Does your Condo Association have a strategy to go green?
If you live in an older condo building the answer is most likely no, but that can change quickly after understanding a number of fairly easy to implement green initiatives found on the EPA's Energy Star website. No one expects the condo association an older residential building to go 100% green tomorrow, but there a many small steps that can make your building more energy efficient and a healthier place to live right now. Here are some ideas for condo associations boards and property managers.
A Condo Association Can Do a Energy Self-Audit On Their Condo Building
Energy Star has a self evaluation tool called the Home Energy Yardstick, which helps you determine the overall energy efficiency of your property. It works well and actually only takes about 5 minutes, like the website claims. Although it's intended for a single family property, you can make it work for your condo building by calculating an average condo unit, then extrapolating the information to meet the size of your condo building.
It's a quick and useful calculation of your energy usage, and requires some knowledge of your energy usage over the past year (which will be on your monthly bill), so just make sure you have your energy bills for handy before you get started.
Install Energy Efficient Light Bulbs or Fixtures On Your HOA Property
Replacing old light bulbs with Energy Efficient Light Bulbs is a no-brainer. There are a host of Energy Star rated light bulbs that are a little more expensive than your traditional light bulbs, but they should last for a very long time. According to the EPA, "ENERGY STAR qualified lighting provides bright, warm light but uses about 75% less energy than standard lighting, produces 75% less heat, and lasts up to 10 times longer."
Seal the Windows and Doors In Your Condo Association's Building
Energy Star estimates that a homeowners associations "....can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating." If you live in an older building, it can be much higher percentage than this. Our building is over 80 years old and when I moved in the building, I could feel a breeze with the window shut. We sealed the windows and felt an enormous difference. The sealing of windows and doors should be high on your green priority list. Here is a link to educate you to the impact of air leaks in the envelope of your condo building.
Switch Your Condo Association from Oil to a Gas Burner
We switched to a gas burner two years ago and our energy bill dropped about 15% per annum over the past two year. Old oil burners are grossly inefficient - emitting more pollution because they don't have modern controls standard today on new boilers. Due to its size, our old oil burner needed its own room in the basement. Our new gas boiler is smaller than a footlocker and was mounted to our wall, rendering the room pretty much empty.
There are many other green initiatives you can take, but these few that I mentioned are certainly worth looking at today.