Lessons Learned in 2011

Live near where you work.
Buildings may account for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions but your daily commute may account for another 30%. People often think of their housing and car expenses as separate entities but they’re not. Your commute requires car payments, maintenance, gas and insurance. However, if you live close enough to work that you can walk, bike or take public transportation, you’re more likely to spend your hard earned dollars locally and that’s good for the neighborhood. In fact, according to Susan Piedmont-Palladino, ditching the car could leave you with an extra eight grand every year to spend.

Oil Is Old Technology
We don’t just need to burn less fossil fuels, we need to stop burning fossil fuels altogether. That means we must use less energy in all its various forms, electricity included, and we must produce the energy we use from renewable sources. Wherever you are or whatever you are doing, you are using energy, most likely from the grid, and it’s dirty. Maybe not all of it but even here in sustainable Santa Monica, 40% of our electricity comes from coal. This would be depressing to me except for the fact that, as a building owner, I know I can be part of the solution by contributing clean, renewable energy to the grid via solar and that is exactly what we are planning for 2012.

Collaborative Consumption Is Here to Stay
The planet’s resources simply cannot provide every thing for every body on the planet, so collaborative consumption is a necessity in order to conserve resources. And that’s okay because the internet now allows to create geographic databases and social networks that enable users to share their wealth, so to speak. Whether its sharing your ladder via Neighbor Goods or renting out your car via Getaround, these networks make it possible for us to consume less and, I believe, place a greater emphasis on well made or as Saul Griffith calls them “heirloom goods”.

Be Prepared for Rain
If you live in a drought prone area, you better be prepared to capture, conserve or infiltrate any rain that falls on your property. Flood prone or heavily paved over areas need to become better infiltrators, meaning property owners need to do a better job of making sure the rain that falls on their property goes into the ground and not down the sewer or into the streets where it contributes to the problem. If greywater use is not legal in your area, it’s time to get those codes changed. Water is the new oil, cheap now but prices are rising and availability is diminishing.

What have you learned from 2011 and how are you planning to implement changes in 2012?

Other Articles of Interest:

Opportunities Abound for Sustainable Operations

A New Kind of Give & Take for Property Management

Does Your Association Have a Sustainability Committee?

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