When investing your money into rental properties, people often ignore a vital improve to making their rental property look more attractive to tenants: making green improvements. Not only can green improvements save you money if you’re paying for heat or other utilities, but it becomes an attractive reason for potential tenants to rent your property instead of someone else’s. You will more likely attract and keep tenants, and chances are you may be able to charge more because of the attractiveness of going green.
How Much is this Going to Cost?
Going green will cost some money upfront, but not as much as you might think. You can still go green on your property without a large upfront expenditure. Yes, you can spend quite a bit if you want, but the basic changes will help save both you and your tenants money in the long haul. Let’s look at the changes you need to make the property more green.
Install CFL Lightbulbs
This is one of the simplest changes you can do in a property that will help save electricity. Not to mention make your property look very green. Changing out the older incandescent bulbs for energy efficient CFLs will take a bite out of the electricity bill. In some areas, power companies actually offer coupons and discounts to replace old lightbulbs with CFLs.
Change Shower Heads
Changing the shower heads to low flow varieties can save on water and water bills. This is important especially if you pay for the water to your tenants. Even if you don’t, you’ll reduce the amount of water use and that will reflect on your tenants’ water bills.
You can change out the old thermostats for programmable thermostats and set them to optimal temperatures as recommended by Energy.gov. Setting the thermostat for no higher than 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer while your tenants are home will ensure comfort while still saving energy. In the wintertime, you can effectively lower the temperature 10 to 15 degrees while your tenants sleep and while they’re at work. In the summertime, program the thermometer 10 to 15 degrees warmer while they work. That way, they can still feel comfortable while saving energy.
Caulk and Seal
Air leaks are a serious way to lose heat or cooling. Caulk and seal leaky areas around window frames, door frames, and any place where you feel cold air coming in. If you feel around the light switches and outlets, you may feel cold or hot air. Use gaskets designed for these items and seal off potential energy drains.
Basic Heating Maintenance
Replace or clean furnace filters regularly. Once a month is optimal. Make certain that the ducts and air registers are unobstructed and clean. If your properties use radiator heat, be sure to bleed the trapped air in the radiators at least once each winter. (If you don’t know how, have a professional do it.) Add a reflector that is heat resistant between the walls and the radiator to provide more heat. Be sure to have the furnace or boiler serviced annually.
An easy way to reduce energy usage is to install fans for use in both summer and winter. Your tenants are likely to use them.
Hot Water Heater
Insulate the hot water heater and the pipes. That way, there will be less heat loss and more energy savings. Set the hot water heater to the lowest comfortable setting to heat up water. If it is time for a replacement, invest in an Energy Star® rated hot water heater.
Set up color-coded recycle bins and offer a recycling service to your tenants with posters explaining what goes in what bin. Have a recycling service pick up the recyclables once a month or more, depending on the service.
When the appliances need replacing, replace them with more energy efficient Energy Star® appliances. While they may be more expensive at first, they will help save energy in the long run.
For more ideas on energy saving tips, visit our website at the American Apartment Owners Association.