Category Archives: Sustainability

A win-win-win-win solution

Submitted by the Sustainability Committee

What does Collington do with old appliances and fixtures?


Collington always has items that it no longer needs.   It happened in the clear-out needed to start the Bistro.  It happens when units become empty and are refurbished for new residents.  It happened when Administration moved up a floor.   It has happened recently as try-out cottages are changed into sales units.  

Items may include outdated, but still functional stoves, dishwashers, and fridges.  It may be shelving, old picture frames, tables, filing cabinets, desks that the OO Shop doesn’t think it can sell quickly.  It may be kitchen cabinets that have life left in them.

A few items are kept in storage as emergency replacements for residents.   The rest of the still serviceable items are carefully priced to reflect their age and life expectancy.   Then, once a sufficient number have accumulated, there’s a special garage-type sale, open only to Collington staff.  

So far this year there have been three such sales, which have yielded some $4800.

That’s the first “win”.

The second “win” comes from what the money is used for:  it all goes towards the costs of the annual staff holiday party, an end-of-year, off-site bash with raffles and door prizes and food and fun.   So the staff members get to buy useful things cheaply and know that their money is going to give them future pleasure too.  

Then there’s a third “win”: whatever doesn’t sell is given away to Habitat for Humanity.  

The fourth “win” is a win for sustainability:  serviceable items end up being put to good use instead of prematurely ending up in a landfill.   

So Collington has a quadruple win solution!  

Eye-opening Eco-Facts…


Three members of Collington’s Sustainability Committee visited our local recycling center.  While there, they learned the following startling facts about how long it takes various items of everyday household use to decompose.  The Trip’s Committee may be considering to offer a trip for residents to the center in future.  Here are excerpts from the list they were given on the tour.

Continue reading

Collington, Kendal and Sustainability

Kendal, the network of which Collington is a part, has a set of 13 goals on sustainability.

The attached is our Sustainability Committee’s Sustainability assessment, lining up goals, progress and additional needed steps with respect to each of those goals.

It has to be read.  The Committee and management are deserving of huge praise for our progress and for this clear monitoring and reporting.



Recycling Instructions Now Available on This Website

Collington residents would not be alone if they were confused by the “what goes where when” problem.

So, thanks to the Sustainability Committee and their creation of this simple two page brochure of which one page is shown below, and the full printable version is here.


The brochure is the work of several Sustainability Group Members including Sara Case, Pat Bozeman, Jessica Millstead, Marian Fuchs, Peter Pfund, Jim Giese,and Charlotte Melichar, plus Joan Zorza of the Marketing Committee. It will also be printed and distributed to all independent residents with extra copies to Marketing for incoming residents.

In this community there is no need to underline the importance of following the instructions.


A Helpful Analysis of the Money, Time and Inconvenience That Can be Reduced by Using LED Bulbs

Richard Garrison of the Sustainability Subcommittee of the Buildings Committee at Collington has developed this useful analysis of the benefits of LED bulbs.  Hopefully they will be of use way beyond our campus.

LED bulbs generally look and provide light like standard incandescent bulbs, but they use only a fraction of the electricity, last far longer, and therefor save a lot of money (they run a lot cooler, too.) . In fact, to match the lifespan costs of one 60-watt equivalent LED bulb using traditional incandescent bulbs you would have to spend about $154 more for electricity and buying about 20 incandescent bulbs.

Bulb Types

Incandescent bulbs (the common ones we all grew up with) emit light because electricity running through a filament inside the oxygen-free glass envelope causes the filament to become white hot and emit light. Incandescent bulbs are simply electric heaters which emit light as an incidental side effect.   Incandescents contain no mercury, but run hot.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps [CFLs] cause a coating inside the bulb to fluoresce, emitting light. CFLs contain mercury and run almost as cool as LEDs. 

Light Emitting Diodes [LEDs] are electronic devices that cause electrons to bounce between low and high energy orbits releasing photons (light) in the process.   Many LED bulbs are similar in size and shape to standard incandescent bulbs, so they can be used for lampshades employing spring clips which attach to the bulb itself instead of a harp.   LEDs contain no mercury and run relatively cool.

Electricity used by a bulb, regardless of type, is converted essentially100% into heat @ 3.4 BTU/watt-hour.   Lower wattage bulbs emit less heat for lower air conditioning loads (thus saving even more).


We all grew up using a bulb’s wattage as an indicator of its brightness or light output, but the wattage is merely a measure of the electrical energy consumed by the bulb.   Light output is measured in “lumens” regardless of bulb type or wattage.   Here is a rough conversion between traditional incandescent wattages and lumen output:

  • 100 watts – about 1600 lumens
  • 75   watts – about 1100 lumens
  • 60   watts – about 800 lumens
  • 40   watts – about 450 lumens

Human perception of light is far from linear.   A 1600 lumen bulb does not appear to be twice as bright or to throw twice as much light as an 800 lumen bulb, and the difference between 700 lumens and 900 lumens might not even be noticed.

Color Temperature

Color temperature is a way of describing the color of light emitted, commonly expressed in degrees Kelvin.     The light emitted by common incandescent bulbs is usually yellowish, or “warm,” usually around 2700 degrees K.   Depending on technical design common color temperatures for all three types of bulbs range from “warm” (2700 K) to “bright white” or “daylight” (5000 K – 6000 K).

Bulb Lifespan

Bulb lifespan is not a precise thing, but here are some common averages for the bulb types in question (To give some perspective on bulb life, a year is 24 x 365 = 8,760 hours):

  • Incandescent    750 – 2000 hours
  • CFL (Plug-in)    10,000 – 20,000 hours
  • CFL (Screw base)     8,000 – 10,000 hours
  • LED   25,000 – 50,000 hours

The three kinds of bulbs in question are widely available with standard screw bases in a broad range of lumen and color temperature outputs, and light distribution profiles (e.g., spot, flood, diffuse) at many retail outlets (e.g., Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon, etc.). 

The calculations were performed as follows:

  • (Watts x 25,000 hrs) / 1000watts per kilowatt-hour   = kilowatt-hours used over 25,000 hour operation
  • kilowatt-hours used x price per kilowatt-hour = electricity cost over 25,000 hours
  • 25,000 hrs / hrs average bulb lifespan = number of bulbs needed to operate for 25,000 hours
  • # bulbs needed for 25,000 hr lifespan x price/bulb = total bulb cost for 25,000 hrs operation
  • Electricity + bulb cost for 25,000 hrs of operation = total overall operating cost per fixture