While it is common for buildings or associations of any size to have designated committees in place to help boards and management handle aesthetic, social, and other community concerns, “green” committees are a more recent trend…though, one that is gaining traction all over the country as environmental consciousness is raised.
Recycling, energy and water conservation, composting, and improving landscaping techniques and methods are just a few of the things green committees may devote to, and frequently, there are local and state-sponsored organizations and resources to help them achieve their goals.
Two decades ago, no one knew the term “green committee.” Similarly, the case was not made that properly designed landscaping could save money by helping the environment. Change of this kind begins with early adopters. This is also how green committees tend to get their start in HOAs.
“Usually, there’s one person who has a strong ethical reason for doing it, and they’re trying to convince everybody else—who couldn’t care less about the ethics—and just want to make sure that they spend as little money as possible,” says Gennaro Brooks-Church of Eco Brooklyn. “We have one champion, and then we have to go in and explain to the rest of the board why we think it’s an intelligent thing to do from a practical point of view.”
The one change agent enlists the aid of a company like Eco Brooklyn, an expert in the industry that has developed innovative ways of spreading a message. “We’ve been forced to develop a structure and a service, and a lot of it is free,” says Brooks-Church. “We don’t charge for going in and directing meetings, unless they want us to do a feasibility study, and we fund this service through the paying jobs that we get. We’ve put together our own package and our own support network. An idealistic tenant will come to us, and they don’t really have much knowledge about what can be done, so we have to hand-hold them, and then bring out the big guns, and really make a case for it with the board.”