Now more than ever, people need to take meaningful steps towards sustainability. The urgency of the climate crisis has prompted everyone to take a close look at what they can do differently in order to mitigate the adverse effects of pollution. Everyone can make a difference by making their home life more sustainable. Sustainability initiatives are particularly significant in condominium buildings. Condos typically represent the interests of dozens or even hundreds of households, so the decisions that associations and managers make have considerable consequences. Here are some things that associations can do to make their buildings and management practices more environmentally friendly.
Replace or Retrofit Lighting
Lighting the common areas of a condo building can comprise a lot of the building’s total power usage. Hallways, stairwells, garages, and certain areas for amenities may need to have lights on every hour of the day.
LED lights have become a standard in new construction because they use substantially less energy than other types of lighting including incandescent, halogen, and fluorescent lights. When condominiums upgrade their lighting systems, they can decrease their common area energy consumption by a formidable percentage. In fact, the total quantity of kilowatts needed to power a lighting system could decline by as much as fifty percent after an upgrade.
In addition to saving electricity and money, LED lighting options can make managers’ work a little bit easier because they require replacement less often. The bulbs cost more than some older lights, but they’re a better value overall. Since they have a longer lifespan, maintenance personnel won’t have to worry about replacing them as often. Furthermore, unilluminated areas can present safety concerns in places that don’t have a lot of natural light. Installing LED canopy lights and stairwell fixtures can prevent unsafe conditions on the premises because you can count on them to last longer while also emitting brighter lumens.
Make Cooling More Efficient
Keeping the temperature in the common areas of a building at a comfortable level can prove to be challenging. Unfortunately, many large condo buildings continually blast air conditioning but struggle with system performance. Inspecting and repairing a building’s ductwork can improve airflow dramatically.
Slight damage to ductwork caused by age-related wear tends to make cooling less effective. Likewise, poorly insulated ductwork can make a lot of cold air get lost in structural interiors before it reaches the vent to enter a room. Commercial HVAC companies can fortify ductwork so condos can get better results with their cooling. Regular system cleaning can also play a big role in optimizing cooling efficiency. Getting rid of all of the dust and buildup from excess moisture makes it easier for air to pass through each component of a cooling system.
Get an Energy Audit
Building managers and maintenance directors have to stay on top of a lot of responsibilities, and it’s easy to understand why energy efficiency projects may have to go on the backburner at times. However, the cumulative cost of inefficiency can really add up over time. Managers owe the associations that they serve a duty to keep costs under control. If shared costs increase, each unit owner’s membership dues will also increase.
In order to serve associations satisfactorily, it is a good practice for managers to coordinate an energy audit to create a solid gameplan. Every condo’s energy needs, structural conditions, and building system performance is unique. Managers who implement energy saving measures that they reasonably anticipate will have sizable effects on their electric bills may be surprised to see that they haven’t generated all that much difference.
Getting input from an energy efficiency expert simplifies efficiency initiatives for managers. Consider working with an electrical engineering company. Advanced measuring and monitoring techniques will help you pinpoint which things in your building represent the greatest drain on power. An engineer can also advise you about whether updating any of your building’s most important equipment such as bus ducts or circuit breakers can improve the way that current moves through electrical systems. In addition, an audit could identify whether structural elements in the building are impeding heating or cooling efforts and thereby driving up energy usage.
When condos invest in becoming more sustainable, their efforts can generate appreciable ongoing savings. Moreover, environmental initiatives in condo buildings empower residents to enhance their individual sustainability.
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