MAPLE RIDGE Community Management Property Manager, Anne Dudar, talks about reducing common element fees through energy conservation, waste diversion and water consumption!
2015 is the perfect time to reduce common element fees through energy savings and rebates. We can all be involved in shaping our future one community at a time by thinking green and acting on green initiatives.
The Government of Ontario is currently offering rebates to encourage residential and commercial buildings to retrofit lighting and install energy efficient pumps. This opportunity can provide a return on investment in as little as two years and delivers ongoing energy savings to the condominium corporation for years to come.
There are three ways the condominium can save. First, a condominium can install LED lighting, which uses 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Second, because LED lights have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours, a condominium corporation can reduce maintenance costs of electricians and staff needed to change lights and ballasts. Third, a condominium can save by capitalizing on rebates offered by SaveOnEnergy, a Government of Ontario program that offers incentives between $6-20 for each LED lamp retrofit. The greatest savings due to these changes will be realized in areas of the condominium that require illumination 24/7 such as stairwells, parking garages, corridors and lobbies. In addition to the cost savings, the light cast by LEDs is more even, which provides a better quality of light.
Residents can also save energy by following the corporation’s initiatives in their own suites. When residents are educated and understand the savings to be realized, they can make informed choices when purchasing new fixtures and by choosing lighting that uses LEDs rather than incandescent bulbs. In addition, residents can reduce their personal energy consumption by turning off lights when leaving a room, putting necessary lights on timers, and by replacing incandescent bulbs with CFSLs (compact fluorescent lights) in fixtures wherever possible.
ORGANIC WASTE DIVERSION
The city of Toronto is mandating that high-rise condominiums divert their organic waste, which accounts for almost 50% of household waste. Currently, the city of Toronto does not charge for the pick-up of recycling and organics. This being the case, condominiums can reduce their waste bill by up to 50% by separating organic waste from garbage. Most condominium compactors can be retrofitted so that waste is diverted 3 ways: garbage, organics, and paper/cardboard/plastics.
As part of the city of Toronto’s incentive to encourage organic waste diversion, city staff will assess the building to determine the type of outdoor containers required (either bulk bin or cart). Once the condominium is ready to implement the program, representatives from the city will set up a kiosk on site to hand out information on how to maximize the benefits of organic waste diversion, answer questions about the program and the cost savings, and provide kitchen catchers to all participants.
REDUCE WATER CONSUMPTION
Residents can participate in reducing their corporation’s overall water consumption by embracing the suggestions offered below:
- Retrofit existing toilets with low flush kits or install water efficient toilets, low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.
- Repair leaking taps and toilets.
- Wash only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher and utilize the energy efficient cycle option on both.
- Do not run cold water when preparing food and brushing teeth.
- Do not run hot water while shaving or shampooing.
- Keep water in the refrigerator to avoid running the water until it is cold.
There are several ways condominiums can further reduce water consumption. For example, landscaping has a huge impact on water consumption, and choosing drought resistant plants that will grow with little need to water reduces both water consumption and the maintenance needed for these gardens, while providing a healthier landscape. Additionally, switching to a Grey water diversion system, which redirects rainwater and melted snow to reservoirs used for irrigation, eliminates the need for city water to maintain landscaping.
Posting reminders that your residents can view through notice boards and newsletters can reinforce these initiatives. Please remember, condominiums can play a large part in helping to keep our environment healthy and managing our environment for future generations. Taking a proactive approach to green initiatives can result in benefits to all.