In the past, any green upgrades done on rental properties were considered to be more of a luxury rather than a necessity. As beneficial as they were in cutting costs and helping the property in question to stand out among the rest, they were just optional. However, things have changed with the arrival of Millennial and Gen Z renters who consider green features a must, so rental homeowners of today are making more effort than before to oblige them and make a positive impact on the environment.
Improving property insulation is the first important step towards having an eco-friendly rental home. With poor insulation, heat escapes quickly, and cold creeps in, but with the proper one, not only is it a more pleasant and comfortable living environment, but the energy bills are also lower, which is beneficial for both the tenants and the landlord. As of April 2020 in the UK, landlords are no longer able to rent out their properties with only a minimum EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of F- or G-. One way to start the improvement is by weather-stripping, which is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way of insulating the property and lowering the heating/cooling bill.
Efficient appliances and lighting
Next in line with important green features for rentals are energy-efficient appliances, which most tenants rank very high on their list of desired features. In addition to knowing they’re using environmentally-approved appliances every day, tenants are pleased with the average saving of around $400 a year on utility costs. For example, the state of Texas Public Utility Commission created the Power to Choose Texas electricity comparison site to help Texans compare light companies and encourage lower energy rates. In addition to efficient appliances, switching the traditional lighting in rentals for LED bulbs is another way to cut down on energy consumption and lower prices, with an average yearly saving of around $500. These light bulbs last three times longer than the traditional ones, so there will be no need for the tenants to replace them often.
For rental property owners who want to take it a step further and not only cut the electricity consumption but also use more sustainable energy, the best way to go is to install a home solar system. That`s particularly convenient in areas with more daylight hours, like Nevada or Southeast Asian country Malaysia.
In addition to choosing the most efficient and affordable solar panels, it’s also crucial to pay attention to the choice of the solar inverter. This is a boxed unit that connects the panels with the property’s switchboard and converts the direct-current electricity from the panels into the alternating current suitable for use in homes. The efficiency of the solar inverter is directly linked to the time the system starts returning the investment. For that reason, choosing an SMA inverter is one of the most important decisions to make – they will give you a 5 or 10 years’ warranty and are certified zero-carbon. They also have a flexible design, which means that you can switch to a more powerful unit later if you decide to add more panels.
One household aspect that is often forgotten when we speak of home eco-friendliness is water consumption. What landlords can do to reduce the water efficiency of their rentals is to invest in installing water-saving taps, showerheads, and toilets, and it’s up to the tenants to immediately report to their landlords if they see any drips or leaks so they can be quickly fixed.
The two most significant environmental issues our world is facing today are the overuse of plastic and excess packaging. The new, more environmentally-aware generations of tenants have recognized the need to reduce their use of plastics and move towards a more sustainable life. But what landlords can do to support their lifestyle is offer the possibility of easy recycling in the form of recycling collection containers and easy-to-follow guidelines for recycling various materials.
Investing in maximizing the green potential of rental properties allows landlords to increase the value of their property and decrease their tenants’ monthly expenses. By doing so, eco-conscious rental property owners will make a valuable contribution to global conservation efforts, and at the same time, they’ll have their green property favored by renters. If property owners recognize this opportunity, they’ll also contribute to raising awareness of the need for environmental protection.
Mariia serves as editor-in-chief and writer for the Rentberry and Landlord Tips blogs. She covers topics such as landlord-tenant laws, tips and advice for renters, investment opportunities in various cities, and more. She holds a master’s degree in strategic management, and you can find her articles in such publications as Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, Benzinga, and RealEstateAgent.