Oh, what a world it would be

When it comes to making a positive impact on California’s environment — whether it be water conservation, reducing energy costs or even powering electric vehicles — homeowners associations (HOAs) have a responsibility to their residents and the environment to make changes to their communities.

California has about 50,000 homeowners associations. That means about 14.3 million people, more than 38 percent of the state’s population, lives in a community with an HOA. That number is even higher for San Diego. In San Diego County, nearly 68 percent of the population lives in an HOA.

Consider that each HOA has a volunteer board of, on average, five directors. That equals about 250,000 volunteer directors across the state! Think of the power that many people have, and the impact they could make on the environment if each community made even a small adjustment.

The good news is it is entirely possible. Most HOAs employ a professionally trained community manager who can champion these ideas and the efforts of the community to effect changes to landscaping and implement new energy technologies to help conserve resources and save their residents money. There are many case studies that show how communities are saving thousands of dollars as they help the environment.

In many cases, the costs to implement these conservation efforts are offset by local, state and federal rebate initiatives. San Diego has an entire Web page dedicated to water conservation and SDG&E has many rebates and incentives available for energy efficiency programs.

Also, with the introduction of bills in this current legislative session — such as Assembly Bill 2104 introduced by San Diego Democrat Lorena Gonzalez that would promote water-efficient landscapes — communities may find it easier than ever to conserve and take advantage of programs that can save them money.

I believe HOA community members throughout the state are probably already on board with conservation efforts. However, I would like to encourage them to take the next step and seek out their HOA community managers as partners in these efforts.

Community managers can help the volunteer boards and consumers who live in HOAs to determine the programs and funding available, and how their communities can get involved. These champions for the HOA can be the key to implementing programs by showing residents how much they can save and the positive impact they can have on the environment.

Imagine what a world it would be if we all had a clean, thriving environment and an overall better quality of life in our communities.

Conlon is president and CEO of the California Association of Community Managers.

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