How Far Can You Go on the Green Scale? Shades of Green

 Talk of “green” homes and buildings these days often evokes images of roof gardens, solar  panels, and even wind turbines humming in the background. For most co-ops and  condos however, “going green” comes incrementally, in much smaller measures.  

 Starting with simple things like turning off lights or phasing out incandescent  bulbs, and moving to major undertakings such as investing in solar energy,  individual owners and boards can take any number of steps on the road to a more  environmentally conscious lifestyle—and pocket significant savings along the way.  

 Pre-war buildings, townhouses, and even brand-new condos all present  opportunities for green improvements that can lead to increased comfort and  continuing cost savings—it’s just a matter of finding the shade of green that best fits your building’s means and motivation.  

 Taking the First Steps

 Reining in electric bills—and saving energy—in your building can start with installing compact fluorescent bulbs. According  to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if every household in the United States  replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent  light (CFL) bulb, it would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas  emissions from power plants. That’s the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road, and over the life of  the bulb, saves $30 in electricity costs. Count up all the bulbs in your  building, and all those $30 add up quickly.  

 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests starting by placing the  CFL bulbs in fixtures that are used frequently and left on for long periods of  time, so beyond individual units, boards and managers may consider them a good  choice for common areas like hallways, and community rooms.  

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