Kendal campus - bench along walkway

Caring for the Environment

Kendal Cares for the Earth

Kendal at Oberlin residents and staff feel strongly about taking an active role in environmental stewardship. It’s not something that is adhered to only on Earth Day. It’s part of Kendal’s values and everyday practices. Our collective conscience tells us, “to tread ever more lightly upon the earth.” This theme is propagated by the decisions Kendal makes and the actions it takes. There is acceptance that global warming is a serious concern for our planet.

At the time Kendal at Oberlin was built over 25 years ago, the Founders and the Kendal organization had a common concern about the use and conservation of natural resources. The Founders were drawn to Kendal’s philosophy for building and operating its communities in an ecologically sound and socially responsible manner. Thus our commitment to protect the beautiful environment around us.

Minimizing Our Carbon Footprint

While building Kendal at Oberlin, wetlands and woodland areas were preserved and there was sensitivity to the design and construction of the community. An environmentally sustainable community is what Kendal continually strives towards. This is evidenced in the thoughtful planning of expansion and renovations over the years including:

  • Minimal cottage footprints, minimizing land consumption and reducing paved areas as much as possible
  • Insulation that meets or exceeds the recommended thermal resistance values for this region
  • Windows and appliances that carry “energy star” ratings
  • Use of energy efficient light bulbs
  • Ceiling fans that minimize heating and cooling costs
  • Low flow toilets, showerheads and faucet aerators
  • Geothermal heating and cooling in cottage renovation

In addition, wherever possible, materials with recyclable content and those that are regionally manufactured are used. Kendal at Oberlin’s dining services uses compostable paper products and locally grown produce whenever possible. Used frying oil is donated to a local biodiesel manufacturer.

Green logo - Reduce. reuse, recyle

A History of Environmental Work

When Kendal opened in 1993, this resident-driven community began establishing committees, where there were areas of interest. The Environmental Concerns Committee is a long-standing committee, with the task of identifying concerns of environmental sustainability; educating; developing action programs to address problems; and encouraging participation from the Kendal community; and consulting and cooperating with Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin. There are also committees that focus on Energy and Recycling concerns.

Additionally, with Oberlin being such a walkable city, residents and staff often choose walking and biking as modes of transportation, conserving fuel and staying fit at the same time.

More recently, our campus became an arboretum, registered by ArbNet. In spring of 2016, we celebrated the opening of The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin. Stewardship of Kendal’s 100+ acre grounds, now designated as an accredited arboretum, ensures its conservation as a place where trees and other plants are grown for enjoyment, education and celebration of the natural environment…a place that residents, staff and the greater community can benefit from for years to come.

Partnering with Oberlin College and the City of Oberlin to Protect the Environment

The John Bartram Arboretum works with the city of Oberlin and Oberlin College, planting trees and creating opportunities for learning. Kendal is pleased to partner with the city and the college to help create a national model for sustainable communities. All are working towards being one of the nation’s first climate positive communities. Plans were developed to create a 13-acre “Green Arts District” in the heart of downtown Oberlin, emphasizing the commitment to both culture and sustainability.

Today’s and tomorrow’s Kendal at Oberlin residents look for many of the same features that the Founders valued…a community that takes advantage of the natural beauty of the land, is sensitive to its own environment, and that of the larger community. Kendal at Oberlin continues to become a deeper shade of green.