As annual and quarterly budgets come up for review, associations are looking to cut additional costs anywhere and everywhere they can. But how much more “fat” can be trimmed from budgets? Surprisingly, there are a few unsung cost saving measures that associations may have overlooked – and with some innovative and cooperative changes, condominiums may still be able to pull some extra cost savings from their financial hats.
Sweat the Small Stuff
Many times the simplest of cost savings measures are the ones most overlooked. However, these measures can yield some substantial cost savings over the long haul and in the short term.
Case in point: the simple purchase and use of power strips can yield savings of 10 percent per year on energy costs; likewise replacing 25 percent of the lights in condominium high-traffic areas with compact fluorescent light bulbs can save about 50 percent on lighting expenses. Additionally, many condominiums and condo owners ignore the quick fix of repairs to drafty doors and windows. Weather-strippingcan reduce heating and cooling bills by as much as 10 percent.
Utilize Your Utilities
Roof and basement insulation can yield a powerful punch in increasing or decreasing energy bills as well. Bill Stack, energy efficiency spokesman for NSTAR, a Massachusetts-based electric and gas utility company, cites insulation as one of the biggest “offenders” of energy loss when he and his teams conductenergy audits of condominiums.
Energy audits, which most electric companies offer, can prove to be a useful tool to any association seeking energy cost savings. Energy efficiency programs and audits vary from state to state but typically are provided free of charge and easily scheduled throughthe condominium’s utility carrier. However, be forewarned that in many cases audits must be approved by the association in order for the assessment to be conducted.