While most property managers have to deal with the rising cost challenges, the pressure to lower greenhouse gas emissions continues to mount. Buildings, especially older structures, are the leading consumers of energy in terms of lighting, heating, and cooling, as well as producing tons of waste.
It is time to mirror customer concerns on environmental issues, minimize pollution, and cut costs by adopting sustainable property management strategies. Making your properties more environmentally friendly will not only improve efficiency but also make the space more appealing to new renters.
Below, we discuss the top ways to incorporate sustainability in property management to help you save money while being environmentally conscious.
Choose Energy Efficient HVAC Units and Appliances
Equip your rental units with Energy Star Certified heating systems, lighting fixtures, AC units, washers, dryers, and kitchen appliances. An Energy Star appliance can save you about 10% to 50% more than a non-Energy Star device.
You can use the Energy Star calculator to determine how much energy you can save by investing in a new fridge compared to the old one. In addition, consider installing energy-efficient lighting fixtures to save energy and reduce utility bills. Substitute overhead fixtures and incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient models and LED bulbs. LED light bulbs consume about 25%-85% less energy compared to traditional bulbs and last 3 to 25 times longer.
Establish an Effective Waste Management and Recycling System
Tenants generate tons of waste materials that, if not well-managed, can wreak havoc on the environment. Through recycling, you can lower carbon emissions and the demand for raw materials hence conserving natural resources. Set up recycling bins in several drop-off locations that are easily accessible by the tenants. Designate and describe the bins set for trash and those designated for recycling.
You can also instruct residents on how to use the bins, which items to recycle, and which day the bins are collected.
Besides, consider developing a system for composting leaves, food trash, and grass clippings. Most environmentally conscious tenants willingly contribute their food waste once they realize that you have set up a composting system.
Opt for Sustainable Maintenance and Suppliers
Working closely with a west Hollywood property management company can help you obtain property supplies and conduct maintenance with environmental sustainability and best practices in mind. The experts can help you review your list of suppliers to narrow it down to only those that contribute immensely to a sustainable future.
Through sustainable maintenance, you can minimize the impact of maintenance activities on the environment and boost efficiency. It is also a perfect way to conserve limited resources and prevent unnecessary equipment use that can lead to costly repairs.
You can rely on property management software to schedule and streamline maintenance tasks, track supplies, and automate some repetitive tasks.
Install a Programmable Thermostat
As a property manager, part of your job involves making renters feel comfortable while encouraging energy conservation. They should get enough air conditioning when it is hot and heating when cold. A programmable thermostat adheres to a series of programmed settings to adjust temperatures at different times of the day.
It allows you to control the room’s temperature to a certain degree, even when you are not at home. For instance, during the heating season, you can set the programmable thermostat to allow indoor temperatures to drop during the day when the building is unoccupied and reheat it in the evening before the occupants arrive. The same applies to the cooling season.
Through the use of programmable thermostats, you can minimize energy usage as well as lower heating and air conditioning bills.
Use Native Plants to Landscape
While professional landscaping is vital to enhancing the property’s curb appeal, using the right plants goes the extra mile in boosting the eco-friendly factor. Natural local plants also serve as food for the local wildlife.
Choose planting trees, flowers, bushes, and shrubs native to your region. Native plants may thrive with minimal water, pesticides, and other requirements, while those sourced from different locations may need more resources and water to adapt.
You can bring in an arborist or professional landscaper to inspect the areas surrounding your apartments to identify ideal plants. The secret to eco-friendly landscaping is choosing plants that can adapt and grow in your existing environment without the need for persistent pesticides and watering.
Insulate Your Properties
Insulation can make a whole difference to the sustainability of your property, especially if your region experiences extreme temperatures. A poorly insulated building can cause energy wastage through cracks and drafts. Conduct a site visit to assess the properties’ structural integrity and highlight insulating issues that call for fixing on a structural level.
Consider insulating your property from the roof to its foundation for optimal energy efficiency. Insulate the attic, all exterior walls, band joists, and floors above unconditioned spaces like unheated garages and crawl spaces. Also, remember to add insulation to the foundation walls in heated basements, lofts, and inside roofs.
Besides, don’t hesitate to invest in well-insulated windows and doors. It will save energy costs while substantially decreasing noise and light pollution.
Go for Renewable Energy
Renewable sources like solar panels and wind power have recently increased in popularity. Upgrading to solar panels is an excellent long-term investment that eventually pays off. Some states even provide tax credits and deductions to property owners who install solar panels.
For example, the federal government has a tax credit referred to as the Federal Solar Tax Credit. With that, you can receive deductions of costs of up to 10% from your federal taxes for installing solar panels on a commercial building.
You can use solar power for nearly anything, from your outdoor lighting and heating of the swimming pool to charging batteries and even cooking.
Apply Zero VOC Paint
While a fresh coat of paint revamps up your apartment, making it more appealing to prospective tenants, you should ensure that the paint doesn’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). These compounds can cause severe harm to the local environment as well as irritate the human body.
Avoid paints with hydrocarbons such as toluene, formaldehyde, and vinyl chloride, as they are all volatile organic compounds. They often feel the atmosphere with particulates that lowers indoor air quality, increase pollution, cause smog, and impact the ozone layer.
Make Water Conservation Upgrades
Every property owner and manager should aim to improve water efficiency. With toilet flushes accounting for nearly 30% of all household water usage, it’s time to replace outdated toilets in your complex with new ones. New EPA guidelines recommend installing toilets that utilize about 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less. Low-flush toilets will enable you to use 20% less water than other models.
Another water wastage culprit is the showerheads. You should fix all dripping showerheads and invest in low-flow showerheads. Also, install Energy Star-rated dishwashers to save on water consumption. Such dishwashers utilize nearly three gallons of water per load which is way less than handwashing one load of dishes that uses up to 27 gallons.
As you upgrade your bathrooms and kitchens, keep a close eye on the water filtration systems for the faucets. It is the perfect way to boost the quality of water running through your entire building, no matter the amount consumed by tenants.
Install New Windows
You can lower heating bills and prevent energy wastage by simply pulling those blinds back to allow sunshine to get inside. Install bigger windows in your rental units to enable more natural light to get inside and reduce the frequency of having to switch on the lights.
The good thing is that new windows come with sturdy seals around the casing, preventing air from seeping in and out. This can help you conserve energy, especially when using heating and air conditioning units.
If your pocket allows, go for double-glazed windows, as they can help you save up to 50% on heating. Due to their additional pane, double-glazed windows minimize drafts and heat loss via windows and frames.
But if buying new windows doesn’t work for you, weatherproof the existing ones. Caulk and seal around the window frames and casing to prevent air and heat from getting in and leaking out.
Why You Should Embrace Sustainable Property Management
Here are some top reasons to include sustainability in your property management practices:
- Helps Save Money – With enhanced energy efficiency, water efficiency, and reduced wastage levels, you get to save money in the day-to-day running of your property.
- Boosts Your Property Value – Sustainable buildings easily attract tenants, businesses, and individuals who are environmentally conscious about the place they live and work. You can lease or sell your property at a higher price attracting higher returns on investment.
- Enhanced Health – Sustainable buildings provide perfect living conditions for occupants and minimize health risks. The use of sustainable materials in property management helps purify indoor air and maintain its quality.
- Minimizes Waste – Through recycling, the use of renewable energy sources, and SMART technology, the amount of waste goes down by a significant margin.
- Cost Reduction – It costs much less to maintain a green building as compared to a conventional one. That’s because the consumption of resources like electricity and water is usually low.
- Environmental Protection – Everything from recycling materials to insulations and enhancing energy efficiency help conserve the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, littering, and other forms of pollution. This leads to better living.
- Reduced Water Usage – You get to save water through low-flow plumbing fixtures, water pressure reduction, and buying Energy Star-certified appliances, such as dishwashers, washing machines, and more.
The benefits of incorporating sustainability in your property management are so immense. Just ensure you adhere to all the tips above and work with a reputable property management company that will help you implement them. Start your journey today and transform all your properties into sustainable buildings.
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