“Going green” is not just a fad these days. It’s a real and conscious effort by a large group of people that hope to better the environment we live in by conserving the Earth’s precious resources.
More so, the idea that only homeowners can go green is fading as tenants of rental properties, landlords, and even property management groups have joined the cause in saving our planet by utilizing green initiatives.
The energy we use on a daily basis produces waste and pollution and has become very costly. By taking part in the effort to conserve, even if only in small ways, you will help improve the state of the environment, save money in the long run, and appeal to quality, eco-conscious tenants looking to live greener as well.
Using your green home as a selling point while advertising will make your property much more attractive while also providing your tenant a way to lower not only their costs but yours as well, reduce waste, and save energy.
Let’s take a look at energy conservation in Howard County and some ways in which you can begin to turn your home into a greener rental property.
Home Energy Facts
Most people underestimate their individual impact on the environment.
From personal lifestyles choices such as which cleaning products to use and what types of appliances to purchase, to water consumption, vehicle use, and trash accumulation, it is hard to ignore the fact that we are creating more environmental issues than we are solving.
Here are some useful facts to be aware of that may encourage you to make you rental property a little bit greener.
- In the US alone, air conditioning use costs $11 billion dollars a year. If every American household were to upgrade to energy efficient air conditioners, about $4 billion dollars would be saved in energy costs and the amount of pollution would decrease from 100 million tons of CO2 produced to approximately 40 million tons annually.
- Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use 75% less electricity than traditional light bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. (Savings – $65 over the life of the bulb)
- Top-loading washing machines using cold water get clothes just as clean when used with detergents meant for cold water. (Savings – $63 a year)
- A plasma TV, when left plugged in, will cost approximately $160 a year in energy costs. A laptop costs $16 a year. A game console costs $26 a year.
- Low- flow shower heads allow less water to flow and use less hot water than baths. (Savings – 25%-60% water per use)
- Windows account for approximately 10%-25% of you household energy bill. Treating them appropriately can equal a major savings.
- Thermostats (especially programmable ones) can save you as much as 10% on your energy bill when dialed back 10%-15% for only 8 hours a day.
- The average household spends 11% of its energy budget on lighting.
As you can see, everyone makes an environmental imprint on the Earth.
By taking into account the above-mentioned facts, and deciding to make a change in your rental property, you will be able to do your part to conserve, provide ways in which your tenants can take part, and save money for both you and you tenant in the long run.
Energy-Saving Tips for Rental Properties
There are a lot of ways in which you can make your rental home more eco-friendly. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest and most helpful ways to make your rental property a greener home.
- Repaint your home using low- or no-VOC paints.
Since general maintenance of your rental property is required anyways, and fresh paint is a popular way of keeping your property looking nice, why not cut down on the organic pollutants VOC containing paints emit into your rental home.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
Producing the same amount of light as traditional light bulbs, CFLs emit ¼ the amount of energy. You can replace all light bulbs in your rental property with CFLs and encourage your tenants to do the same.
- Use low-flow water fixtures and toilets.
Your tenants will not notice the difference in water flow using these fixtures and you can feel good about saving money (especially if you pay your tenant’s water bill) and it will help to conserve natural resources.
- Install programmable thermostats.
This is a great way to control energy expenditure and create a savings on your tenant’s energy bill.
- Use ENERGY STAR appliances in your rental property.
Appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners, washing machines, and dryers that are ENERGY STAR-rated use significantly less water and energy.
- Insulate your water heaters.
Investing in an inexpensive insulation blanket can give a 9% savings on energy use. This would be especially useful in the colder months where water takes longer to heat.
- Consider producing energy via a solar panel, wind turbine, or geothermal unit.
Solar panels are by far the most popular choice right now.
You may even qualify for renewable tax credits if you choose to install them on you rental property.
Howard County offers an “all together” recyclable bin to place recyclable paper, plastic, metal cans, cardboard, and glass.
Your tenants can easily participate in recycling and help cut down on waste accumulation.
- Change up your landscaping
Living in places such as Columbia, Elkridge, and Laurel doesn’t have to stop you from having great curb appeal. Look for ways to be more water efficient and use plants native to Howard County and its surrounding areas. These plants will require little to no extra watering or fertilizing and will still look great!
- Provide rain barrels for your tenants to use.
Much like providing recyclable bins, by making rain barrels available your tenants may be more apt to participate in water conservation.
Howard County receives 7 inches more rain than the 37 inches the United States averages annually.
Encourage your tenants to take advantage of that rainfall and put that extra water to good use in the garden.
Resources for Energy-Efficient Homes
Here are some additional resources you may find helpful when transitioning your rental property to become greener:
- The Maryland Energy Administration – This administration manages grants, loans, rebates, and tax incentives in its effort reduce energy consumption. The MEA can effectively help residents such as you upgrade your rental property to become more energy efficient and eco-friendly. Check out the local incentives and see if any apply to you.
- Take a look at The US Department of Energy’s Energy Star Program, specifically dishwashers that require less energy and water to run.
- Here are specific Howard County Green areas and resources so you can extend your green living beyond your rental property.
Lessening your ecological footprint on the earth is important if you would like to continue to live in a sustainable way.
The truth is, pollution, waste, and energy consumption is at an all-time high and everyone must strive to prevent it from getting worse.
Making your rental property a little greener does not have to take a lot of additional investment or time on your part.
With a little bit of thought into how you will make your property green (i.e. landscaping, energy efficient appliances, recycling programs) and applying the above-mentioned tips are great ways to do your part on behalf of the environment, encourage you tenants to do their part, and save money.