Five Low Cost Ways to Make Your Rentals Green

Property Management - Tips for eco-friendly housingGoing green was once just a good idea for being environmentally friendly. Now, it’s one of the hottest amenities. In fact, 60 percent of renters seek out environmentally-friendly homes and apartments (source). A green community is very attractive to the modern prospect and 17 percent of renters won’t even considering renting an apartment that isn’t green (source).

By going green, you could have an edge on other communities in your area that haven’t yet made the switch. Perhaps an even more impressive incentive is that 25 percent of prospects said they’d be willing to pay more for a green rental (source).

Earning the *green* moniker for your community is easier than you might think. Granted, choosing energy efficient appliances is a crucial step. But, if you’re not ready to make the investment in energy efficient appliances, consider these five low-cost ways to work towards earning the green title.

1. Install low, flat shower heads

The average single family home uses 69.3 gallons, with showers accounting for 16.8 percent of total indoor water use. Low, flat shower heads reduce water use by an average of 50 percent for a household. This can mean hundreds of dollars of savings a year and up to 450 pounds of carbon dioxide saved (source).

Your cost? Less than $10.00 per shower head.

2. Install programmable thermostats

Lowering your thermostat just two degrees in the winter will save 6 percent of heating-related CO2 emissions. This eliminates 420 pounds of CO2 per year for a typical single family home (source). A simple switch on the thermostat of just a degree or two can mean over a hundred dollars in savings for the renter each year.

Your cost? $40 and up.

3. Offer recycling bins

This may seem like a no-brainer, but offering recycling options for tenants is crucial to attracting environmentally-conscious prospects, so it needs to be mentioned. By offering bins in your community you can also inadvertently encourage other tenants to recycle.

Your cost? $10 and up.

4. Install permanent air filters

Most of us regularly replace our air filters. But did you know that keeping air filters clean reduces energy consumption by 5 percent (source)? If you want to make this a marketable community asset, buy permanent air filters that can be washed and reused instead of thrown away.

Your cost? About $20 each.

5. Install motion-sensor lights

Installing motion sensor lights can reduce energy consumption by as much as 50%, which equals a huge savings on the monthly energy bill (source). Motion sensor lights can also help promote a safer living environment for tenants by adding an additional security monitor in their apartment. Any possible intruders will trigger the lights. Dimming lights save on the energy bill and conserve bulb life.

Your cost? $10-$15 each.

What steps have you taken to “green up” your properties? What kind of cost savings have you realized? Share your ideas and results in the comments below.

Michael Cunningham

Managing Editor, Property Management Insider
Social Media Manager, RealPage

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Michael Cunningham is the Managing Editor of PropertyManagementInsider.com. He is also the social media manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multifamily rental property management business functions. He is responsible for promoting the company through various media channels, including editorial, print and online advertising, and social media. Michael received his education at Indiana University where he majored in English.

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