"Going green" seems all the rage these days. From the cover of Newsweek, to hybrid vehicles, to Al Gore and the bevy of eco-friendly products at the local retail store, the push for consumer products and practices that minimize the impact on Earth and its resources has found its place in mainstream America.

Community associations, too, play a role in the green movement. New or old, common interest communities impact the Earth at both the association level and the individual homeowner level. Individuals and associations alike can implement many practices aimed at reducing energy consumption and the overall carbon footprint of their daily activities.

For the past three decades Colorado statutes concerning solar energy devices have guided community associations’ architectural policies. More recent legislation establishes mandates regarding community associations’ landscaping policies and seeks to allow homeowners to use more energy saving devices such as wind generators, retractable window awnings, and clotheslines.

While legislative changes have shaped, and will likely continue to shape, community association policies in this area, community associations can take many or all of the following actions now to save resources and money:

·      Adopt landscaping policies that promote Xeriscape techniques and encourage compliance with applicable watering restrictions.

·      Replace routine paper mailings with e-mail communication.

·      Develop a community website for access to association documents and announcements.

·      Provide recycling options for community members at designated places in the common areas and through contracted waste removal services for individual units.

·      Choose products made from sustainable materials for community projects such as roof, siding, and deck replacement and for individual homeowners’ use.

·      Reduce water consumption with rain sensors and flow meters.

·      Use compact fluorescent bulbs for common area lighting.

·      Upgrade older systems such as those used for irrigation, heating, cooling and laundry to more cost-effective, energy efficient models.

·      Outline preferred locations for solar energy devices and other energy saving devices like retractable window awnings and clotheslines.

·      Conduct an energy audit of your community with the assistance of a qualified professional, or through your local service provider, to identify additional ways to save energy and money for your association.

For more information about how your community association can "go green," and guidance on complying with applicable Colorado legislation, contact one of the attorneys at our firm.