Green is the new buzzword in our society but not everyone is as energy-conscious as they should be. Although many residents leap at the chance to save money and conserve energy, apathy and resistance to change are major obstacles for many.
The reality is that in a condo setting, building administrators aren't in a position to force changes in individual units. So while state and local governments implement energy-saving incentive programs and more buildings and HOAs are being built or retrofitted with next-generation energy-saving devices and technology, the day-to-day habits of individual unit owners can have a significant impact on the bottom line when it comes to energy costs. And that’s not always a good thing.
Awareness of Value
To reach residents, experts agree you must reach ‘their’ bottom line. Money is a motivator, and association boards can generate interest by making sure unit owners know that their board is looking for ways to reduce everyone's energy costs and making their property more valuable.
In buildings with rental tenants, creating awareness may be a little more difficult. “When it comes to their apartments, renters have a transitory outlook,” says Jerry Pindus of U.S. Energy Group in Fresh Meadows, New York. “The message we try to share is that it’s the planet that matters and that is important regardless of which apartment you live in. We try to appeal to the notion of shared responsibility; but ultimately, since they aren’t directly saving money, it is more difficult to motivate action. However, a lot of people care about the environment, and if you tell them how they can help, they will.”
Whether or not residents make changes also depends on whether or not the building is master-metered, which means the residents energy costs are included as part of their monthly charge. Without seeing the direct impact on their pocketbook, the pros say there isn’t a great incentive for most residents to change.