A greener community benefits both the environment and your wallet. Many landlords fear that going green will require greater investments of time and money than they can afford. However, in the long run, you’ll find that any investment you make to create a more eco-friendly rental property is well worth it. Plus, these types of improvements will likely pay for themselves over time. Check out these three primary ways to go green in your rental community:
1. Set up an On-Site Rental Community Recycling Program
In order to create a successful on-site recycling program for your rental community, you must make it easy for both tenants and managers to recycle. There are several ways to accomplish this, including:
- Display clear, fixed signage on collection containers and in recycling areas.
- Provide written information to new and existing tenants about the recycling program and its implementation.
- Periodically remind your tenants to recycle, particularly during the holiday season and anytime you make changes or improvements to the program.
- Make it convenient for tenants to recycle by placing a recycling container next to every dumpster or community trash receptacle.
- Monitor the program’s successes and problems so you know what works and what needs improving.
An on-site recycling program not only helps the environment by keeping recyclables out of landfills, but it can also save you money on your rental community’s trash collection costs.
2. Install Fixtures and Appliances to Reduce Water Consumption
Installing water-saving fixtures and appliances in your rental community can dramatically reduce the water consumption of tenants. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, high-efficiency faucets and shower heads can achieve water savings of up to 60 percent, without sacrificing performance. Many high-efficiency washing machines and dishwashers use only half as much water as older models, too.
Toilets are the main source of water consumption in most homes, including rental properties. If all older toilets manufactured before 1992 were replaced with high-efficiency toilets, nearly two billion gallons of water per day could be saved across the United States. Besides being greener, you will also save money on water and sewer bills.
3. Make Energy-Efficient Upgrades to Your Rental Community
A 2012 report released by CNT Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) states that energy-efficient upgrades made to multi-family rental communities with five or more units can result in energy cost savings of up to 30 percent. Upgrades and improvements that can be implemented to achieve this kind of savings include:
- Install programmable thermostats in rental units.
- Caulk or seal up window cracks and air leaks in units.
- Insulate outlets and switches.
- Install energy-saving light fixtures that utilize LED technology.
- Install motion-sensor lights in outdoor common areas of your rental community.
- Regularly clean or replace HVAC air filters.
- Replace old doors and windows with energy-efficient models.
- Use Energy Star washers and dryers in your community’s laundry room.
Some landlords never take the first steps to create a greener rental community because they fear they must shoulder the expense of replacing everything at once. Each small improvement you make to your rental property will add up over time. For example, if it is too cost-prohibitive to replace all your units’ windows this year, consider sealing them, instead. Going green doesn’t require you to take an “all-or-nothing” approach. Slowly replacing just a few older toilets or light fixtures at a time does save money on utility costs, as well as help protect the planet.