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Valle Verde Plants 150 Trees to Expand Campus’ Oak Woodland Preserve

This week, the Valle Verde retirement community is planting 150 oak trees that started as acorns collected from the campus’ oak woodland.

“After growing these trees for about six years in pots, it is thrilling to see them actually in the ground,” said Tim Wetzel, executive director at Valle Verde. “The 150 new trees expand our existing oak woodland with stock from the same oak species — something a local biologist pointed out is a key benefit for our woodland expansion.

“Since many of these new trees are already 4 feet tall, they are immediately adding to the beauty of our open, hilltop space. This is only one small aspect of our campus master plan, but it really highlights our unique Santa Barbara approach to retirement living.”

The planting of the 150 oak trees is a portion of Valle Verde’s green building practices used in the construction of much-needed senior housing in Santa Barbara.

Valle Verde is also implementing the following green techniques to make construction more environmentally sensitive:

» Diverting more than 90 percent of demolition and construction waste to recycling in lieu of landfill

» Installing low-flow faucets and shower heads

» Installing tank-less hot water heaters for “on demand” hot water

» Maintaining erosion controls during construction

» Utilizing efficiency measures for the wood framing

» Less than 10 percent waste and detailed cut lists

» Using Fly Ash in the structural concrete

» Using low VOC materials, adhesives and finishes

» Landscaping with native plants with low water needs

» Using a drip irrigation system in lieu of a spray system

In addition, Valle Verde has expanded a campus-wide Green Footprint program 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

» Natural gas bus for resident transportation

» Electronic medical center records

» Solar residential water heaters

» Reclaimed water for all irrigation

» Climate sensitive irrigation controllers for minimal water usage

» Drought tolerant, native plants

» Campus-wide recycling and waste reduction program

» Employee and senior resident alternative transportation programs

» Built Green practices on campus remodels

The Valle Verde retirement community has been located at 900 Calle de los Amigos in Santa Barbara since 1966. Valle Verde is a nonprofit retirement community committed to helping people live full, happy and long lives. Valle Verde is owned and managed by American Baptist Homes of the West.

— Toby Ayars is a publicist representing Valle Verde.

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