Implementing sustainable initiatives in a residential community can be daunting. Here are five simple and quick ways to get started on going green!
1. Start a Garden club: cultivate a sense of community and increases the beautification of your common areas by inviting your in-house gardeners to get involved in creating a green space for all residents to share. You can even include edible plants, like lettuce and tomatoes, and at the end of summer, host a BBQ with salad from the garden! (Don’t forget to post the updates and pictures of the garden on your community website.)
2. Electricity: this one is easy to update. Are you using the most efficient light bulbs on the market? Are your common areas illuminated with censored lighting? Encourage residents to buy environmentally conscious bulbs and remind them that they can save money on hydro by unplugging appliances and turning lights off when they exit a room. Fluorescent tubes and energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) provide high-quality, energy-efficient lighting. Fluorescent lamps are 75 to 80 per cent more efficient than incandescent bulbs and last six to 10 times longer. Look for the ENERGYSTAR label.
3. Recycling: Unfortunately, condos and apartment buildings are one of the last places where people can get away with not recycling properly. We all know it’s tough to regulate common garbage chutes. What are you doing to encourage residents to sort their refuse before dumping it down the chute? Try posting signs in common areas or sending notifications to residents (via email, of course!) with quick tips on how to reduce waste. Gentle but consistent reminders are a good step towards getting everyone in the habit of recycling.
4. Swap / Pot luck: Social events a great way for residents to mix and mingle with each other. You can host a BBQ with a sharing theme such as Spring Cleaning or End-of-Summer-Swap. It’s a great way to reduce waste while fostering a sense of community!
5. Energy: The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recommends that you check for air leakage around pipes and faucets. They say that drafty condos and apartments “require more heating during the winter and more cooling during the summer to make them comfortable — making them more expensive to live in.” So make sure that you’re regularly checking for this type of leakage.
Bonus Tip: Encourage and Support Cycling! Provide a well-lit, accessible, and safe storage areas for bicycles and you’ll not only cut down on parking lot congestion, you’ll be fostering a healthy and active community!