Ok, need your brain power everyone! As one of the several things I’ve been up to in my community lately, I am working with a few others in my neighborhood on a new community website: Sustainable Capitol Hill. The organization has outgrown its old site, and now we’re working on making it an indispensable resource for our community!
So… we expect our readers will fall into one of three categories: Residents, Building Owners/Managers, and Businesses. With that in mind, one of the things we’re doing is making a “Top 10 List” of Ways to Go Green for each of the three types of readers.
I’m assigned to write the Building Managers Top 10 List. And… I’m stumped. Help! Here’s what I have so far…
Top 10 Ways For Building Managers & Owners To Make Their Buildings Green
1. Make sure to provide enough Recycling & Yard Waste/Compost containers for your residents. Even if your building does not generate much yard waste, you can still order a Yard Waste bin for residents to discard compost. You can encourage residents to recycle and compost, by providing them with an informational sheet when they move into the unit. Here is a printable flier describing yard waste and compost (available in several languages), and here is one for recycling.
Note that in addition to helping keep unnecessary materials out of landfills, there are financial incentives: if Seattle garbage contains more than 10% recyclables, a $50 fine may be added to your garbage bill.
2. Create a gardening space for residents to grow food and flowers. Not only does this increase the property value by beautifying the grounds, but it also encourages residents to stay longer in your building (by improving their quality of life, giving a sense of investment in the property, and showing that you care about their needs). If you don’t have room for a courtyard garden, consider providing matching window boxes for tenants, or creating a rooftop garden.
Please visit our gardening resources page for more information.
3. When remodeling or repainting, use green and non-toxic materials. For example: paint with non-toxic and non-VOC paints, replace carpeting with formaldehyde-free carpeting, and use reclaimed building materials from businesses like Earthwise, Second Use, or Re-Store.
4. Clean apartments and common areas with non-toxic cleaning materials. Generally these are cheaper for you, as well as better for the environment, the individuals who are cleaning, and your residents. (Anyone know a good link to go here?)
5. Provide a list of local businesses to new residents. The more invested your residents are in their community, the longer they are likely to stay in the building. Additionally, the stronger the local economy is in our area, the more desirable the neighborhood will become, and the higher the property value will become for you.
6. Use locally-owned and -operated businesses for your services. For example: cleaning services, plumbers, electricians, handymen, key duplication services, hardware stores, and management services can all come from local businesses. And again, when you support our local economy, it becomes stronger, which benefits all of us.
7. Recycle old appliances and building materials. You can take old appliances to the Waste Management Disposal Facility for recycling, or have them picked up by calling (206) 684-3000. If the appliance still works, you can advertise it on Craigslist or Freecycle, where someone will pick it up for free.
You can donate recyclable building materials to Habitat For Humanity for a tax-deductible donation. Or you can take the materials to Earthwise, Second Use, or Re-Store. Many of these services offer pick-up or free drop-off, and some also offer store credit for your usable materials. (Note: before deconstruction, make sure to call the facility and find out its policies.)
8. Weatherproof windows and doors throughout the building. Weatherproofing or weatherization includes: window caulking and weatherstripping; installing storm windows and/or new energy-efficient windows; pipe wrapping outdoors and in carport areas; weatherstripping exterior doors; and insulating the attic, walls, and crawlspaces. Check with Seattle City Light to see if your building might qualify for a Multifamily Weatherization Rebate. For low-income buildings, there is also a weatherization program for low-income apartment buildings.
9. Light hallways, entryways, and other common areas with CFL lights. In addition to lasting up to 10 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, these will use 75% less energy. This takes a big bite out of your electric bill: each bulb will save about $30 in energy costs over its lifetime!
When the CFLs do burn out, make sure to dispose of them properly: you can take them to a Take It Back Network facility to be recycled (call the facility for details), or to a hazardous waste dropoff site. Check with Seattle City Light to see if your building might qualify for a Multifamily Lighting Rebate.
10. What have I left out? Please help!
What do you think? What have I missed? Please help me brainstorm… !