Condo Currency to meet Environmental Targets

August 2023

Canada has made commitments to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.  Meeting these targets will require success at reducing building emissions which account for nearly 40 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

Exceeding these targets is seen as crucial to helping mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming.  There is an urgency to accelerate our efforts.

High-rise residential communities have had limited success at getting their communities to meet city and regional targets for improvement in areas such as recycling, waste diversion and energy efficiency.

One approach that has had success elsewhere is to develop an alternative currency that can only be obtained by meeting social and environmental targets, and providing desirable ways for it to be used.  Let us call this Condo Currency that could be issued by the city or province.

Communities would earn this currency by meeting certain targets consistent with regional goals.  Communities can do a better job at ensuring items deposited as recycling are not contaminated.  They can reduce waste disposal by encouraging residents to “regift” items they no longer need.  Energy use can be reduced by upgrading building systems, energy efficient lighting and using less water.  Communities can reduce heating, cooling and lighting of spaces when unused.

As a community meets specific targets, they receive Condo Currency which can be used for further improvements.  This could reduce the cost of replacing boilers; installing a building automation system, leak detection technology or efficient lighting systems; or closing down the trash chute.  All help to further reduce a building’s environmental footprint and greenhouse emissions.  Some communities may use these funds to install electric vehicle charging stations.  Perhaps this currency could be used to obtain the services of a consultant to advise on improving building operations.  Vendors may choose to accept this currency as partial payment for their services.

This approach would help communities to enter the cycle of continuous improvement that is necessary to achieve and maintain environmental targets.  Each community decides how best to achieve the desired goals including education and motivation of residents in what is required of them.  Communities that are successful at achieving environmental targets directly benefit from their efforts.

Alternate currencies have been tested elsewhere and found to be effective motivation to achieve environmental targets.  They begin the process of positive reinforcement that can encourage communities to take a more proactive approach to achieving our environmental targets.