With more people now becoming incredibly conscious of the impact they have on the environment, it may be time to take a closer look at the ecological footprint of your homeowners association (HOA). The decision to “go green” will not only make you feel good about your community, but it can also save your HOA a significant amount of money in the long run. So how do you make this possible? Here are some green HOA practices that can help you become an eco-friendly HOA.
How to Become a Green HOA
Here are green HOA practices that you can utilize to become an environment-friendly HOA.
Provide Recycling Opportunities
Many homeowners have a desire to recycle but not everyone has the time to take their recycling to an off-site location. The HOA can help by providing recycling opportunities within the community. You can start by educating the residents about recycling, then enlisting their help for the community recycling program. Homeowners can also provide input on recycling initiatives that they want to see in the community.
Recycling opportunities include having a regular curbside collection service for recyclables and setting up drop-off stations in communal areas. You can also have recycling events where homeowners can bring plastic items, used batteries, and old electronic gadgets for recycling.
Instead of each resident having to drop off these items, the HOA can call a recycling company to do one major pickup. Remember that you can always ask your HOA management company to help iron out the details of your recycling program.
Limit Paper Usage
Reducing paper usage is another green practice that you can adopt in your community. HOA board meeting agendas, newsletters, and announcements can all be distributed quickly via text or email. You can also use your website, mailing list, or social media accounts to promote recycling. Include green tips on how homeowners can recycle and save energy.
Since most of today’s residents are tech-savvy, they will know how to use these technologies. The HOA board can use paperless innovations such as a cloud-based file-sharing system when discussing, planning, and researching community matters.
Homeowners should also have the chance to opt for digital versions of community documents. You can still have a limited number of physical copies for your less tech-savvy residents. Limiting paper usage not only makes you a green-run HOA, but it will also save you money in the long run.
Find Ways to Reduce Water Use
One of the great ways to simultaneously help the environment and save the HOA money is to reduce water use. While it may cost some money in the beginning, investing in water-saving technologies, such as smart sprinkler systems that can detect when it has rained as well as rainwater capture technology, will be beneficial in the long run.
In addition, you can educate residents on how to conserve water in an HOA community and even provide incentives. Consider offering a reward to the resident who uses the least amount of water. It’s possible to make water conservation in HOA fun for your residents!
Utilize Eco-Friendly Landscaping
HOA landscaping helps beautify your community, however, your landscaping efforts shouldn’t be to the detriment of the environment. You can achieve a water-friendly landscape by using indigenous and drought-resistant plants. These plants adapt well to the environment so they won’t need to be watered as much as other plants. Grouping plants that have similar water requirements can also conserve water.
Apart from using water-saving sprinklers, the HOA can also choose a landscape maintenance company that utilizes green practices and uses eco-friendly tools, such as propane-powered lawnmowers and solar-powered irrigation systems.
Start a Community Garden
A community garden can provide unlimited benefits to your residents. It beautifies unused land, brings residents together, and provides those with green thumbs a chance to be outside and create something that they can be proud of. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be distributed throughout the community, reducing the need to visit grocery stores. Having more plants in your community also helps local animal life thrive and improves the overall quality of life in your area.
Invest in Solar-Powered Lights
Solar-powered lights can be expensive, but they can save you astounding amounts of money in the long run. Once any type of solar lighting is in place, it immediately begins paying for itself. You can start small and replace one outdoor lighting at a time.
A gradual shift towards a green HOA is better than nothing at all. If HOA reserve funds are really tight, you can opt for energy-efficient bulbs which can help reduce the community’s carbon footprint.
Use Green Construction
If your HOA has decided to “go green,” it is important to remember that there is more to it than recycling policies and solar panels. Green construction is a growing niche that focuses on reducing the overall environmental impact of homes and buildings. The HOA can make an active choice to use green construction on future remodeling and expansion projects.
Green construction means using non-toxic and energy-efficient building materials. It takes advantage of salvaged and sustainable materials whenever possible. When planning homes or buildings, strive for more compact but smart designs. You’ll have high-performance structures that are cheaper to build and use fewer natural resources.
Another aspect of green construction is the use of energy-saving features such as landscaped roofs, reflective roofing materials, and solar water heaters. The HOA should also take advantage of energy-efficient appliances such as smart thermostats, solar-powered lights, and timers for outdoor lighting.
Is It Easy to Become a Green HOA?
You won’t become a green HOA overnight. The association will have to invest a lot of time and money in order to become an eco-friendly community. However, with the many environmental issues that we are facing today, there is an increasing demand for more sustainable living.
A green HOA comes with a lot of benefits. You lessen your community’s ecological footprint and at the same time, improve the quality of life for the residents. So, while it may not be easy, becoming a green HOA will benefit your community in the long run.
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