From LED bulbs to programmable thermostats, more energy-efficient alternatives are available to property owners everywhere. With an increasing number of tenants looking for environmentally friendly properties, it can be beneficial to rental property owners to look for ways to make their units more energy-efficient.
If you don’t know where to begin, a good place to start is by getting a comprehensive energy audit of your rental property.
An energy audit assesses how energy-efficient a property is. Energy audits are conducted by professional auditors, typically expert electricians, who will evaluate the property’s appliances and components.
By evaluating those parts of the property, the energy auditor can make suggestions on how the property can be more energy-efficient, such as replacing old appliances, getting new windows, replacing lightbulbs with LED, and so on.
Energy audits can take thirty minutes to four hours to complete, but this largely depends on the size of the rental property. Multi-family buildings like apartments and condominiums will take a much longer time.
If you’re wondering what a typical energy audit might involve, these are the steps that professional auditors usually take:
- Inspection from the exterior. The energy auditor will examine the building from the outside, inspecting windows, walls, fascia and soffit, etc. to spot structural issues that may be causing leaks into and out of the property.
- Inspection of the attic. If your rental property has an attic, the energy auditor will inspect the insulation to determine if it is properly installed. They will also check for sources of air leaks on the walls and alone electrical lines.
- Inspection of furnace and water heater. The most common reason for skyrocketing energy bills are furnaces and water heaters. The energy auditor will check the filter within the furnace to determine if it needs to be replaced. They will also check the connections along the air ducts to see if you’re losing heat due to holes and leaks.
- Inspection of lighting. Not many property owners realize this, but using the wrong light bulbs can increase one’s electricity costs. An energy audit can identify whether your rental property is still using incandescent light bulbs. In that case, you should consider replacing them with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Rental property energy audits can help property owners determine problems with their investment property that they otherwise wouldn’t even know existed. This allows landlords to prioritize property improvements, increase the rental price, and reduce their carbon footprint.
Boost the energy efficiency in your rental property. Energy audits are conducted by professional electricians who can determine areas for improvement. For instance, an energy audit can help property owners locate air leaks from gaps in the ceiling, walls, and flooring. An energy audit can also check for heat loss due to poor insulation which is common in older homes.
An energy audit also checks if your heating and cooling systems are functioning efficiently. Oftentimes, hot water systems and air conditioning units consume more energy than normal simply because they aren’t as efficient as the day they were installed.
A professional energy audit can save you and your tenants money for the long-term. An expert electrician will suggest measures that your tenants can take so that they can start saving money on their energy bills.
An energy audit can reduce as much as 30% of a property’s annual energy consumption. For landlords who pay for utilities in multi-family buildings such as apartments, that means thousands of dollars in savings.
Installing energy-efficient features such as appliances and fixtures to your rental property can increase its value. Adding green alternatives such as solar panels, insulation, and so on, can raise your rental property’s value by attracting prospective tenants who are conscious about their carbon footprint. If you plan on selling the property in the future, these additions can contribute to a significantly higher price tag.
If your tenant frequently complains that the unit is always too hot or too cold, the problem could the ventilation and insulation system. An energy audit determines whether you need to upgrade or maintain your heating and cooling systems to enhance indoor air quality. If your property requires more insulation, you can simply install additional wall insulation to make the rental property cozier for tenants.
An energy audit can determine your rental property’s biggest “energy drainers” and suggest necessary improvements. These include upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, changing showerheads, or installing a solar energy system. With the right information from your auditor, you can make your rental property more habitable and eco-friendly.
The cost of a standard home energy audit ranges from $100 to $1,650. In general, you will have to spend $0.08 to $0.50 for every square foot. If your energy auditor conducts a blower door test, this could cost up to $200.
The sooner, the better. If you find yourself wondering why your energy bills cost that much every month, it may be time to schedule an energy audit. The sooner you determine the main contributors to your property’s energy consumption, the sooner you can start saving money.
However, it’s a good idea to get an energy audit before the hot and cold seasons begin. For instance, if you use more energy during winter, you may want to determine potential problem areas before the cold weather begins. Your energy auditor may discover that your heating systems need an upgrade. In this way, you can avoid spending more money simply because of an inefficient appliance.
Although it is possible to conduct an energy audit by yourself, you risk overlooking serious concerns that only professional electricians can identify. This is why Luxury Property Care offers to handle energy auditing to all of our property owners. With connections to industry experts, we can offer the best services to make your rental investment as energy-efficient as possible.