Kermit the Frog said it best, “It’s not easy being green.”
However, even Kermit knows that it's all worth it, especially when it comes to developing your HOA community. From planting the right seeds to using the right appliances, here’s a list of IKO Community Management’s ways to go “green” in your neighborhood:
Encourage “green” landscaping. Irrigation systems are a great way to capture rainwater for common-area turf and vegetation, but xeriscaping (landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation) is best.
You should also select indigenous and drought-resistant plants. They require less maintenance, stay healthier longer, and help stabilize the eco-system because they’re accustomed to the exact climate. Each of these efforts could make big strides toward conserving water and reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
Talk to homeowners about their personal eco-friendly efforts. Ask if they use non-toxic propane lawnmowers instead of the gas-powered alternative, or if they utilize timed sprinklers or water-efficient spray heads. Does your HOA community allow solar panels? Do they provide recycling bins?
All of these techniques could be viable options for common-area buildings, too, like the pool house or fitness center.
Use the Internet – wisely. Though you should always unplug any electronics that aren’t in use, the Internet is the perfect way to go paperless. Use your community website and a few emails for announcements, event invites, billing and fee transactions, and contact information.
Build it “green.” If your community is still under construction, consider using ENERGY STAR® appliances, low-VOC paint, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified (LEED) fixtures, low-flow toilets, LED lighting, energy-efficient ventilation systems, and programmable thermostats. These few small changes will make a big difference in the environment.
Educate your community. According to Sustainable Brands, 45 percent of people actively seek out environmental information. Use an electronic newsletter to inform your neighbors about local recycling programs, energy-saving practices and materials, and educational events. Here are some fun facts to include in your next email:
- Using LED lights in your home can save about 50 percent on your energy bill
- Creating a compost pile from kitchen leftovers enriches the local soil and keeps food out of landfills and waterways.
- Buying a reusable water bottle or a supply of water filters instead of bottled water can save you an average of $200
- Biking instead of driving can reduce more than 90 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
- American food travels an average of 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to table, which costs thousands in shipping, so buy local to save time, money, and packaging
- Using a clothesline to dry your clothes and bedding can save about $100 per year
- Your skin will absorb up to 60 percent of the products you put on it every day, so choose plant-based cosmetics, sunscreens, washes, and lotions
By going “green,” your HOA community can have a positive impact on the environment and your budget. From using virtual newsletters and invites to suggesting solar panels and biking to work, these eco-friendly practices save money and the Earth.
From all of us at IKO Community Management, go “green!”