New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine October 2020 free digital issue

HABITAT

ARCHIVE ARTICLE

How to Get Boards to Listen to Innovative Ideas

The Challenge

This pre-war, 60-unit building in Queens needed to have its elevators refurbished and its roof and intercom system replaced. The board had me speak at its annual meeting about other things the building would be needing. I wanted them to add a heating control system. If the system costs $15,000 and you can pay that back in a year and a half and save wear and tear on your boiler, that’s an innovation I think they should really go after. They saw it differently.
This board can see what’s in front of them that requires immediate attention – things like the elevators, the roof, and the intercom.  If you say, “You have to spend $500,000 on a roof.” No problem. “What’s the assessment? How long do I have to pay for it?” They can do that.  But they have trouble looking to the future.

The Solution

If they chose a heating control system, such as U.S. Energy, or Entech, or even Heat Timer, and put one of these in, they would be much better off. It’s like any energy-efficient component you put in, such as lighting. You put in LEDs or CFLs, your costs go down.

The Lesson

The lesson is that if your manager comes to your board with a proven innovation, you should really listen. The board should do its own research at that point. It’s foolish not to try and save money. If I have to spend some money to save money, I think that’s a wise thing.

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