Austin, Texas — The Canyon Creek Neighborhood in northwest Austin, Sun City in Georgetown and Sunset Ridge in Cedar Park are leading by example during these times of drought by focusing on green programs, water conservation and limiting the carbon footprint of their homeowners associations. Community Associations Institute (CAI) Austin is celebrating a commitment to responsible community governance and is excited to recognize three local communities for being leaders in green community governance.
“Community Associations Institute (CAI) Austin takes great care and diligence in identifying community leaders with a commitment to responsible community governance,” said Joe Dust, Chapter Executive Director for CAI in Austin. “We are thrilled to recognize these communities for their outstanding commitment and dedication to being green communities.”
Canyon Creek Neighborhood in NW Austin
Canyon Creek has transformed 20 acres of green space in their neighborhood by launching a program to change out the non-native plants and St. Augustine grass with native, drought-tolerant species and also purchased undeveloped land surrounding the neighborhood to the South, bordering on Balcones Canyon Lands and turned it into a protected conservation area, ensuring protected habitat for the environmentally sensitive species including the Golden Cheeked Warbler.
The protection of new land and transformation of their neighborhood has allowed the community to switch to drip irrigation, instead of sprayers and has reduced its water rate by 30%. The land originally planted with non-native species that required extensive watering and maintenance with flowerbeds that had to replanted at least twice yearly with season flowers and required extensive watering and mowing. The Canyon Creek neighborhood has also been recognized by the City of Austin as a Certified Green Neighborhood.
Sun City Texas in Georgetown
Sun City Texas Community Association (SXTXCA) launched a major clearing project, clearing over 150 acres and over 5.5 miles of waterways to ensure the community is safe from both fires and floods. The community became a certified FireWise community. The community also drilled six water wells to help minimize their footprint on water usage from the City of Georgetown and provide a self-contained source of non-potable water for irrigation of their golf courses and common areas. During the first 4 months of 2012, the community did not purchase any water from the City of Georgetown.
They also added protection for wildlife and deer and created a substantial rain barrel collection system for irrigation in their horticulture facility and implemented many energy efficiency measures including: retrofitting 33 parking lot lights to LED lamps saving 90% of the energy consumed by the previous bulbs; adding three large, heavy duty ceiling fans in their restaurant and multipurpose room to enhance air circulation and save energy when heating and cooling; replacing incandescent bulbs with LED lamps in their Ballroom; adding Sun Screens to the fitness centers and other buildings; installing motion sensing light switches in many of their facilities; along with the City of Georgetown, implementing a single-stream recycle system; an ongoing recycling program in conjunction with Texas Disposal.
Sunset Ridge in Cedar Park
The Sunset Ridge association has been involved in creating an environmentally conscience pest control program. The community backs up to a large preserve area and water shed within Cedar Park and the Board and the owners make a large effort to preserve the area. They have contracted an environmentally friendly company for pest control and only use natural chemicals in their pest control programs. When choosing plants for the community they look up the plant’s effects on the wildlife in the area to make sure they are fitting for the community.
The association has maintained the irrigation system in order to prevent water loss and the association has implemented fire prevention procedures to help maintain the assets within the community, but also to help preserve the wildlife that surrounds the community and its owners.
CAI Austin will announce the full slate of award winners from many different categories involving community governance at the second annual Community Awards Gala at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel on December 7 from 6-11:30 p.m. Awards will be presented separately for Homeowner Associations versus Condominium Associations, and within each class, large communities versus smaller communities. In addition, CAI will honor a Community of the Year for their service beyond their own community, a CAI Volunteer of the Year, and present a CAI Lifetime Achievement Award.