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Energy Efficiency In Your HOA  Energy Efficiency In Your HOA

Energy Efficiency In Your HOA

Written By: Richard Thompson
Thursday, January 26, 2017

While there is continuing debate about the reasons driving climate change, most agree on the need for better stewardship of the Earth. While governments often move at a glacial pace to enact green policies, self help is readily available today. What better place to start than at the homeowner association? HOAs often control a variety of systems, processes, equipment, designs and materials. 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 be ecologically friendly:

Eco-landscaping involves a combination of careful plant and tree selection, turf reduction, eliminating chemical fertilizers and improving water management. The days of broad green spaces are making way for a myriad of options that are more 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. 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 in this regard 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 bulbs use small amounts of energy. 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. 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 buildings 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.

The HOA should remind all residents of ways they can help the HOA be more ecologically friendly by supporting HOA green programs and by individual effort. There are numerous free resources available on the internet such as:

Consumer Recycling Guide. There are numerous types of products and materials that fall outside the typical recycling service and need special handling. For these items, the HOA can empower its residents with information. This online guide identifies such items and ways to recycle them.

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 get recognized While it does take some effort, there are more incentives and resources today than ever. Make it your HOAs routine to be seen as green.

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