Many things have been written lately on the topic of going green. Car manufacturers are promoting their new “hybrid” models, companies are conducting “energy audits” of their buildings to assess whether they can help reduce their overall carbon footprint and individual homeowners are altering their lifestyles in order to reduce their energy consumption. Following are some tips on how common interest community homeowners and Associations can begin to make a difference, even on a small scale.

TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS:

  • Boost your home ventilation by installing ceiling fans
  • Install Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL’s) wherever you have standard incandescent light bulbs
    • A CFL uses 75% less energy than a regular light bulb and can last up to four (4) years
    • Turn off your lights when they are not in use
  • Install double panel windows and make sure they are sealed properly
    • A crack as small as 1/16th of an inch around a window frame can let in as much cold air as leaving the window open three (3) inches
  • When doing house renovations, opt for thicker insulation
    • Many contractors will do this automatically
  • Install high-efficiency furnace and water heaters
    • For every ten (10) degrees you lower the temperature of your hot water heater, you reduce the heater’s energy consumption by 3-5%
    • Insulating your water heater will reduce the heat lost through the walls of the tank by 25-40%
  • Use only Energy Star Appliances
    • Many energy-efficient appliances are exempt from sales tax or are tax deductible
  • Lower temperature for heating and raise temperature for cooling
    • This could make a big difference in your monthly bills
  • Install Clotheslines to dry your laundry
    •  Association approval permitting
  • Choose appropriate Indoor Paint colors and materials
    • A heat-reflecting filter can be mixed into paint and applied to walls that will retain warmth in the winter and keep warmth out in summer

TIPS FOR ASSOCIATIONS:

  • Install wind generator systems
  • Use compost piles
  • Install retractable window awnings
  • Choose the right colors on roofs 
  • Start a recycling program
    • Many municipalities offer rewards or "points" programs

By employing some of the above recommendations, you may be well on your way to making a difference in your common interest community.