The phrases have grown familiar to all of us. Global warming. Ozone depletion. Greenhouse effect. As recycling, composting and other eco-friendly activities become more common, the time seems right to start asking what else can be done to keep our planet clean and green.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (USDE), the more than 76 million residential buildings and nearly five million commercial buildings in the United States are responsible for one-third of all the energy consumed in this country and two-thirds of all electricity. The USDE also states that buildings are responsible for 35 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, thought to contribute to climate change. Cutting back on energy consumption will make a significant dent in the amount of energy produced each year and an equally significant reduction in the pollution created as a by-product. And the fact of the matter is that environmental responsibility also spells fiscal stability.
It turns out there’s plenty that co-op and condo boards can do to help preserve the environment. Even better, these actions provide significant savings on heating, cooling, maintenance and more.
Good choices, Great Savings
Choice is everything when it comes to creating a green-friendly environment. In June 1999, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) began promoting the use of Energy Star products. The Energy Star program, created by the USDE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), began as a way to aid consumers in their search for appliances and lighting fixtures that save energy and, in turn, save money. "We’re working with architects, management companies and owners" to get the word out on Energy Star, says Dennis Ossipov, deputy project manager.