A Sustainable Aging-in-Place Home

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A Tampa-based builder was so inspired by the sight of veterans coming home from the war with disabilities that he started building sustainable homes to allow veterans to age-in-place in an energy-efficient home. This article in the St. Petersburg Times talks about one of these homes, dubbed the Freedom Home, near Busch Gardens.

The home, like others that are built or modified to allow seniors and people with disabilities age-in-place, are equipped with a host of features to make life easier as the owners age. The house is affordably priced, starting at $131,900 for a 1,200-square-foot home.

The managing partner of this company says that most homes that have been remodeled to accommodate people with disabilities “make them more disabled instead of enhancing their lives. Your home should give you freedom instead of disabling you more.”

For instance, some doorways remain too narrow to accommodate a wheelchair, carpeting or vinyl flooring quickly develops wheel ruts, bathrooms are hard to negotiate in a wheelchair, kitchen counters are too high, ranges and sinks that can’t be used from a sitting position, etc. Home modification is more than just installing blocking for grab bars in the shower.

The Freedom Home uses engineered wood floors, which are easy to roll on and attractive. A structural support is added into the ceiling of the master bedroom so an overhead lift can be added if needed to assist a person with a disability or someone who breaks a hip.

In addition to the standard aging-in-place features, this home also incorporates energy-smart, low-maintenance, money-saving features, including Icynene foam insulation in the attic; double-glazed, low-E windows; a heat pump that exceeds code minimum; and a programmable thermostat. All the appliances are Energy Star-rated to use less electricity than is standard.

Reducing utility expenses is another concern for people as they age-in-place. While they want to continue living at home, sometimes the costs may be too much to bear. However, an energy-efficient or sustainable home helps to significantly reduce costs for the homeowner. When you’re modifying your home so you can continue living independently, be sure to discuss with your contractor some energy-efficient features.

What are some ways you can reduce your energy costs?.

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