Among the string of additions in the new model bylaws for cooperative societies is Bylaw No 171, laying the guidelines to allow temporary use of the terrace or available open space of the society’s building by any member for any function, generation of solar power, placement of tanks, pipelines, batteries and cabling works within societies.
Providing the much needed legitimate diversion from Bylaw No 170 that prohibited members from using common areas; under the new amended bylaws, the managing committee may allow the temporary use of the terrace or available open space of the society’s building by any member on his written application for any function, subject to such restrictions and on payment of such charges to the society as the meeting of the general body of the society may decide.
The committee may, with the previous permission of the local authority if needed, allow the exhibition of advertisement boards on any part of the building including the terrace, on such terms and conditions as are approved by the general body meeting. If any members want to install a solar energy water heating system or solar energy electrical system, then space shall be made available to such members on the terrace as per the availability.
The said systems include a solar collector stand, hot water tank, cold water tank, stand for the tank, hot water pipeline, panels, battery, inverter charging controller, cabling , etc., for solar energy/electricity. If any letter requesting provision of space is received, then it shall be binding on the society to give space thereof, as per the availability of the space in the society premises. For cooperative housing societies, it is imperative, now more than ever, to go green.
Besides cutting energy bills, a study revealed that ‘green buildings’ recover more than half the money in three to five years. An eco-friendly home need not just be a concept on paper deterred by price realities. Recent research by The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) on financial feasibility of such houses, revealed that though construction costs are 17 to 30 per cent higher than conventional buildings, they recover the money in three to five years, besides saving more than 52 per cent in power bills.
Of late, many societies all over the city have been investing in various forms of solar energy to cut their maintenance costs, in addition to doing their bit towards keeping their environment green. One of the most attractive features of solar energy is that after a one-time payment, the cost of these appliances turn out to be virtually nil, with no recurring monthly maintenance bills. Out of the many solar energy appliances being used, solar outdoor lighting is one of the most popular products doing the rounds in the city. Most societies across the central suburbs of Mumbai – from Mulund to Navi Mumbai and Thane, have large society premises. These premises need plenty of outdoor lighting arrangements and quite a few societies from these areas, have opted for solar outdoor lighting products to keep their maintenance costs low.
Many people are skeptical about solar power technology but this is basically due to lack of information. The basic principle behind outdoor lighting is very simple. Solar energy can be harnessed by using a solar panel. Every day, even during the monsoons, this solar panel charges the long-life batteries of an outdoor lighting product like a tubelight. The energy is stored in it until needed. Solar outdoor lighting appliances have sophisticated regulators which stop the conversion of solar energy to electricity when the batteries are charged and then resume charging when needed. This helps in retaining the batteries’ life longer.
In recent years, there have been enormous breakthroughs in the solar energy technology , which have enabled automation . Most solar panels now have microprocessor control systems that can be programmed to turn the lights of the society premises on at dusk and switch them off in the mornings. Solar outdoor lighting products can be affixed in even the most remote part of a society’s premises, provided they get adequate light from the sun during the day. Societies investing in these products do not have to worry about wiring, electrical cords or exposed cables because these products are completely safe and run on energy from the sun. This makes it safe for housing societies that have children as residents.
Another factor that goes a long way in the popularity of solar outdoor lighting is that because these appliances don’t depend on the traditional sources of energy, blackouts and power shortages do not affect it. This factor has a dual significance for societies: because these lights run even during electricity cut-offs , members of the society can move within the society premises without any fear of falls. Additionally, this type of lighting arrangement helps in the security of a society because the security personnel can easily spot intruders who may otherwise want to take advantage of blackouts in the area.
Some members of a society hesitate to opt for solar powered products such as outdoor lighting because of the initial cost that may seem a little exorbitant . Prospective buyers need to understand that this is just a one-time cost. It may well be the time for cooperative housing society members to use the new amended bylaw to their benefit and save that extra buck!