7 Tips for Planning an Ecofriendly Retirement

10/23/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

It's not enough to just retire to a community that's healthful or a place where the golf courses are abundant. Retirees are now looking for retirement destinations where they can live ecofriendly lifestyles that still include all the amenities of traditional retirement. Are you one of the 40 million green boomers? Consider these tips for a green retirement and use our new Best Places to Retire search to find the city that's right for you.

Location, Location, Location. If you retire near your friends and family, rather than a far away beach, you'll have to take fewer flights and you'll be closer to loved ones. Consider how the place you retire will affect not only your happiness but also your energy consumption.

Look for a destination with abundant public transportation. That way, you'll have plenty of ways to remain self-sufficient even if you have to give up your car. Public transportation may be so easy that you'll choose to give the car up before it's necessary or drive more infrequently.

Take up the Slow Foods Movement. If you're retired, you have the time to savor and enjoy slow food—locally grown, seasonal, and prepared with care. You'll cut your carbon footprint while preparing delicious meals for family and friends. If you have a garden, grow your own produce.

Buy organic. It's good advice for anyone, but especially for seniors who are watching their health. Choosing food and other products that are less processed and more natural keeps chemicals out of your body. It also supports small farms, reduces pollution, and saves energy.

Volunteer for a green cause. According to the Environmental Leader, 78 percent of boomers are willing to donate their time to a good cause. Join a local group that protects a nearby park, or clean up a beach. The website Green Seniors can help you find one.

Look for green features in your retirement community. Maybe it's a LEED certified community, or maybe all of the apartments just feature Energy Star refrigerators. Either way, talk to the property's managers to let them know that green features are desired.

Finally, choose your golf course wisely. Golf is not an ecofriendly sport—it wastes water and requires tons of pesticides to maintain courses. Check out these 10 ecofriendly golf courses for a guilt-free day on the links.

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More from U.S. News & World Report:
Best Places to Retire 2008
Photos: Best Places to Retire
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