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Even Older Condos Can Go "Green"

Yogi Berra, former philosopher-catcher for the New York Yankees, got it right. “It’s déjà vu all over again.” The reprise of the 1973 energy crisis is back on stage. The future is not what it used to be. Energy is the new arbiter of economics and, it would appear, global politics. The U.S. Department of Energy reminds us (again) that residential buildings consume 21% of the nation’s energy menu. We know that common interest developments make up a significant andgrowing portion of that percentage.

Previously, clients putting up a new building might look at higher initial construction costs for energy reduction and say, “No thanks.” The modest down-the-road return on investment (ROI) would not get their attention. The new ball game with higher energycosts has shortened up the ROI. Still, “green” programs like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) speak purely to new designs for new construction.

But what about the inventory of existing buildings — the ones continuing to consume that 21%? Can they be retrofitted to reduce the rising costs of heating and cooling them? The short answer is yes. But it is up to us to figureout how to do it by adapting the technology and management at hand.

Unique Position for Savings

For those of us working with common interest developments, it turns out that we are in a unique position to reduce the ever-rising cost of heating and cooling our buildings. The technologyis textbook stuff. The management, though, needs some development because this is relatively new territory.

First, the technology. Three possibilities present themselves for reducingenergy consumption: insulation, air movement and heating source. Let’s work through an example to see what the potential might be.

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