Re: Allocating Common Costs by an Algorithm e.g. based on # adults and sq. ft.
From: Ken Winter (
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2021 08:06:02 -0800 (PST)
I'd strongly urge you to build in a system where each unit pays for its
actual, measured usage of water, electricity, and gas.  You can get actual
measurements for each unit in two ways: (1) each unit has a meter provided
by the local utility and pays the utility directly, or (2) the local
utility has meters on each building and the community has submeters for
each unit, the community pays the utility and each unit owner pays the
community for that unit's usage as measured by its submeter.  At Sunward
Cohousing, after 20 years of "we all pay for everything", we have
retrofitted submeters into our water billing system.  For what we did, why,
and how, see
This article is a quite incomplete work-in-progress, but the "why" section
is pretty solid.

~ Ken Winter, Sunward Cohousing, Ann Arbor MI

On Wed, Mar 10, 2021 at 7:51 AM Jim Bronson <jimbronsonashland [at]>

> Dear Cohousing Communities,
> River Song is planning to break ground soon.  We are thinking about having
> one electric meter per building and one water meter for the whole community
> to save costs - which may be as much as $600/month compared to having
> meters for each unit.
> When we are up and running our HOA will allocate common costs monthly or
> quarterly.  We have heard from other cohousing communities that they have
> evolved a way of fairly allocating common costs using an algorithm based on
> # of adults and square footage for each unit.
> For our planning, I have attached a one page MS Word doc that shows an
> example of how we think this could look for the simple case of a 4 unit
> cohousing community.  I would appreciate hearing from communities
> experienced in using algorithm allocation for common costs about what they
> have learned.  Also, I would like to know how their algorithms may allow
> for individual variations, for example a private unit having their own
> solar pv, having a hot tub or an electric car charging station, etc.
> Thanks for sharing what you have learned.
> Jim Bronson (for the Design Team)
> River Song Cohousing Community
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