If you think that it is difficult, expensive or time-consuming to make green improvements to rental apartments, think again. Many energy-efficient appliances and household products have come down in price, making many green investments more reasonable for property owners. During a renovation among tenants, adding green features is an easy way to modernize the apartment and re-orient it to match demands and expectations of top-quality renters. Plus, these green improvements will even pay you back.
1. Switch to Low-Flow Water Fixtures
Got an old running toilet? Then don’t be surprised when your water bill spikes from the constant demand.
Replacing old toilets, showerheads and plumbing fixtures with low-flow fixtures curbs water use and cuts your water bill. Depending on your location, you may be able to get a rebate just for replacing old water fixtures with green ones.
2. Switch to ENERGY STAR appliances
If you plan to replace a refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer or other appliance, why not select an ENERGY STAR appliance?
Your renters will value a brand-new appliance. You’ll enjoy curbing energy use and utility bills.
Better still, old appliances that work can be donated to local charities where they’ll enjoy second lives (and you’ll receive a tax deduction for your donation).
3. Install LED Lights in Common Areas
While LED light bulbs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they last longer than compact fluorescent bulbs and consume less electricity to run.
Switch to LED lights in all common areas to reduce your electric bill at rental properties and save on replacement lights.
4. Invest in Insulation and Crack Sealing
Cracks in your apartment complex allow air from inside to seep out. Tenants crank up the air conditioner in the summer and blast the heat longer in the winter as a result. By investing in insulation and sealing cracks, you’ll decrease energy loss via air leaks. You’ll also make the apartment less attractive to pests, reducing your expenditure on pest control.
Tenants will love having fewer pests in their apartments and being able to spend less on home heating and cooling.
If you’re adding insulation to a property, look for local, state or federal rebates that may defray some costs.
5. Xeriscape the Property
The curb appeal of a nicely landscaped rental property helps you easily attract prospective renters to an open house, yet it takes a lot of water to keep grass and landscaped plants happy during summer heat waves.
By xeriscaping, or landscaping with plants that tolerate drought, you can keep your property looking good while reducing your water consumption, a welcome initiative in drought-afflicted areas. The initial investment in landscaping is offset by immediate and ongoing water conservation. To curb landscaping costs even further, consider installing rain barrels on site, which collect water for garden uses.
6. Invest in Solar Panels
The cost of solar has come down greatly, and nowadays you can even rent panels with no or minimal expense. If your apartment gets decent sun exposure, solar panels make sense. You’ll start saving on your electric bill instantly with the solar power that’s created. When your panels generate more power than you can use, you can sell the extra power back to the grid for further savings.
Solar tax credits can offset your costs and make it easier to go solar. A solar installer should be able to provide you with a quote for going solar and educate you about initiatives that can lower your costs.
7. Install Occupancy Sensors on Lights in Common Areas
From a safety perspective, it makes sense to have lights always on in common areas. Yet think of all the electricity this wastes. In areas that are seldom used, install occupancy sensors that turn lights on when motion is detected. This way, renters can see clearly without having to turn on the light switch, but you aren’t wasting electricity when no one is there.
Now that you know how green rentals will benefit your tenants as well as your bottom line, begin making energy-efficient upgrades to your rentals as your time and budget allow. Every improvement you can make reduces your environmental impact and boosts your property value.