Saving energy or “going green” in your condo association community doesn’t mean jumping off a cliff to embrace a drastically different standard of living. There are a range of things you can do–from small everyday changes to long-term rebuilding— that will save you energy. This is not only good for the planet, but it also saves you money and can give you peace of mind knowing that you’re doing your part for the greater good of your community.
Here are some simple energy conservation tips all members of your homeowners or condo association can adhere to:
Assess how much energy you are using: Documenting your current energy use will help identify areas where you can save.
Buy Energy Efficient products: When purchasing energy-efficient appliances, look for the energy star logo, which indicates appliances that meet strict standards for conservation. Many of these products offer money-saving rebates, and your community association board should be mindful of this.
Reduce Usage: From electricity to heating and cooling systems, you may be using more than you need. Turn off lamps and enjoy natural light during the day. For home cooling, using air conditioning as a last resort to natural ventilation and shading. Use small space heaters to trap heat in certain places like work or sleep areas, or draw on the natural power of the sun for an active solar heating system.
Invest in An Energy Efficient Home: Design or upgrade your home with efficiency in mind. Ultra-efficient homes include climate-specific designs, built-in energy efficient appliances, solar water heating systems. Long term investments in energy-efficient construction includes proper insulation and proper ventilation for windows and doors. These designs provide energy conservation daily and add up to tremendous cost-savings in the long-run.
Landscape Strategically: Energy savings extend beyond the interior of your home and into your landscaping design. Trees planted strategically for shade can help reduce cooling costs while windbreaks can lower the wind chill in your home and save on heating costs. Talk with your association’s landscaping company to get a feel for how they can make your development more eco-friendly.
Practice Water Efficiency: Save money by installing a new energy-efficient water heater in homes. Reduce your usage of hot water or lower your water temperature. The United States Department of Energy estimates that you can save between 3%–5% in energy costs for each 10ºF of reduction in water temperature.