Winter Energy-Saving Tips for HOAs
There is no denying that winter is here. As the temperatures continue to drop, homeowner’s associations (HOAs) with large common areas or those with shared utilities may begin to feel the financial strain from increased energy costs. For boards considering a “go green” initiative to conserve energy, lower expenses, and create a healthier community, there are some winter energy-saving tips to implement now to help.
Seven Steps to Save Money on HOA Energy Costs
Audit current energy usage.
Check out your current utility bills to identify suspicious spikes in usage throughout the year. If possible, bills could be compared to the previous years to look for areas of immediate concern. Once areas have been identified, board members could also inspect the property to find leaks, holes, and other inefficiencies in common areas to update and fix.
Upgrade lightbulbs in common areas.
If common areas are still utilizing old, iridescent, or fluorescent light bulbs, now is the time to upgrade to LED versions to cut down on lighting expenses. Some studies show that changing light bulbs can save as much as 75% on related energy expenses.
Replace outdated appliances.
How long have existing appliances been in use in common areas? If televisions and kitchen appliances haven’t been replaced in the past decade, it is likely they are not energy efficient. Upgrading to Energy Star certified appliances are recommended because they use less energy than Federal regulations require, saving the HOA additional money throughout the year. The same is true for HVAC systems. If the heating system is more than 15 years old, it is time to request quotes on newer and more efficient models.
Locking thermostats so members can’t change the settings in common areas is another great way to maintain costs through the year. In the winter, thermostats should be set at 70 degrees and in the summer to 75 degrees.
Create a water management plan.
Inefficient water use can quickly add up in unforeseen energy expenses. Inspect pipes and sprinklers for leaks or malfunctions that can use more water than necessary. Another area that HOAs can save money on water is by encouraging homeowners to be mindful of leaky faucets. If they don’t pay a monthly water bill, they may choose to ignore it or may not understand the potential impact a small drip has on the community.
Update common area rules.
Whether an HOA already has common area rules or not, they should be updated annually. If energy usage is a concern, request that certain appliances (i.e., televisions and microwaves) be unplugged when not in use and add signs asking members to do so before leaving.
Make it a community effort by educating homeowners on steps that the HOA is taking to save money and conserve energy. Offer suggestions on steps community members can also take at home to help.
Committing to these energy saving tips will help your HOA save money. If you have additional questions about how to create a “go green” movement in your community, the AR Management Company team would be happy to help!