Maccabi senior living facilities are going 'green'

Bayit Balev asks suppliers of household products to provide them with environmentally friendly products.

Bayit Balev, Maccabi Health Services' senior living facilities, will become the first "green" retirement homes in Israel, with four facilities being transformed across the country. Bayit Balev is an upscale retirement facility for residents who are independent but prefer a more protected living space. It offers 24/7 health care and security, and has some 100 apartments in Jerusalem, the first facility to go green. Each apartment has two or three rooms. "In the process, we have located what are the things that need to be done to make the homes greener," explained Bayit Balev spokesman Itzhak Rabahiya. "In Jerusalem, we have asked the management as well as the people who live in the homes to start recycling everything - paper, batteries, ink cartridges, bottles, and florescent light bulbs. At this stage, we are now moving from plastic grocery bags to cloth bags." Bayit Balev has asked the suppliers of household products to provide them with environmentally friendly products, including chemical-free cleaning supplies and long-life light bulbs. Water-saving mechanisms and heating/cooling efficiency monitors are also being installed. Maccabi hopes that the Jerusalem, located in the Nahlaot neighborhood, in addition to the three other Bayit Balev buildings, will eventually become a model for environmental responsibility in Israel. Tamara Rose, an American immigrant to Israel has been a resident of the Nahlaot facility for two years. She is vice president of the Tamar chapter of Hadassah Israel. Rose finds the green initiative "stimulating and interesting. It is very important to work together with the workers and the residents in order to protect the environment and to take part in recycling and keeping the environment clean. We should do as much to preserve earth and our environment as we can… for our grandchildren and great grandchildren." Rose, other residents, and program managers all emphasize the importance of saving resources for the coming generations. "It's a really fortunate time to do this. With all the problems that we have in Israel, it is wonderful that we can also work for the environment," says Rose.