Monday, 28 May 2018
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

Simple Ways An HOA Can Go Green

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 27 March 2018 20:05

While there is continuing debate about global climate change, one related issue that all agree on is the need for better stewardship of the Earth. We all owe a debt of caring for our world. What better place to start than at home? While governments often move at a glacial pace to enact green policies, self help is readily available today.

Homeowner associations often control a variety of systems, processes, equipment, designs and materials. In all HOAs, there are opportunities to improve energy efficiency which often produce economic benefits as well. This is a win-win: doing well by doing good! Here are some ways an HOA can go green:

Eco-landscaping involves a combination of careful plant and tree selection, turf reduction, chemical fertilizer elimination and water management. The days of broad green spaces are making way for a myriad of options that are more water and earth friendly. Selecting pest resistant and drought tolerant native species saves on maintenance, water and pest control. Fitting sprinkler systems with rain override sensors reduces water. Reducing turf areas reduces mowing and the pollution generated by gas powered equipment.

Donate It. Many areas have building product and material recycling centers which will accept lumber, doors, windows, cabinets, sinks, carpet and appliances. If you are renovating your clubhouse and have an option to donate used material and equipment instead of dumping, do it. Craigslist.com offers a free way to dispose of building materials.

Offer Recycling. Some jurisdictions have mandated recycling as part of the trash collection process. When recyclables are separated from trash, the trash load is reduced and trash collection costs less. With less trash, the landfill load is reduced as is the contamination of soil and ground water. Even where recycling is provided, compliance lags due to consumer laziness. The HOA can remind residents of their civic duty and the obvious benefit of lower trash collection costs.

Where government recycling requirements are absent, the HOA can create its own system by establishing a centralized recycling station for glass, metal, paper and recyclable plastics that is serviced by a contractor or committee. While individuals can haul their own recycling, the easier and cheaper it is to do, the greater the compliance. Centralize and economize.

Manage Energy Better. Take full advantage of power and water saving devices. LED (Light Emitting Diode) use minuscule amount of energy compared to other forms. Add solar activated exterior light controls so lights burn only when needed. Replace high flow plumbing fixtures with low flow models. Insulate water pipes and heat ducts. For more ideas, Click Here

Recycled Paint. This option is becoming more prevalent in metropolitan areas. Leftover latex paint is screened and blended into a popular pallette of colors and resold at a reduced price. For options, Google "[your state] recycled paint".

Go Solar. Many states offer incentives for adding solar power generation or solar hot water systems. If your building(s) have flat roofs or good southern exposure, consult with local solar system providers for options. For HOAs with pools, solar water heating can often pay for itself quickly and significantly lower energy consumption. For more, Click Here.

Packaging Reduction. This is an often overlooked strategy in reducing waste. Packaging can range from none (like buying food in bulk) to Fort Knox (like hard shell plastic wrapped around electronics to reduce theft). Consumers generally have a range of packaging choices in many products. Opting for the one with less packaging is a conscious decision to help green the world.

Make it Fun! The intriguing thing about going green is there are so many ways to pull it off. The HOA can encourage the process by offering prizes for effort and creativity. Those that step up are often willing to help recruit and encourage others. The news media loves to run stories about grass root green efforts. Make your HOA a standout and be seen as green.

For more on this topic, see www.Regenesis.net

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Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson owns Regenesis, a management consulting company that specializes in condominium and homeowner associations. He is a nationally recognized expert on HOA management issues.

Regenesis publishes The Regenesis Report, a monthly newsletter for HOA boards, developers and managers. To subscribe, go to Regenesis.net. He can be contacted by email at rich@regenesis.net.

www.regenesis.net

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