Earth Day 2019: 7 Ways Your Community Can Go Green
At Associa, we are committed to helping communities become more sustainable and decrease their environmental impact. We work hard every day to understand the needs of our partners, then look for environmentally-friendly solutions to accomplish their goals. We even started a special program, Associa Green, to help promote practical solutions that have a positive impact on the people and places we serve. Every year, Associa Green recognizes communities that go above and beyond with their green initiatives. We have gathered the best ideas from these Associa Green awards, and from our service partners, to give you the top 7 ways your community can go green this earth day.
1. Upgrade to LED Lighting
Upgrading to LED bulbs, both inside and out will provide substantial benefits for your association. Today’s LED bulbs are more energy efficient and use around 80% less power compared to traditional fluorescent and incandescent lights. Modern LED lights will decrease the impact on the environment and reduce costs to your monthly electric bill. LED bulbs will also last up to six times longer than conventional bulbs, freeing up time and money for your maintenance team. For even more significant long-term savings, think about switching to solar-powered LED bulbs outdoors.
2. Hold a Recycling Event
For many people, Earth Day coincides with their annual spring-cleaning efforts, making it the perfect time to educate residents and provide additional resourcing to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Talk with your homeowners to get a feel for what they want to do, then create a recycling event that helps meet their goals.
Popular recycling event ideas include:
- Establishing community drop-off centers for old computers, TVs, and other hard to recycle electronics.
- Cleaning up parks and other common areas and then going on a trip to the local recycling center to drop off collected bottles, glass, plastic, and papers.
- Collecting old toys, clothes, books, furniture, and other household items to donate to a local charitable organization.
3. Go Paperless
Between meetings, homeowner notices, bills, and other documents, a homeowner’s association can go through a lot of paper each year. Do your part this earth day and try to go paperless and cut down on waste. There are many electronic options out there to help decrease your paper consumption while giving your residents more options for interacting with the board. Digital community apps like TownSq help send paperless, electronic notices and even allow members to pay dues and view documents online and from their phone.
4. Rethink Your Landscaping
Homeowners will judge a board's environmental efforts mainly on their landscaping. Whether your association is over watering, pushing out local wildlife, or using outdated equipment that spews toxic fumes, people take notice. There are better ways to maintain your property while lessening your environmental impact. If you have not done so in a while, take a step back and ask your board if there are greener ways to approach your landscaping needs.
The Belmont Community Association in Ashburn, VA did just that when they had a problem with invasive weeds threatening trees in their community. Instead of firing up the weed eaters or dousing them with harmful chemicals, they looked for greener solutions. Their research led them to an unconventional solution as they enlisted the services of goats to graze on their property. The goats happily ate up the weeds and delighted the residents who love to see the goats hard at work.
5. Plant Trees
Planting trees is an excellent way to get your community involved in something that will benefit the planet, clean up the air, and even increase your property value. If you are planning on planting inside the community for the event, do your homework. Make sure the tree type and placement will be appropriate and add the best value to the community. Tree planting efforts can also focus on individual homes, which provides shade and cuts back on cooling bills in the summer. Either way, planting trees can give your residents an opportunity to roll up their sleeves and work together outside.
6. Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
If you are part of a condo board or community with shared parking spaces, then you may already be getting requests from owners to install charging stations for their electric vehicles. As electric cars increase in popularity, demand for these shared charging stations will no doubt increase too. Investing in charging stations for your community now will go a long way to keep your homeowners happy and could help attract new environmentally-conscious residents in the future.
7. Plant a Community Garden
Whether it is located inside your association or close by in the surrounding area, planting a community garden can have an enormous benefit on the environment and the volunteer gardeners. These collective gardens help reduce negative environmental impacts and promote sustainable agriculture. For participants, it provides an excellent way to get some physical activity while connecting with nature—helping decrease stress. For the community, these gardens help increase access to fresh foods and are a great way to clean up and beautify abandoned lots.
Get More Earth Day Inspiration
For even more ways to go green this earth day, check out the Associa Green stream on our blog. Also, in 2019, Associa will be celebrating earth day at one of the world’s largest Earth Day events, Earth X. If you live in the Dallas area, please visit the Associa Green booth at the Earth X expo April 26-29 at the Fair Park in Dallas. At the booth, we will be giving away free gardening tool kits and sharing more ways communities can go green all year round!