With today’s condo and HOA residents much more conscious of their impact on the environment and looking for ways to reduce it, smart boards and property managers are looking to help. Simple tasks like turning down thermostats, shutting off air conditioners during the day, and shutting lights when not in use all help, but there’s more that can be done. More and more buildings and associations are deciding to invest in greener equipment and devices that use less energy and leave a smaller environmental footprint.
“In general, manufacturers and installers tend to emphasize the value of technology, but in reality the importance of attentive workmanship with regard to efficiency and smart systems is nearly always the most cost effective and appropriate route,” David Fleuchaus, president of Energy Reduction Inc., an energy efficiency company in Evanston, Ill., says. “On nearly every job we end up saying that what we are doing is finishing someone else’s work. And we integrate and connect systems after our measured detective work is completed.”
It is important to talk about all the benefits associated with installing energy efficient measures beyond the obvious energy and money savings. Often times, high efficiency equipment requires less maintenance, runs quieter, and improves overall comfort. These are quality of life improvements.
“For instance, reducing the overall air leakage of a building can create more consistent temperatures from room to room and retain conditioned air longer,” says Stacey Paradis, deputy director for the Chicago-based Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. “Also, some recent research has suggested that homes that receive third party certifications, similar to those awarded through Illinois Home Performance, actually see an increase in sales price holding all other variables constant. Energy efficiency is not just about reducing costs and our impact on the environment, but is also about increasing the comfort, safety, and value of our homes.”
There’s also a large variety of Energy Star rated appliances and equipment out there and often they’re not more expensive or not much more expensive than any others. When considering if an appliance or piece of equipment is worthwhile for a multifamily building or association to invest in, each HOA will have different criteria for their purchases and upgrades.