There are a lot of moving parts that contribute toward the functionality of a residential complex, whether said property is a condominium, cooperative, or a homeowner’s association. And these parts vary in complexity, to the extent that no board of trustees—volunteers with their own lives to which they must attend—can be expected to know the ins and outs of an assortment of potentially dangerous machinery. This, combined with the tendency of these systems to skew toward the pricey, can cause an “if it ain’t broke” mindset, wherein an association isn’t looking into potential upgrades or overhauls until something goes awry, at which point, the property as a whole may suffer.
While a qualified property manager may see to it that building systems are examined on a regular basis by specialists, there’s still such a wealth of options out there that it can be overwhelming to assess which systems—from boilers to HVAC to solar panels to ventilation—are best for your association given its specific needs. Hopefully, the experts weighing in below can be of some assistance.
In 2016, an association with some extra money and a desire to replace some outdated equipment that may no longer be functioning optimally has many choices. Especially with an increased spotlight on green energy and sustainability in vogue, much newer technology is focused on saving the planet while saving the buyer money.
The first step is to ascertain whether a systems upgrade is even appropriate. “You should be benchmarking your building’s energy and water usage; that will help account for weather differences,” explains Fritz Kreiss, a Chicago-based nationwide energy consultant and president of Alternative Utility Energy Services, Inc. “When you see the weatherized volumes, it will tell you that something needs to be looked at. And age of the equipment also makes a difference. Chillers older than ten years should be looked at because the efficiency of today’s models is vastly improved.”
“Boilers are the same, and need regular combustion tests and tune-ups,” Kreiss continues. “Properties that have an older, large boiler and use a side-arm heater in the summer to make domestic hot water can offer a good opportunity for your property.”