtration of runoff resulting in water quality benefits. The storm water storage capacity of the project will reduce the amount of useable space devoted to traditional storm water basins and increase buildable acreage”.

(Information in this section provide by LandStudies Inc.)

The floodplain restoration project, which is a total of 6.5-acres long, was completed in the spring 2013. During the summer of 2013, 26,000 plugs of sedges, rushes and reeds were planted. The roots of the plants will help stabilize the stream bank and filter water flowing into the streambed. In the past, the stream bank had been 2 to 3 feet high, now its 8 to 12 inches high. The difference in stream bank measurements means that when it rains and the stream rises, it spills out onto the floodplain and begins to infiltrate into the ground. The water in the stream channel moves slower helping prevent erosion and provide a better habitat for fish and wildlife (Landis Homes).

Listed below are the trees, shrubs and herbaceous plugs that were planted in the floodplain.

4 Red Maple
32 River Birch
4 American Sycamore
6 Swamp White Oak
5 Sweetbay Magnolia

25 Serviceberry
80 Red Chokeberry
26 Black Chokeberry
100 Buttonbush
80 Sweet Pepperbush
60 Silky Dogwood
110 Winterberry
60 Swamp Rose
110 Arrowwood

Herbaceous Plugs-25,428
950 Swap Mildweed
1700 Bristly Sedge
1050 Fringed Sedge
900 Emory’s Sedge
1536 Porcupine Sedge
800 Lurid Sedge
1200 Awl-fruisted Sedge
700 Tussock Sedge
900 Fox Sedge
1000 Northern Seaoats
350 Turtlehead
900 Spikerush
50 Boneset
200 Swamp Mallow
1250 Blueflag Iris
2700 Soft rush
900 Rice Cutgrass
950 Cardinal Flower
900 Blue Lobelia
216 Monkey Flower
200 Bee Balm
250 Arrow Arum
150 Pickerelweed
144 Duck Potato
50 Lizard Tail
650 Green Bulush
600 Woolgrass
600 Common Three-squared Bulrush
1000 Soft Stem Bulrush
632 Burreed
250 Blue Vervain

Wetland plants serve many functions including, soaking up water that could cause flooding, slowing the flow of water, lessening the effects of erosion, filtering excess nutrients, sediments and pollutants out of water and providing protection, breeding grounds and food for aquatic wildlife and nesting area for migratory birds. Recently, native species of birds and animals have been frequenting the floodplain that weren’t able to before when the area was a canal.

With stewardship as a guiding principal of the retirement community, the primary goal of this restoration project was to vastly improve stream function and the site’s ecological biodiversity while making efficient use of the land. Landis Homes is able to add up to 11 new homes where two retentions basins were removed.

Dining Services

The 360 Degree Sustainable Excellence Program of Corporate Social Responsibility was initiated to “achieve commercial success in a way that honors ethical values and respects people, communities and the natural environment” (Landis Homes). Since 2008, Landis Homes has been able to reduce the amount of all paper and plastic products throughout the community. Events that are catered by the dinning team are now served using 80 percent of re-usable china products and compostable materials. All the Cafes are now using hot and cold cups that are made out of 100 percent compostable materials. As previously mentioned, Landis Homes has also installed ultra low-flow water systems in the kitchen for their dishwashers and in another area to wash fruits and vegetables. The low-flow plumbing fixtures are able to produce 0.5 to 1.5 gallons of water per minute, which is able to reduce water usage from 40 percent to 70 percent (Landis Homes).

Another program initiated to maintain a healthy lifestyle on campus is called the “Trim Trax”. This program currently captures organic waste and then transports it to Landis Homes’ compositing site. Residents are welcome to gather their own organic waste and take it the composting site. The Trim Trax program allows for an increase in more pre and post consumer waste and also allows other compost-ables through a local company that can also accept fats and proteins that are not normally mixed in standard composting programs. Even the bags used to accumulate the waste are made of 100 percent compostable materials (Landis Homes).

Other steps taken to serve healthier, locally grown food include introducing vegetarian sections to the menu. At the beginning stages, the dining team would offer sample-sized versions of vegetarian meals to residents willing to give them a try. Landis Homes is hoping to convert their residents into flexitarians, who eat a least a few meatless meals per week. The cook’s assistants are being trained to trim vegetable so that less is wasted and the peels are being composted instead of being put down the garbage disposal.

Since 2008, Landis Homes has been purchasing Sustainable Seafood, which meets the standards recommended by the Monterrey Bay aquarium Foundation’s Seafood Watch Program. In 2009, it was reported that the Compass Group moved over 2 million pounds of seafood from the endangered or threatened varieties to sustainable seafood choices. Other purchasing strategies that keep up with a healthier eating lifestyle include, only purchasing pasteurized, cage-free shell eggs, every product is pesticide free, oils are trans fat free, poultry purchased is raised without the use of human antibiotics (rBGH) and the milk is hormone-free (Landis Homes).

Landis Homes has always focused on local produce; for example, seasonal vegetables like corn are purchased from Harvest View Farm, located next door. Several times a year a vegetable cart, from Harvest View Farm, is setup near the dining area with fresh produce for residents to purchase. Now Landis Homes is able to Buy Local produce from a local distributor, Kegel’s Produce that offers the best seasonal produce from surrounding farms with contracting directly with numerous local growers (Kegel’s Produce).

The Dining Services Department has initiated an Herb Garden Program to provide the kitchens with fresh herbs grown on site. In conjunction with working with the Life Enrichment Department, the dining team is promoting vegetable gardens on campus and courtyards to encourage residents in all areas of the campus to participate in the Growing Green program.

This year Dining Services planted approximately 48 tomato plants of all varieties. The Dining Services team also had a full bed of green beans, an herb bed, bed of mint and 8 green pepper plants.

The mint was offered hot and cold throughout the summer and hopefully it will be able to be used this fall too. The total green beans grown were 108 pounds and the total tomatoes grown at the end of the season was 615.25 pounds.

(Information in this section provided by Landis Homes)

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