If you’re renting out a home or an apartment, you can never go wrong with making your place a little more – or a lot – eco-friendly.
After all, climate change and being environmentally responsible is becoming increasingly important to large segments of the public. If your rental is energy-efficient and a place where people can feel good about living, you’re going to attract more tenants. As a property manager, if you can tell your renters that they’ll pay less on their utilities, that’s an even bigger draw. Of course, if you’re paying for some of the utilities, such as the water, making your property more energy-efficient will help you save money as well.
Now, not all of these ideas are going to be feasible for everyone, but we did promise 11, so here we go – 11 ways you to make your rentals more eco-friendly.
Yes, you can spend a fortune on solar panels, and this won’t work for everyone reading this. The average solar panel system cost in the United States is around $12,810 after tax credits, according to some reports. But if you have a lot of tenants, it may be worth thinking about. They generally last 25 to 30 years, and some tenants will happily pay more rent if they have minimal to no electric bill.
Charging Ports for Electric Cars
The average cost for a charging station is between $436 and $989, according to Home Advisor. Probably not too practical for a lot of landlords, but it depends on what part of the country you live in. Maybe a lot of people in your area have electric cars, and it is practical.
Offer Space for Bicyclists to Store Bikes
What’s more eco-friendly than ditching the car and riding your bike to work or to the park? If property managers create a place for tenants to put their bikes, rather than in their living room, you may have made a friend for life.
Use LED Bulbs
In hallways and outside your rental property, you should definitely be using LEDs. According to the Department of Energy, residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, use at least 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. And they last 25 times longer.
You also might want to gently encourage your tenants to use them. Even if it doesn’t affect your electric bill, your tenants will know you care about the environment, and that’s a good thing.
Plant Trees and Bushes
It’s good for the planet and makes your rental property look nicer. And if your property is well shaded, it can also help save on energy bills. In fact, Shading an air-conditioner can make it more efficient by as much as 10 percent. While you’re at it, consider making some space for a garden. Isn’t that one reason people yearn to become a homeowner — so they can have some land to grow flowers or tomatoes? Well, let tenants do it on your property. It’ll be pretty to look at, and it gives people a sense of community. You could also start a compost heap while you’re at it.
Insulate Your Property
Admittedly, this isn’t an improvement that your tenants will likely notice, in the way that they will trees. But according to Energy.gov, a properly insulated home can save up to 10 percent on energy bills. If your tenants are taking on most or all of the utility costs, maybe it won’t make much sense. On the other hand, if you have a structure that’s drafty and leading to high energy bills, tenants will notice and may not stick around as long.
Look at Your Washer and Dryer
If you’re managing a rental property that has a laundry room, you could either look into setting the washing machines to a cold setting only — or at least put signs in the room, asking for people to wash clothes on cold. One, it costs more to have hot water to wash clothes, and two — as you can mention on your sign — if you want stains to disappear, cold water is usually better for that. Don’t take it from us, check out this Consumer Reports video. Washing clothes in hot water is a money and energy waster.
Get Better Power Strips
If you’re plugging in that washer and dryer, or anything else into outlets, look into energy-efficient power strips. There are some that will flip off the current when you’re done and not using the appliance, such as a washer or dryer. Known as vampire appliances, you can have gadgets and appliances plugged into the wall that are wasting electricity — even when they aren’t being used.
Use Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products
It may be a little thing that people do or don’t notice, but if you’re the one cleaning your rental property, you’ll be grateful that you aren’t breathing in harsh, toxic chemicals. If you’re hiring a cleaning service and hire one that specializes in green cleaning, mention that to your tenants, and presumably they’ll be grateful. Some people won’t care, but the ones who do are going to stay tenants longer.
Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Be careful here. If the water drips out unsatisfactorily and sporadically, your tenants will give you a lot of grief. But if you offer showerheads that are high-pressure but spray out less water overall, people will still enjoy their shower, and you’ll save less on your water bill. And, again, let your tenants know what you’re doing. Most of them will appreciate it.
Offer Energy-Efficient Appliances
Back to tenants staying longer, if you give them new or newish refrigerators and dishwashers that aren’t energy hogs, they’ll appreciate that. High electric bills are only going to remind them that, gee, maybe it’s time to no longer be a renter or look for someplace that is eco-friendly.
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