'Going Green' in Property Management

There is an important shift happening in Property Management. The majority of tenants, especially millennials and those from Gen Y, are increasingly preferring and expecting to lease decidedly 'green' properties. We are emerging from an environmentally laissez-faire culture to a much more consumer savvy and sustainability aware generation.  This isn't merely about having access to a 'green way', nor having trees, bushes, and a weed-free, brilliantly green lawn planted around the rental unit. Property Management companies are being judged by how seriously they take the need to 'go green'. Today's prospective tenants are looking for landlords and property management companies that are not only keen to provide sustainable 'green' facilities, but are also making every effort to keep up-to-date about green technology.

In other words, if you, the landlord, have merely replaced the old incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, but you continue to 'kill a forest' by communicating only by paper rather than by utilizing technology, then many will view you as being 'green' ignorant. And, there is so much more.

What Does It Mean to 'Go Green' in Property Management?

It is not so much about being financially frugal, as it is about sustainability of natural resources. Yet, energy efficiency does save money.

It is not about becoming 'vegans', but it is about being careful to maintain a healthy environment. Yet, of course, what we chose to eat does lend itself to a healthier environment as well as a healthier life.

What Are Some Immediate and Long Range Suggestions For 'Going Green'?

  • Use Less Paper. The more you utilize the technology that is available today the fewer trees need to be destroyed. Rather than printing bulky handbooks, carrying around heavy client files, communicating by letter after letter, or printing beautiful marketing brochures and flyers - use a tablet, text or email your clients, market online, build a website, etc. Take advantage of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Learn how to use technology responsibly as well as profitably. Speaking of paper, pick up the habit of bringing your own reusable grocery bags when you shop. Maybe even provide a couple to each new tenant with your logo on them.
  • Use Less Energy. Install energy efficient appliances in your units/homes to save on water, gas, and electricity. And yes, remove incandescent light bulbs and replace them with newer LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. Provide adequate recycling bins well marked with what should and shouldn't go into each. Rather than installing outside security lights that are left on all night, use motion detectors that turn on only as necessary. Encourage your tenants to turn off lights and unplug chargers when not being used. Be quick to fix all leaks. Replace old-style toilets with low-flow modern ones. Provide each new tenant with a list of ways that they can save money by following a few simple suggestions. (1) if they adjust the thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter and dress appropriately for higher and lower temperatures they can save many dollars, (2) provide a list of local shops that offer locally produced food items, (3) encourage your tenants to use the dishwasher and washing machine only when there is a full load, (4) install faucet filters and then encourage tenants to use the filtered water rather than to purchase plastic water bottles. Shrink that 'carbon footprint' wherever possible.
  • Renovate Wisely. Check out Eco-friendly, post-consumer roofing materials before replacing old, worn-out shingles. Look for a low U-factor (under 1.0) when replacing windows. Make sure weather stripping around each external doors makes a complete seal. Check to see if attic insulation is sufficient, and if replacing, also check out the Eco-friendly options. Obtain a couple of estimates from solar companies to see how feasible it would be to have them installed. If you live in an HOA, be sure, of course, to check their remodeling/solar panel rules first.
  • Chemical Care. Look for alternatives to bee-killing pesticides. Use Eco-friendly and less toxic cleaning products in and around the property. Make sure that tenants know why, how, and where to properly dispose of old, used chemicals and caustic materials such as batteries, spent printer cartridges, paint, discarded smoke detectors, etc..
  • Educate. Be an expert in 'going green', but then also be a good teacher as well. Educate your tenants on how to keep themselves and the property they are renting as healthy as possible.

 

For more information: Carbon Footprint

Green Training

Credentials for Green PM

Green Property Management

NAR Field Guide to Green Properties

52 Cheap Ways to Go Green

Government Tips for Going Green