8 Ways to Green Your HOA

Home Owner Associations or HOAs are becoming more and more of a reality for many Americans. In fact, in 2008 there was a reported 300,800 association-governed communities. With about 71 percent of people polled in 2007 rating their overall HOA experience as positive, these associations aren’t going anywhere.

With these governing organizations becoming a larger part of our lives, making sure that it follows or adheres to our eco-concerns is just as important as making sure our own homes are up to environmental code.

If your HOA were to be evaluated for its level of eco-consciousness, how would it score? If you believe your community could be greener, take a look at our 8 Ways to get your HOA on the same page as your lifestyle.

1. Encourage Eco-Landscaping

A great start to greening your HOA is to take a look at the community’s landscaping. Green landscaping puts to use water-saving techniques, including irrigation systems and strategic plant selection to conserving water and reducing need for chemical fertilizers.

Gas-powered mowers account for 5 percent of air pollution. Propane mowers are a nice alternative. Photo: Livingthecountrylife.com

Gas-powered mowers account for 5 percent of air pollution. Propane mowers are a nice alternative. Photo: Livingthecountrylife.com

The U.S. EPA is a great resource for environmentally friendly landscaping. Many HOAs use drought-resistant and indigenous plants to create natural spillways or irrigation systems and also utilize sprinklers with timers and/or water-efficient spray heads.

2. Clean Up the Equipment

Now that your community’s landscaping is green, make sure those mowers are green too! Instead of gasoline-powered tools, encourage your HOA to use mowers and tools that run on cleaner fuel. According, to the EPA, gasoline-powered mowers are responsible for nearly 5 percent of our air pollution. Nontoxic propane mowers are a great alternative to gas-powered mowers.

Continue Reading: Save Water

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  1. Great article on HOA’s!
    I live in a condo, in Santa Barbara, CA, and am interested in solar powered electricity for the whole campus.
    Do you know of any installations?
    Also, you will be interested in Green Irene. We are Eco-Consultants who walk through our clients’ homes or offices and develop a set of customized recommendations for energy and water conservation, water purity, toxic-free living, energy efficient lighting, indoor air quality, recycling, waste reduction, and composting.
    Green Irene clients receive a three month membership to “Ask Green Irene.” This extensive database and research team allows you to find answers on green questions. Plus, we have excellent green products.
    There is probably a Green Irene in your area, http://www.GreenIrene.com
    Thank you!

  2. Becky – great information on greening up HOA’s. Communities like this are wonderful for bringing neighbors together. Other ideas include:
    1. Creating a system whereby neighbors can borrow tools/etc from each other instead of buying new ones. Rules on proper care and repair/replacement should it be broken should be created to keep it fair.
    2. Create a community garden. Much better for the environment than water sucking lawn, attractive and gets kids and neighbors involved and talking!
    3. Have contests to see which neighbor can cut their energy cost the most. Provide tips, tools, resources and incentives. Perhaps try it over a 3 month period and the winner gets 1 month of HOA dues waived.
    4. Create a shared library where neighbors can share books, magazines and other resources to save money and cut down on waste.
    There are a lot of ideas out there to create a wonderful community of neighbors who share common goals. Not to mention getting to know your neighbors and creating a true family neighborhood.

  3. Thanks for the article. I am interested in xeriscaping my lawn. I tried to click on the link under the first bullet you have listed but it takes me to an article about a water quality report. Do you have the link to the EPA site?

    1. Thanks Erica,

      We have corrected the link issue (sorry about that) – it now goes to the correct EPA page.

  4. Great ideas for HOA and home owners too. Instead of using powered lawn mowers # 2, even propane mower which cost a lot to manufacture and still use fuel, consider using a reel mower. They are no longer like your grandfather’s reel mower. They are easy to push, good exercise, rarely break down and cheap to puchase and maintain. Here’s a review site: http://landscaping.about.com/cs/lawns/gr/reel_review.htm
    They may not work for large lawns but medium to small would be much more eco friendly.

  5. Great ideas, sharing tools and books to save our precious recourses! I have another idea,
    when you go to the bathroom, call all your neighbors and see if they don’t have to go also!

    Your waste won’t need to travel alone, you can both “share the bowl”, so to speak! You could even pass a HOA rule, “NO ONE GOES ALONE”, to save valuable water! Or have community “crap ins”, where everyone meets to use one toilet (of course considering bowl capacity) so one flush serves many!

    Better yet, MANDATE community bathroom breaks so individuals have no choice in the matter! After all, we know what is good for people better than they do, right?

  6. Nice tips you got there pal. Its very useful for HOA’s to deliver good transactions to their customers, and it makes their home clean and gree. Thanks for the post. :)

  7. Hi,

    My husband and I purchased a condo in San Bernardino County a year ago. When we purchased it, everything seem great in paper, but when we moved in we started to notice immediate repairs. One mayor concern were the window and sliding doors. About a month ago, after frequent calls and request for architectural approval paperwork, we finally obtained the go ahead, but only if we replaced the existing to match the typical windows in the complex (which are discontinued). Our windows are energy efficant, however the HOA may possible fine us because the windows to not match the typical windows (the mullions are too thick and white, in lieu of black)

    Our new windows are far more energy efficient then our old windows and eligible for a tax break. Can you provide advice on how to present to our HOA the benefit of installing energy efficient windows and how we can encourage other units to install similar windows? Thank you.

  8. I want to replace my composition shingles roof with standing seam metal roof – according to my research, metal roofs are very efficient, last longer and are recyclable when disposed of. My OHA declined my request because the roof will not conform with all others in the neighborhood (composition shingles, which can never be recycled and don’t last as long). I plan on replacing with metal anyway. What can the HOA do other than impose a fine?

  9. Becky,

    I enjoyed reading your article and the comments from all the Green conscious people as well. I actually work for an LED manufacturer in CA and we are trying push the LED concept to HOA’s or Condo Associatons. Many of them run their pool lights all night which is really a significant amount of money that is wasted. They can switch to energy efficient pool lights such as our Pure White LED pool light that reduces electricity consumption by 90%. Please visit our website at http://www.jandjpoolspa.com to review the details on our site. Perhaps, you can discuss or write about LED lighting, especially for pools in your next article.

    Email me at mhaznedar@jandjelectronics.com

  10. I think you have some very informative and educating information in this article about HOA’s . I think these are very important tips before your House Owner Association comes to the house.

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