Striving for Eco-Friendly Housing — 3 Simple and Sustainable Considerations for Landlords

When asked if they would prefer to buy or rent a home that had a sustainability stamp of approval, more than half (54%) said they would, and 43% said they would always prefer to buy or rent such a home, according to one survey. For landlords looking to make a positive difference by promoting eco-friendliness throughout their properties, there are a variety of worthy actions worth taking. From eco-friendly swaps to the value in promoting an environmentally positive culture among tenants, here are just a few simple solutions worth considering.

Eco-friendly swaps worth your time

For landlords looking to make an eco-friendly change while updating a property, choosing to install energy efficient appliances is a great move, and there are plenty worth considering, from dishwashers to clothes dryers and refrigerators. When shopping for appliances, Energy Star labels serve as the “government-backed symbol for energy efficiency,” according to the EPA. Energy Star appliances work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, as well as reduce reliance on fossil fuel resources — not to mention they’re more convenient, too. According to the Home Advisor post, purchasing an Energy Star washer and dryer will allow for more clothes to be washed in a single load, as well as dry them faster. “In other words, you’ll do less loads of laundry, and in less time, if you shop with Energy Star labels in mind.”

Regarding the efficiency of such appliances, savings will vary from home to home, Home Advisor points out that the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) estimates that energy efficiency standards have already saved American homeowners around $200 billion to date (or about $2,000 per household). Even if a property isn’t in need of a new washing machine or dishwasher, making a switch when it comes to the lighting can make a major difference. For example, the EPA notes that energy efficient light bulbs certified by Energy Star use up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs to do the same job.

Environmentally friendly appliances can also be found in regard to smart tech — smart thermostats being just one option. A Rolling Stone post highlights Google’s Nest Thermostat, a smart thermostat that can learn your habits by “recognizing when you typically turn the temperature up or down, and heats or cools your home in the most efficient way possible.” According to Google, the Nest Thermostat reduces the average owner’s energy bill by about 15%. However, for landlords looking to make an even bigger investment into sustainability, installing solar panels presents another option with benefits that include low maintenance and the ability to save money in the long run.

Combining sustainability and accessibility

Landlords are required under the law to make reasonable adjustments to a property for tenants who experience a disability. While reasonable adjustments are generally defined as changes (in rules, policies, or services) that allow someone with a disability the equal opportunity to use their home and community spaces, landlords looking to make the appropriate changes can factor sustainability into the equation, too. In many cases, efforts to create accessible living spaces can also be eco-friendly, and vice versa. For example, installing a low-flow shower head can be a great way to implement water efficiency, while a low-flow showerhead that is removable and has a long hose can bring an element of accessibility for those who experience mobility issues. Motion-sensor lights are another eco-friendly and accessible idea that can work to save electricity in certain areas of the property (such as the closet), while environmentally friendly hard flooring (like bamboo) can further benefit wheelchair users.

Fostering an eco-friendly culture

For landlords looking to make a positive change in an eco-friendly way, promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle among your tenants is an excellent idea, with several ways to go about the matter. EcoWatch offers a variety of worthy ideas, from establishing a community garden space to encouraging a smoke free community. A community garden, for instance, is not only a great way for tenants to connect, but can promote an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, thus allowing the garden to serve in more ways than one, notes EcoWatch. Regarding a smoke free environment, EcoWatch highlights that in an apartment complex, between 35% and 65% of the air in each unit is actually shared from other units and shared spaces. As such, it’s explained that a smoke free environment will promote healthier air quality and health among tenants. However, cultivating an eco-friendly lifestyle among tenants can be achieved in other, simple ways as well. For instance, promoting recycling/composting by giving access to the appropriate bins and keeping tenants updated regarding eco-friendly happenings (such as nearby farmers markets, needed donations, etc.) via community social groups or in common areas can all work to make a difference.

Striving to become an eco-friendly landlord can be an overwhelming idea, especially when you’re new to the game. However, by implementing environmentally friendly aspects into your properties early on, you’ll be able to successfully achieve your goals surrounding sustainability — all the while making a positive change.

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