Re: [External] Dear Cohousing Community
From: Janet Boys (
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2021 13:08:01 -0800 (PST)
It has been tested and proven that the way to encourage people to use les:
electricity/gas/water is to charge each household through its own meter. If
you do not,  you have the tragedy of the commons. With multiple households
on one meter, it is hard for any household to see if it is making a
difference by behaving differently. I strongly suggest that you have meters
for each household and one (or more) for common areas. This does cost more
to set up. We have individual meters for electricity for things like TVs,
refrigerators, etc - but only one meter for heating and cooling our entire
community (we are all in one building). We also have only one water meter
for the entire community. This can lead to arguments about what
temperatures individual units are kept at or whether or not hoses should
just be set up for children to use as they please in the summer. If you
have a community that has people who are prone to say, "You can't tell me
what to do", you need individual meters.

To give a personal example, back before living in cohousing, I started a
household campaign of one person to turn things off: radios, lights, TVs,
etc. By being very vigilant, I could point to our electric bill to show
him, a scientist, that our bills were lower since I started doing that. He
then started doing it too. It also meant that we bought very efficient
appliances. When we went solar, the installer was amazed at how low our
usage was. It had to be that low to qualify for the rebates and the small
space we had for the panels. We were using less than their star example of
one old woman who used little. Good luck.

On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 11:58 AM Jim Bronson <jimbronsonashland [at]>

> River Song plans to start construction in May.  Now we are grappling with
> some design questions.  I expect that we will decide to be an all-electric
> community (or, at most, have a gas cooktop in the Community House in case
> of power outage).
> Our Design Team would love to have the benefit of others in considering the
> following:
> 1) Do we have an electric meter on each of our 28 units, or an electric
> meter only on each of our seven buildings, or have only one electric meter
> for the community and parcel out charges based on square footage of
> individual units through the HOA?
> 2) Do we have solar.with battery backup, for a start, on the Community
> House (possibly using financing where a third party pays for the
> installation and is compensated over time through selling power to us and
> the grid)?
> Anybody have helpful experience/advice/suggestions?  Thanks so much
> for your help.
> Jim Bronson
> River Song Cohousing
> Eugene, Oregon
> _________________________________________________________________
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Janet Boys
(267) 235-3014
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