What is the responsibility of a Community President?

The Law on Horizontal Property states that all communities must have a President and gives this individual certain duties, obligations and rights. Fundamentally he or she is the official representative of the community of property owners and responsible for dealing with individual members, community issues and legal matters.

A Community President must be elected at a General Meeting and the only stipulations to be considered as a President are that they must be over 18, have full legal competence and be one of the co-owners of the properties within the community.

Recycling in your community

Unfortunately Spain is lagging behind much of the rest of Europe with their recycling. According to Eurostat figures Spain recycled only 15 percent of its garbage in 2009, Germany ranked first by recycling half of its waste for that year. Fifty-two percent of Spain’s garbage is dumped in landfills, incineration accounted for nine percent and compost twenty-four percent.

If you are a community president, care about the environment and want to make sure that your community is doing their bit how can you encourage recycling in your community?

1. Make sure you have recycling bins near to your community to make it easy as possible for your owners to recycle. Speak to your Town Hall to find out how you can get a bin if you don’t have one. These are colour coded as following –

Green bins – general rubbish

Yellow bins – cans, briks (milk or juice cartons), and plastic bottles

Blue bins – paper and cardboard

Circular green bottle banks are for glass bottles

2. Inform your residents – If you already have bins but they aren’t being widely used, communicate with your residents via your noticeboard, flyers, emails or your community website to tell them about the benefits of recycling and encourage them to do it

3. Help your residents – There are excellent bin solutions for within the home where different coloured bins or bags can go under the sink or somewhere convenient so you sort your waste as you throw things away. Community Presidents can help their residents by bringing this and other recycling technology to their attention and offering to purchase this on behalf of the community. Here’s a selection of recycling bins we found online.

4. Find your nearest recycling centre and inform your residents – There are recycling centres in each area where citizens can recycle unusual and environmentally hazardous materials like paint, batteries and electrical appliances. There’s a recycling centre website where you can search for your nearest recycling centre. Why not arrange a trip and inform the residents so they can bring their materials to you?

Reduce your reliance on paper – minimize paper communications by using email or a community website for communicating with your residents. This can save a lot of paper over the year and is more efficient.

Energy saving tips to cut bills in 2013

On January 1st electricity prices went up and homeowners can expect to see a 3-6% increase on their bills. Given this price hike, home owners and community presidents are actively looking for ways to cut their consumption with the aim of reducing bills and lessening their impact on the environment.

As we told you last week, Endesa are rolling out Smart energy meters for all their clients, which means customers will be charged on their actual use every month rather than relying on estimations. The Smart meter also shows where the electricity is actually being used, so consumers can identify the most power-hungry items and you can learn to use these less, in a smarter way, or look for power-saving alternatives.

Here are a few tips for cutting electricity use and bills this year –

Invest in eco appliances where possible

Disconnect plugs which are not being used, phone chargers etc.

When replacing ovens try halogen, they are much more energy efficient than fan ovens

Clean all filters on tumble dryers, vacuums etc as blocked filters impair performance so you need to use it for longer

Use energy saving light bulbs and solar lighting outside

Keep heat in by drawing the curtains and using draft excluders

Don’t do half loads – fill dishwashers, washing machines and tumble dryers completely for less washes

Check whether your electricity costs less at different times of the day and adjust accordingly. For instance it may be cheaper to save all your washing until after 9pm at night if you’re on a day/night tariff

Around 6% of electric usage in the home is actually used by devices being left on standby so make sure you turn off at the mains

Investing in home solar panels could reduce your electric bill by up to 80%, they are likely to pay for themselves within 5 years, you could even sell back any energy you produce to the power company.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to reduce energy bills in your property and throughout your urbanization and share these useful tips with other owners via your community website.

Smart energy meters being introduced by Endesa

There have been a few new EU directives brought into effect regarding saving energy (Directive 2006/32/EC and Directive 2009/72/EC and most recently Orden ITC/3860/2007. The Spanish supplier of electricity Endesa has sent letters to their clients to inform them that in order to comply with these regulations they  will be putting in smart electricity meters which will allow homeowners to see where their energy is being used and help them to be proactive in reducing consumption.

The meter will also include a mains isolator which will trip a fuse if there is a power surge or similar, protecting equipment and homeowners. This will be installed with the new meter and activated immediately.

The process of changing the meters will take place over the next quarter and the good news is that because the meter is on the outside of the property there’s no need for you to be there. However, if the meter is located within the urbanization and access is required, then Endesa will contact the owner or the community president to arrange a convenient time.

Once the meter has been replaced you will receive a letter from them to confirm that it has been done and informing you that you can access the meter to learn more about how you are using your energy. This letter will include information on how to read the meter and of course, we’ll let you know what that says as soon as we receive it.

The installation of the new meter is free of charge but there is a monthly cost of hire of the equipment as before of 0.81 Euros a month which is simply added to your bill.

One big advantage of these new meters is that in the future bills will be based on monthly readings and will remove the normally inaccurate estimations which can cause you to be charged for more than you actually use.

If you need more information the Endesa website has good information about it, but in Spanish of course. Please feel free to ask us any questions and we’ll do our best to help.

In our next post we will be giving you tips for saving energy and the price rises which are on their way. Please communicate this important news with your community via a notice board, email or community website so they can understand the changes and save energy.