It's on the front page of major newspapers almost daily; it’s often the lead story on nightly newscasts; everyone you know is complaining about it. It’s no secret that the price of oil is reaching sky-high numbers and there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight. With the price of oil climbing so fast, New Jersey HOA energy bills are increasing at just as alarming a pace, and association administrators are looking for ways to cut their energy costs.
Everyone says they want to save energy, of course, but there are lots of simple solutions out there that aren’t being utilized despite the fact that they are relatively easy to adopt.
“One of the problems in multi-user buildings is that people don’t see a direct connection between their ‘good behavior’ and their utility bill,” says William Amann, who serves on the executive board of the U.S. Green Building Council New Jersey Chapter, and also as chairman of the Somerset County Energy Council. “They tend to think no one else in the building is being conscientious, so why should they? But if everyone did do their part, they would see a difference. So the managers need to get everyone involved by educating them, providing opportunities, and providing feedback.”
While some solutions are physical—making improvements to a building with the aim of reducing wasted energy and making what is used go as far as possible—others are more behavioral and count on the building’s staff and its occupants to help keep down energy prices. The latter approach could include anything from encouraging residents to turn off lights in unused rooms to taking shorter showers in order to conserve water.
“Everyone can do something to help conserve energy and help with energy costs,” says Harvey Klein of Garden State Laboratories, Inc. in Hillside. “It’s just a matter of getting people to really understand the importance of it and not just talk about it, but to actually do it.”