These days, as the summers get hotter, the storms get bigger, and climate change is finding its way into more headlines than ever before, more attention is being paid to the environment and how the average citizen can do his or her part to support it. As a result, boards and managers are finding themselves introducing new rules, regulations, and technologies into co-ops, condos and HOAs to improve comfort for residents and work in tandem with statewide efforts to be better stewards of our resources and climate.
Concern for the environment and energy usage continues to grow, but so do energy prices. David Cohen, LCAM, vice president at AKAM On-Site in Dania Beach, says his board recently discussed, and eventually approved, the installation of newly developed and designed control valves. These valves will, he attests, assist in significantly reducing the electric and energy costs of operating the building’s cooling towers, and its associated pumps on the building’s roof. “A demand-based energy conservation project,” Cohen says, “will allow the cooling tower and its associated pumps to slow down when there is a reduced demand for air-conditioning, thereby saving energy and energy costs.”
Most ventilation and air conditioning systems require a building’s cooling towers and their associated pumps to operate at full capacity, regardless of demand. “In addition to conserving energy and saving money,” Cohen says, “this project will also expand the life of the equipment.”
Many property managers have encountered, among their board members, financial complaints regarding the introduction of eco-friendly solutions and innovations: “The consensus seems to be that the benefits are, at best, down the road,” says Steven J Weil, PhD, EA, LCAM, president at Royale Management Services, in Fort Lauderdale. “Replacing old lightbulbs a few at a time with compact fluorescent bulbs is as close as I’ve gotten, but the board members even complained about their slightly higher price.”
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“We regularly have board members reach out to their management team about greening their property,” says Doug Weinstein, executive director of operations and vice president of the Project Management Group (PMG) and AKAM Associates, based in New York. “And PMG consistently receives inquiries for more information on how to be energy efficient and a more sustainable property. As greening becomes a more widespread practice, the inquiries continue to rise. You also have many new buildings being constructed with sustainability and greening practices in mind from their inception.”