Are outdoor lights on sensors or timers? Has your co-op switched to LED lighting in your common spaces? Good investment! Not only will it use 75 to 90 per cent less electricity than incandescent, but the bulbs will last much longer.
Encourage your members to cut energy use too. They can turn down the temperature in winter. If they vacuum the bathroom fan, it won’t have to work as hard or use as much energy. They should also watch out for power vampires—microwaves, computers and the like, which drain power all the time. They can plug them into a power bar and turn them all off with one touch.
You know about replacing old appliances because new Energy Star equipment uses less power. If your co-op has done this, great! But did it happen more than 15 years ago? If so, your co-op needs to do it AGAIN!
If your co-op pays for electricity, regular replacement of appliances is a capital investment that will free operating-budget funds for something else. If your members pay for electricity, they’ll end up with more money in their pockets. So you win either way.
Another capital investment worth considering is solar panels. If you are undertaking a large capital project, you may wish to sign a contract with an Energy Service Company (ESCO) that develops, executes and arranges financing for building projects that will improve energy efficiency over two to 20 years. The ESCO installs and maintains the new equipment and takes responsibility if the project does not produce the expected benefits. You pay for the work and equipment from future savings, with the ESCO taking a percentage.