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Five Paths to Reducing Your HOAs Carbon Footprint

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6 Minute Read
Posted by Staff Writer on Jul 18, 2017 7:30:00 AM

Question-of-environment-and-modern-lifeIt's one thing to want to reduce your carbon footprint in an HOA, but how do you actually go about doing that? Here are five pathways that might help.

Calculate your carbon footprint. The first step is to figure out your current carbon footprint so you can compare that number to the number you get when you reduce the amount of energy you use. Remember, for your purposes, carbon footprint means the amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted when your HOA and HOA homeowners use fossil fuels. We usually see the carbon footprint expressed as equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). A serious commitment to carbon footprint reduction requires you to calculate and consistently monitor your HOA's carbon footprint. 

  • Here's a handy (and free) carbon footprint calculator that will not only help you calculate your carbon footprint but has suggested options for offsetting your carbon footprint with certain projects as well as educational points to help you understand the whole carbon footprint concept. If you want to encourage your homeowners to conserve energy and to calculate their carbon footprint, you can embed the footprint calculator on your HOA's website.
  • Prepare for your shock when you see the amount of CO2 that everyday living causes. For example, producing one American cheeseburger emits 3.1kg of CO2.

Suffice it to say, that long-term sustainable living requires a 2,000kg reduction in CO2 emission per person per year.

Start a recycling program. If your county government already has a recycling program that your residents participate in, that's great. If you don't have a recycling program for your community, don't despair. You can create one for your HOA if you understand from the beginning that a successful program requires a lot of effort and:

  • a team of dedicated volunteers,
  • full cooperation of your residents and employees,
  • studying what types of recyclable materials your community throws away,
  • researching recycling programs in your area,
  • negotiating contracts with recycling companies,
  • educating homeowners about recycling in general, and
  • regular communications to homeowners about the benefits of your recycling program and how the program works.

Your HOA's professional management company can help you with the details.

Encourage your HOA community to buy local produce and meats. Reducing the miles that your community travels to buy food for the family table makes a big difference in reducing the entire community's carbon footprint. Encourage homeowners to buy from local farmers. This practice not only reduces the amount of fossil fuels each homeowner uses to buy food, it also keeps precious dollars in the local community and helps the surrounding area's economy.

Your HOA can study the local grocery stores' transportation methods to see how "green" they are and spotlight in your HOA newsletter those that make the most effort towards sustainability practices.

You can also provide information to your homeowners about local farmers that are in the area through the Local Harvest website. 

Start composting the 20-30% of waste EPA says is food waste in our communities. Again, if you are one of the lucky ones whose county government provides a composting program, encourage your homeowners to participate. If your local government does not have such a program, with a bit of cooperation and ingenuity, you can start one for HOA homeowners. The most important thing you need -- after Board approval -- is a well-drained spot of ground to house your compost bin. The second most important thing is to remember that composting does not support animal waste, oils, greasy foods, meats, or dairy products. All of those items have the potential to contaminate your compost.

Start a community garden. If your community has undeveloped land and your homeowners are willing to work the land, you might consider starting a community garden. Interested homeowners could each work a small plot to grow vegetables for sale or distribution within the community, maybe even support a few fruit trees. Fence the area off from local wildlife, if possible, and plan to use the natural compost you create to improve the ground. Not every HOA will have the land to devote to such an enterprise but those who do will find the effort a pleasurable way to reduce the community's carbon footprint, get to know the neighbors better, and put delicious food on the table -- for homeowners or for the local community food pantry.

To talk more about reducing your HOAs carbon footprint, or anything else, please contact us. We look forward to helping you improve your HOA community.

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Staff Writer

Staff Writer

RealManage has a team of experts that understand HOA Management, COA Management and are ready to help your association with technological and personalized solutions.