Check out these easy ways to reduce energy waste and save your homeowners money
Organizations and enterprises across the globe are giving energy efficiency to the attention it deserves. According to a report from BloombergNEF, corporations bought 13.4 gigawatts of clean power via long-term contracts in 2018, more than doubling the total from 2017.
Finding more energy-efficient ways of running shared spaces, and even homes or units within your HOA or condo association, can save you money and reduce waste. But how do you get started?
1. Replace older equipment
The first rule of thumb is to update older equipment, which could be causing a lot of energy waste just because of its age. Outdated appliances use more energy and are usually less efficient than newer products on the market since energy efficiency is something modern companies try to maximize when developing new products.
New appliances often come with energy-efficient settings and may even be “smart,” meaning they are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and can communicate with other devices and change settings automatically to combat energy waste.
Lighting is another area where outdated equipment should be replaced. LED lightbulbs are cheaper and last much longer than older light bulbs, and they don’t use as much energy.
While it can cost significant money to make some of these updates, especially to bigger equipment, the ultimate return on investment is usually worth it in terms of both energy and financial savings your association can realize over the years.
2. Air conditioning, heating, and seals
Whether it’s due to extremely hot weather or extremely cold weather, windows and doors that aren’t properly sealed can waste a lot of energy. Letting cold or hot air in or out of buildings makes the heater or air conditioner work that much harder to maintain the desired temperatures. Without proper insulation, energy waste and loss occur. Sometimes this problem can be resolved with new windows or doors.
Window AC units can be big energy wasters because hot air almost always makes its way inside through the cracks between the unit and window. If window units are being used in your association, it’s crucial to install seals around them that adequately prevent air from escaping or entering. It’s also important to replace AC units regularly, since, as mentioned above, older equipment may not be as energy-efficient.
Even if there aren’t window AC units in your association, HVAC systems may still be your biggest energy wasters. HVAC settings often must be just right to get the temperatures comfortable without any wasted energy.
To combat this problem, consider installing smart thermostats that have energy-efficient settings and can automatically adjust temperatures. These can save your association time, money, and lots of energy in the long run.
3. Irrigation systems
Another energy waster is when pipes, sprinklers, or hoses leak, even if it’s only slightly. This can mean tons of water are being wasted and not used for its intended purpose, possibly draining energy from pumping or temperature control system. Regularly perform checks on all your water systems to make sure they are working properly and have no leaks.
4. Spread the word
It’s also a good idea to start educating association residents about energy saving best practices for their homes. This includes things like:
- Unplugging appliances or electronics when they’re not in use
- Turning off lights when no one is in a room
- Turning up the air conditioning or turning down the heat when no one is in the home
- Replacing light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs
While these items may not be enforceable under the association’s governing documents, educating members about how they can make a difference will encourage them to make changes. And, they’ll even be able to see the savings on their bills if everyone takes part in lowering costs and energy waste.
Reducing energy waste doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. Within your association, there are many small steps you can take to both reduce your carbon footprint and encourage members to do the same in their homes. Start by sending a newsletter or holding meetings about energy efficiency. Give members a chance to contribute their own ideas for how to be eco-friendlier.
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