Whether you live in a high-rise building or a spread-out condo association, you probably take having reliable, adequate heat in the winter months for granted. But heating a multifamily community is not so easy as simply turning a dial. There are different fuel sources, budgetary considerations, and environmentally-friendly options to consider – especially when living in a community association where many homeowners’ voices must be heard. And clearly, different regions of the country have specific weather patterns with which they must deal. This is by no means a ‘one-size-fits-all’ matter.
The New Jersey Cooperator spoke with managers and HVAC professionals across several different markets to get an overview of the energy options currently on the market, and find out which one may be best for a specific association.
Garden State Sunshine
Even when heating options are limited to a select few providers or resources, there are still innovative ways for an association to conserve energy and save money. Ray Barnes of property management firm Associa Mid-Atlantic discusses a project underway at The Ponds at Clearbrook, an association over which he recently assumed management in Monroe Township, New Jersey.
“The Ponds is a 577-unit active adult condo community wherein the homeowners are actually responsible for their own heating and cooling expenses,” Barnes explains. “It’s on the border of areas served by local providers JCP&L [Jersey Central Power & Light] and PSE&G [Public Service Enterprise Group], so the owners contact one of the companies directly to set up their service, but only electric and gas are available as options right now.
“That said,” he continues, “we just broke ground on a solar project for the clubhouse, which uses JCP&L for gas and electric. We’d already changed over all of the lighting therein to LED and saved $23,000 in electric costs this year alone. And we’re looking at this solar project to help even further with overall consumption.”