Here at CitiScape, we’re often asked about how we implement some of the new “green” developments, technologies and products in the community associations we manage, and how we are managing and adapting to make more environmentally-conscious communities.
In response, we point out the fact that CitiScape is a proud Member of Build it Green, a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote healthy, energy-and resource-efficient building practices in California. This organization works with mainstream stakeholders in the housing industry to accelerate the adoption of green building practices.
Some of what CitiScape Property Management Group has undertaken – in very practical terms – within the communities that we manage are:
• All of the associations we manage are set up for recycling (plastic, cans, bottles and paper). They are also set up for composting; each unit is provided a small bin to drop their compost material to new green toters, reducing refuse removal expense and landfill.
• At every one of the associations CitiScape manages, a PG&E energy audit is conducted to determine cost benefits to retrofit common area lighting, boiler monitoring, boiler replacement, HVAC timers, etc. The CitiScape headquarters retrofitted its own commercial building and realized an annual savings of $7,000 in electric bills.
• At many of our associations, we started a new “battery bucket” recycling program, which provides owners a central place to drop off batteries for proper disposal (usually near common banks of mailboxes).
• Once a year at each of our associations we organize one day where owners can bring down paints and solvents for proper disposal, and a second pick-up for electronics. This is to ensure proper disposal and recycling, and saving our waterways and landfills. These HOAs have added a new budget line item for these annual pick-ups.
• At one of our associations (near a public beach), we have volunteers refurbish abandoned bicycles (many over the years) and provide them for use to owners, tenants and guests of residents.
• We have managed the installation of several electric car charging stations, as well as the Car Share program.
• Two of our homeowners associations have installed “co-generation plants”, which converts already used natural gas (used for heating) into electricity for common area use.
• We now only entertain proposals from landscapers and janitorial companies that utilize a more sustainable approach to their services (water management, drought resistant planting, green chemicals, etc).
• Two of our associations started a community garden in the common area where residents can grow their own fruits and vegetables.
• Several associations have installed solar panels to offset common area electricity use, and one association (Russian Hill) is investigating wind power.
• In roof replacements, we are recommending green products, for example:
A) IB Roof – made from recycled products, are very high energy rating/UV rating, and carry a longer warranty;
B) Cool Roofing Installation, which reduces Urban Heat Island Effect, (heat buildup from roof density which contributes to poor air quality and heating/cooling issues at the property), and increases overall energy rating at the property.
• As a company, we use only 100% recycled paper products from sustainable forests, and provide our staff with recycle cans at each of their work stations and in the company lounge.
Suffice to say, we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously, we are committed to continually educate and train our management staff and the members in the communities that we manage, and being environmentally conscience is an important part of our sustainable business model.