Many homeowners associations are moving towards sustainable practices and eco-friendly solutions in their communities. If you want to be an environmentally conscious HOA, there are several ways to do so. For starters, here are seven wonderful ideas that will transform your community into an eco-friendly HOA.
HOW TO BECOME AN ECO-FRIENDLY HOA
Becoming an eco-friendly homeowners association is not as difficult as many people seem to think. As an HOA board member, you can start by performing an audit of your association’s practices. Then, find areas where you can integrate green HOA practices. Here are some to consider.
1. ECO-FRIENDLY LANDSCAPING
HOAs waste so much water and other valuable resources on landscaping alone. While having trees, plants, and flowers helps keep property values high, it’s still possible to have beautiful landscapes without harming the environment.
You can do so by adopting eco-friendly landscaping practices such as incorporating native and drought-resistant plants, grouping together plants with similar water requirements, and switching to water-efficient irrigation systems. Consider having an HOA landscape survey to see which eco-friendly landscaping practices are feasible for your community.
Apart from saving water, an eco-friendly landscape can also help your HOA reduce operational expenses each month. The money saved can be invested in technologies that will help you become an eco-friendly HOA.
2. REDUCE WATER USAGE
Apart from the water-saving practices that come with eco-friendly landscaping, there are many other ways to reduce water usage in your community. Start by inspecting the plumbing in your common areas. Check to see if there are running toilets and sinks or if there are leaky pipes. These plumbing problems alone waste so much water. As long as the HOA is vigilant with maintenance and repairs, you can already significantly reduce water usage in your community.
3. INVEST IN ENERGY-EFFICIENT TECHNOLOGIES
Solar-powered technologies can help you become an eco-friendly HOA. You can install a solar water heater for the swimming pool, add solar panels to your clubhouse, use solar lights for street lamps, and add solar timer switches.
Though solar technologies can be expensive, there are investments that will help save the HOA money in the long-run. Some states even offer tax credits and financial incentives for communities that incorporate energy-saving technologies. If HOA funds are tight, you can start small by switching to LED lights, installing dimmer switches, and having light sensors that turn off the lights when a room is unoccupied.
4. CREATE A PAPERLESS OFFICE
With high-speed internet and modern technologies, so much of the HOA business can now be conducted digitally. Thus, it’s easy to create a paperless office for your community. You can upload governing documents, financial reports, and administrative forms on the HOA website so that homeowners and board members can access them digitally.
Likewise, the HOA can send newsletters, official announcements, and HOA violation letters to homeowners via email. HOAs can also use social media to keep homeowners updated and attract potential homeowners. Going paperless not only saves trees, but it can also help HOAs save money, time, and space.
5. EDUCATE HOMEOWNERS ON ECO-FRIENDLY INITIATIVES
An HOA cannot truly become eco-friendly if the homeowners are not on board with your eco-friendly practices. And so, it’s good to have seminars and training that will teach homeowners how to become eco-friendly in their own homes. You can host a series of seminars that teach homeowners how to take care of their laws, reduce water usage, and practice recycling.
6. INTRODUCE ECO-FRIENDLY PROGRAMS
A wonderful way to encourage homeowners to adopt eco-friendly practices is to introduce eco-friendly programs. You can have a recycling program that makes it more convenient for residents, a community garden where residents can grow organic fruits and vegetables, and a compost station where residents can bring their leftovers. If there is a social component — homeowners getting to meet other homeowners — they will realize that eco-friendly practices can be quite fun as well.
7. GREEN CONSTRUCTION
Your community may not have been built with the environment in mind. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot make changes moving forward.
If there are upcoming capital improvement projects, consider hiring a contractor that specializes in green construction. For example, if you are building a new clubhouse, you can incorporate low-flow toilets, energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, solar panels, and other sustainable materials.
Even with smaller-scale projects, you can still incorporate some elements of green construction. Green buildings are more adaptable to changes in the environment, so this can benefit your community in the long-run as well.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GREEN HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION?
The main goal of becoming an eco-friendly HOA is to help save the environment. However, that doesn’t mean that your community cannot benefit in other ways as well. Here are some benefits of a green HOA:
HOA CAN SAVE MONEY
While some of the eco-friendly initiatives may require a financial investment, your association will still be able to save money in the long run. Your HOA will be able to benefit from lower utility bills, tax incentives, and fewer maintenance needs. The money you save can go into the HOA’s reserve funds, which can prepare your community for any potential setbacks in the future.
LOWER HOA FEES
With lower operational expenses, HOAs won’t need to significantly increase homeowners’ assessment fees each year. The HOA also won’t have to levy special assessments just to cope with rising operational expenses. Moreover, you can reduce the likelihood of delinquent homeowners who can’t keep up with the increase in assessments.
A TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY
Incorporating eco-friendly programs means that your homeowners have more opportunities to interact with each other. Homeowners can meet fellow homeowners who share the same interests and passions — such as saving the environment. Having a tight-knit community can also do a lot in keeping your HOA safe.
HOA IS MORE ATTRACTIVE TO POTENTIAL HOMEOWNERS
Since your website and social media accounts are always up-to-date, potential homeowners will see that your HOA is one that can adapt to the changing times. Eco-friendly practices also convey that the association is well-meaning and has good intentions.
It may not seem like much, but these qualities are very attractive to the new generation of homeowners. So, even as your community grows old, it will still be attractive to potential homeowners.
IT’S TIME TO TRANSFORM YOUR COMMUNITY INTO AN ECO-FRIENDLY HOA
Becoming an eco-friendly HOA won’t happen overnight — nor will it be an easy endeavor. However, as long as the intention is there, it’s possible. You can start small by incorporating some of these green HOA practices. Then, as you’re able to save more money and get homeowners on board, the HOA can start investing in energy-efficient technologies and green construction.