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Valle Verde Retirement Community Unveils Natural-Gas Bus

The Valle Verde Retirement Community, an American Baptist Homes of the West continuing care campus, on Monday unveiled its new 24-passenger Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) bus.

Valle Verde residents and staff were on hand to celebrate with a champagne toast. The addition of the new CNG bus expands Valle Verde’s Green Footprint program to improve the local environment through eco-friendly means, such as solar production, increased recycling, native landscaping, reducing water use and much more.

“Today marks another key green accomplishment for our campus,” said Suzie Swenson, director of Life Enrichment at Valle Verde. “We have been working hard to provide our residents with a more environmentally conscience means of transportation. Now they can go shopping, to doctor’s appointments or out to lunch with friends knowing that they are polluting less and saving money.”

The new CNG passenger bus will run entirely on natural gas, which on average is 30 percent to 50 percent less expensive then gasoline. Natural gas is one of the cleanest fuels available today, and when compared to gasoline produces 85 percent less carbon monoxide and 50 percent less nitrogen oxide. In addition to fuel savings and emission reductions, CNG vehicles have a longer engine life because of the clean burning attributes of natural gas.

Over the past eight years, Valle Verde has created and expanded its campuswide green initiative and continues to reduce its dependence on electricity, decrease waste, improve air quality, compost green waste, use reclaimed water and buy local produce.

Valle Verde’s Green Footprint program includes:

» 72,000-watt solar electric generation system
» Local produce — up to 85 percent of produce consumed on campus is purchased from local farms
» Electronic records in the medical center
» Solar residential water heaters
» Reclaimed water used for all irrigation
» Climate sensitive irrigation controllers for minimal water usage
» Drought tolerant, native plants
» Campuswide recycling and waste reduction program
» Employee and senior resident alternative transportation programs
» Built Green practices on campus remodels

Valle Verde has received the following awards for its green program:

» CalRecycle Waste Reduction Award 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011
» International Council on Active Aging 2010 Green Award
» City of Santa Barbara Solar Energy System Recognition Award & Certificate 2007, 2009 and 2011
» AAHSA Leading-Edge Care and Services Award 2008
» Central Coast Magazine Green Award Nominee 2008
» Santa Barbara Green Award 2007

Valle Verde has been located at 900 Calle de los Amigos in Santa Barbara since 1966. It is a nonprofit retirement community committed to helping people live full, happy and long lives.

— Toby Ayars is a publicist representing the Valle Verde Retirement Community.

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