Sustainability for HOAs
It’s no secret: water, sewer, electricity, and gas prices are on the rise, increasing much faster than the rate of inflation. In fact, some parts of California have seen a 15% increase in their water bills and an average increase of $85 per month in electricity in the last year.
Unfortunately, the biggest amount of people who are being effected from these rising costs are tenants and homeowners in multi-family complexes with outdated or non-energy efficient appliances. It is important for Board of Directors to take control of these costs by upgrading various portions of their properties to reduce costs. Here are some potential money saving upgrades Boards can make to “green” up their properties.
Installing solar panels on a complex can not only reduce monthly electricity bills but also help slow global warming. Efficient solar panel systems create electricity without producing pollution that contributes to global warming. The average 20-year saving for Californians who went solar is $30,000 per household! Look out for combined water and solar panels hitting the marketing in the summer of 2015. This will be a huge cost savings for Multi-Family properties.
Low Flow Technology
Low flow technology is a smart addition to complexes to both save money and contribute to a low-impact lifestyle. ToolBase Services estimates that each family of four that has low flow toilets installed saves up to 22,000 gallons of water per year.
Water efficient showerheads save 10 gallons of water each per 10 minutes of showering. With multiple tenants showering everyday, that’s potentially thousands of gallons saved per month benefiting both the environment and overall water costs.
Xeriscaping & New Sprinkler Technology
Board of Directors can reduce water usage by swapping out water hungry plants for native low water shrubbery. The uses of plants that are well adapted to the both wet winters and dry summers require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides than non-native types. SoCal Water$mart offers quite a few rebate incentives for home and property owners to conserve water, including a $2 per square foot rebate for turf grass removal.
In addition to planting durable plants, it’s important to keep sprinkler systems up to date to ensure less water usage. Installing smart sprinkler controllers allow sprinklers to automatically adjust to changing weather conditions. Using smart sprinkler technology also allows owners to create custom watering schedules and timers depending on the amounts of water each plant need. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has plenty of resources for Californians who wish to improve on their water conservation efforts.
Losing The Lawn
California’s beautiful year round sunshine makes sustaining green, healthy lawns a pain. It is commonly assumed that property landscaping without perfectly green grass is unappealing, but the truth is that when designed right, low water landscapes can be just a beautiful as having a green lawn.
By upgrading complex appliances and hardware to “green” technologies, Boards are able to cut costs for their tenants while drastically reducing their footprint on the environment. On top of the tax and rebate incentives for eco-friendly buildings, these savings and upgrades will also enable HOA’s to advertise their properties as “Green” or “Eco-friendly” complexes, increasing the amount of future buyers and renters.