There’s plenty of talk this election season about water and energy conservation. There’s even a proposed constitutional amendment in Florida which would guarantee the right to use solar power in your home. Up until now, has Florida law encouraged us to conserve water, conserve energy or given any incentives to do either? There are some already existing provisions you should know about.
In Florida Homeowner Associations, Florida Statute 720.3075 states:
(4)(a) The Legislature finds that the use of Florida-friendly landscaping and other water use and pollution prevention measures to conserve or protect the state’s water resources serves a compelling public interest and that the participation of homeowner’s associations and local governments is essential to the state’s efforts in water conservation and water quality protection and restoration.
(b) Homeowner’s association documents, including declarations of covenants, articles of incorporation, or bylaws, may not prohibit or be enforced so as to prohibit any property owner from implementing Florida-friendly landscaping, as defined in s. 373.185, on his or her land or create any requirement or limitation in conflict with any provision of part II of chapter 373 or a water shortage order, other order, consumptive use permit, or rule adopted or issued pursuant to part II of chapter 373.
In sum, Florida-Friendly Landscaping is a set of nine guiding principles which help protect natural resources and preserve Florida’s unique beauty.
While the Florida Homeowner’s Association Act talks about allowing for certain landscaping that conserves water, there’s not a word in the statute about an owner’s right to install solar panels or switch to solar energy.
In Florida condominiums, Florida Statute 718.113 states:
7) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or the governing documents of a condominium or a multicondominium association, the board of administration may, without any requirement for approval of the unit owners, install upon or within the common elements or association property solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy-efficient devices based on renewable resources for the benefit of the unit owners.
Interestingly enough, the Florida Condominium Act does not say a word about preserving water through Florida Friendly landscaping, but does give the association the right to install solar energy and even clotheslines.
Needless to say, the two statutes need some work. They each simultaneously address one problem while forgetting the other. Any suggestions for other ways for associations to conserve energy? Has your association found ways to conserve?