Being a property manager comes with many responsibilities. However, we often forget about how our multifamily properties impact the environment. With climate change and natural disasters on the rise, property owners and property managers need to invest in Green solutions.
Benefits of Going Green
Besides helping the environment – and preserving our planet for future generations – there are economic benefits to making your property eco-friendly. Lenders like Fannie Mae offer incentives for property owners who make environmentally-friendly upgrades. These incentives include lower interest rates for investors, free energy and water audit reports and solar assessments, and up to 5% more loan proceeds.
To be eligible for these financial incentives, property owners and managers must meet specific guidelines and make certain improvements. These include:
· Upgrading to Energy Star appliances
· Installing or upgrading to energy-efficient HVAC systems
· Using WaterSense low-flow fixtures
· Upgrading all lights to LED
· Using solar or wind energy solutions
Not only will these improvements help you save money on a loan, but they can also increase the property's net cash flow. Energy-efficient solutions save money for property management, the property owner, and the tenant.
How to Make Multifamily Properties More Eco-Friendly
1. Install Green Tech in Properties
Technological advances make Going Green easier than ever for multifamily property managers and tenants. Perhaps the best eco-friendly technology is property automation. This technology ranges from smart tech devices to artificial intelligence, all working together to reduce energy usage and minimize waste. Property managers might install automation and sensors to turn off lights when no one is in a room, for instance, or minimize energy usage for heating and cooling systems. Other technology moves all property management tools online, limiting paper usage, ink cartridge disposal, and the like. Property technology – "prop-tech" – has many solutions for property management.
2. Energy Star Appliances
There's a reason Fannie Mae offers incentives for property managers and owners to upgrade to Energy Star appliances. These appliances are designed to use less energy and less water. Not only is that good news for the environment, but it's also good news for your wallet. These appliances save as much as 33% on energy costs and up to 50% on water costs compared to older appliances. For property managers, upgrading to Energy Star appliances is more than an eco-friendly option. It's also an incentive to potential tenants, who will like the opportunity to save on their utility bills.
3. Focus on Water Conservation
Water conservation is paramount to an eco-friendly property. There are several ways multifamily property managers can minimize water usage, helping to preserve the environment and reduce water costs. First, install Energy Star appliances when possible (see above). Second, make sure all units have low-flow showerheads and other faucets. These will keep water usage down and prevent excess water waste. Finally, examine your groundskeeping and landscaping efforts. Is there a way to create low-water landscaping? Areas where grass can be removed and replaced with Xeriscaping instead? Can you cut back on watering schedules? Each of these changes might seem small, but they can add up to significant reductions in water waste.
4. Establish a Recycling Program
Currently, only about 21% of Americans recycle. To reduce your property's footprint, consider establishing a recycling program for your residents, and encourage them to participate. If your property doesn't offer an on-site recycling program, invest in a solution. And if your property does have recycling on-site, make it more convenient for your residents. Do tenants know where to recycle? Do they know what can be recycled? Communicate this message clearly and encourage your residents to do their part to develop a more sustainable living environment.
5. Eliminate Toxic Cleaning Products
Many industrial cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that damage the environment and irritate our lungs and skin. Protect both the environment and your tenants' health by using environmentally friendly cleaning products. While some maintenance crews believe bleach is the best solution, there are other natural cleaning products that will kill bacteria and viruses just as effectively. It's also essential for property owners and property managers to safely dispose of all cleaning products, limiting these substances' environmental impact.
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