Making your rental property more eco-friendly can do more than just soothe your tenant’s worries about life in our resource-guzzling modern age. Living in a home that uses less water, gas and electricity will save you and your tenants money and invite more applications from environmentally conscience tenants. Installing energy efficient appliances and heating and cooling systems can cut thousands off utilities and reduce wear and tear on your equipment, increasing its longevity. A recent survey by Apartments.com showed that 60% of prospective tenants search specifically for environmentally friendly properties, and 25% are willing to pay more for them.
If you are considering how to make your property more environmentally friendly, here are some suggestions.
- Weather Stripping: Install weather stripping around doors and windows to improve heat retention. Application of plastic glazing can reduce glare and solar heat. Blinds and curtains help reduce sunlight as well. Installing sunshades outside windows can reduce direct sunlight.
- Low Flush and Low Flow Devices: Installing low flow flushing mechanisms is cheap and easy. Toilets do not need to be replaced and a few minutes installing a new flush mechanism for a few dollars from the local hardware store can save hundreds in utilities annually. Replacing shower heads with low flow versions can also contribute to lower costs and a greener profile.
- Resource-Frugal Landscapes: If your property has a lawn, you or your tenants will save money on water if you seed it with a hardy perennial grass that requires less chemicals, less water, and less attention from you or your tenants.
- Filters: Institute a policy to examine, clean and replace filters for dryers, furnaces, heaters and air conditioners. The accumulation of lint or debris on filters can increase strain on equipment and increase utility bills. If you are not sure your tenants will be mindful of such details, then you may wish to handle those duties yourself, but tell your tenants that you will be doing regular maintenance on the apartment or home at the outset.
- Solar Panels: Solar panels can be a worthwhile investment depending on the climate in your area. Not only are they are reliable source of electricity, but you may be able to recoup investment costs from tax credits.
- Motion Sensors: Install a motion detector for all outdoor lighting. This will lower the cost of electricity and provide an added measure of security for your tenants. You should use compact fluorescent bulbs and ask your tenants to replace burned-out bulbs with similar ones.
- Efficient Heating: Heating and cooling are the biggest energy expenditures in the home, so replacing outdated HVAC systems with higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio) models will reduce costs. The same principle can be applied to kitchen appliances, washing machines and dryers.
- Thermostats: An automated thermostat is a very small investment that can significantly reduce utility costs. Instruct your tenants on their use and explain how lowering the setting in winter or raising it in summer can save them 3-6% annually for every degree sacrificed. Many modern thermostats can change settings automatically, so energy expenditures are limited during low occupancy times of the day.