Going Green to Save Green Your Guide to 'Greening' Your Building Community

These days, it seems like everybody is looking to 'go green.' The term is shorthand for a movement of environmental awareness that involves everything from the way architects design new buildings and homes to the ways co-ops, condos and HOAs recycle their waste. In other words, green means to help the environment by reducing the amount of energy you use.

That’s why savvy boards and property managers are not only implementing the little things—such as turning down thermostats, shutting off air conditioners, and turning out lights in common areas when not in use—but investing in more substantial technology and greener equipment that uses less energy.

Let’s take a look at how New York City co-op and condo buildings are going green.

Green Houses

Bill Footer, senior program director for Massachusetts-based Conservation Services Group, which handles National Grid’s multifamily program, says the interest in condos becoming green has increased greatly over the last few years. “It seems a lot of communities these days have a green committee that will look for ways to decrease expenses,” he says. “They're concerned about energy use and want to do whatever they can.” And that, says Footer, is where his organization comes in. “We can help them reduce common area energy usage as well as in-unit energy usage.”

The question has always been, is it economically viable? “For a co-op, condo or building owner, the investment in ‘green’ improvements can easily build momentum when it is economically viable—and even more so when it results in a much more healthy and attractive living environment,” says Ivan Brice, AIA, principal and founder of Ivan Brice Architecture in New York City.


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  • Our co-op was built in 1964 and we have a pool. In the past the pool costs were covered through maintenance. However, the past five years former bd. members voted to charge for pool membership and open it to the public for an added cost above shareholder membership. The problem come appeared when one percent (three ) of the shareholders had serious altercations with the pool / life guard co. As a result we are running out of Pool co. who are willing to do business with us. My suggestion is to do it In-house and eliminate the member- ship charges and raise the maintenance by one percent per unit. Our Super is willing to take the course for Pool certification and manage the chemicals etc. We would hire life guards from our local Y and have an interested shareholder monitor the activities. What advice do you have for us? I am new on the board and all of us are on the same page for keeping peace & quiet and creating community. HELP