Simple, Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Practices for Community Associations

An eco-friendly house in a community with sustainable practices

Going green will not only make your community stand out, but it’ll also save your board a lot of money in the long run. How do you achieve it? Here are five sustainable practices that you can employ in your community association.

Key takeaways:

  • Eco-Friendly practices are essential for the long-term sustainability of your communities.
  • Investing in recycling programs and energy-saving methods could save your association a lot of money.
  • Conducting a regular energy consumption audit helps you to know how much your communities spend on energy.

With the implementation of green, eco-friendly practices becoming the new normal, it’s sometimes difficult to know what it means for your community associations and how you can implement such initiatives. You may already have some sustainable practices in place in your apartment and housing communities. Or, perhaps, now is the time to implement eco-friendly initiatives. Whether you’ve given thought to sustainability or you’re just dipping your toe into the water, here are five relatively simple ways your community can go green.

1. Embrace emerging technology

In your community’s journey to greenness, consider embracing technology. This means that you’ll develop a paperless system that replaces the use of traditional paper and files.  

Instead of drawers upon drawers that contain files that you can only access by rigorous rummaging, you can conveniently store all of your information on a computer. With this method, you’ll save reams of paper, ink for printing, and the energy consumed by printing.

Also, a technology system makes it easier for your tech-savvy residents to navigate your website. For example, you can use your website to provide quick tips on how homeowners can recycle and save energy in the community. Nonetheless, you can still retain a few paper copies for your less tech-savvy residents.

You can also develop a cloud-based file-sharing system. With this, instead of printing 30-50 pages of paper for your board meetings, you can share the documents electronically with your members, and everyone can have a preview before the meetings. In addition, you can easily deliver newsletters, agendas, and announcements to your board members via email or text. Tenant evaluations can also go digital to save reams of paper. 

When you embrace technology, you can access so much at once. For example, you can view all homeowners’ records in your community without printing a single paper. Limiting paper usage makes your community associations much greener. 

2. Develop a recycling plan

You can save approximately 1,000-2,000 gallons of gasoline by recycling one ton of plastic. That amounts to more energy for powering refrigerators for a month, for example. 

To develop an active recycling plan, first, you have to provide recycling opportunities within your community. To achieve this, start by organizing a meeting to educate your residents on the requirements of the recycling program. Then, listen to their suggestions and provide initiatives for ways to implement the recycling systems. 

Next, enroll them in a community recycling program. To achieve this, you can get a regular collection service for recyclables. Finally, you have to ensure that your waste disposal contractor has a recycling plan that’ll suit your community. You can easily hire a vendor that provides recycling and environmental services with VendorSmart. 

Your community’s recycling plan doesn’t have to be limited to just providing recyclable material to a recycling company. You can engage your community, through events, that help lower the overall landfill waste that comes from your community. This can be done by having community garage sales, educating your residents on properly recycling technology equipment, and hosting a community shredding event that ensures the shredded material is properly recycled into other paper products.

Many residents would prefer drop stations at specific areas in the community, so give the contractor those details to ensure your residents are comfortable with the program. 

3. Conduct an energy consumption audit

Conducting an energy consumption audit can guide you in developing new initiatives to go green. You can do this by reviewing your community’s energy bills over time. You’ll discover the energy consumption for your communities and its cost.

Invest in the use of renewable energies and develop an energy reduction plan. For example, you can use solar-powered lights with motion switches in recreation areas like the pool. 

You can also use solar-powered electric gates. Note that choosing to go solar may be more expensive to implement initially, but it’s essential for long-term sustainability in your community.

Next, tell your residents to switch off electronics when they’re not in use. For areas like tennis courts, city parks, swimming pools, and other community areas, you’d have to calculate the energy the lights consume and consider using energy-efficient bulbs.

Note that your HVAC systems with old motors and engines consume a large chunk of energy that is probably costing you. Qualified, vetted HVAC vendors on VendorSmart can come to your communities and upgrade the HVAC systems to make them run more efficiently and cost less money and energy. 

Make your residents aware of their energy consumption, the recycling options, and the part they can and should play in making the community green. The four walls residents live in are just part of the larger Earth environment they live in and it needs to be taken care of. 

4. Reduce water usage

When you reduce your community’s water usage, you help the environment and save your association money. You should invest in water-saving technologies like smart sprinklers and rainwater capture technology. You can bring your residents on board with this initiative by teaching them how to conserve water and giving incentives to residents who use the least amount of water per month.

You can also plant indigenous and drought-resistant plants in common spaces that won’t use much water. Consider a solar-powered irrigation system for your community as well.

5. EV charging stations

Electric vehicles (EVs) have smaller carbon footprints than cars that use gasoline or diesel fuel. EV charging stations supply “plug-in” vehicles with electrical power that reduces emissions while mitigating climate change and helping keep the environment cleaner. To find a fully-qualified vendor to supply your community with EV charging stations, simply use VendorSmart. 

At VendorSmart, we blend technology with a collective 70+ years of community management experience. We make managing vendor compliance and sourcing vendors for your projects, including EV charging stations, HVAC maintenance, and recycling programs, a breeze. Contact us today if you have any questions and use our platform to find highly qualified, fully vetted vendors.