You may be asking yourself why you should go through all of the trouble (and expenses) of transforming your investment property into an energy-efficient rental home. Why spend your time looking for ways to save on electricity, heat, and water, when your tenants will be covering the costs of utilities, right?
While you may not be directly benefited from saving energy at your Florida rental property, as a property owner, you should always adapt to changes in the real estate market. More and more tenants, especially those who can afford high-end units, are becoming “picky” about the homes that they rent.
Committing to saving energy can make your tenant feel that you’re genuinely concerned about combating the effects of climate change. Here are a few reasons why you should start thinking about energy efficiency now:
Why You Should Start Thinking About Energy Efficiency
#1 It increases the value of your property.
Switching to eco-friendly solutions that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions isn’t merely a passing trend. A growing number of consumers are rapidly becoming aware of the products and services that they avail — and that includes the kind of properties that they rent. In the future, energy-efficient homes will become more valuable than ordinary residences that require “green” upgrades.
#2 It makes your tenants happier.
As the landlord, your tenant’s utility bills are probably the least of your concerns. If you aren’t paying for their bills, then why should you be worried, right? While it may not be your problem, your tenants will be grateful if you provide them with an energy-efficient home. By helping them cut their costs, you are providing them with a residence that is affordable in the long term. As a result, you’ll enjoy reduced vacancies and turnover… it’s a win-win!
#3 It protects your property from damage.
Turning your Florida rental property into an energy-efficient home does not just lower the utility bills. An energy-efficient home helps prevent the build-up of condensation, protecting your investment property from mold growth. Opting for energy-efficient appliances can preserve your home, especially when the home is left empty during the holidays.
#4 It prevents tenants from wasting water.
The bathroom is one of the smallest rooms in the house, but it accounts for 24% of the average American’s daily water usage. The 2016 Residential End Uses of Water Study found that the average person flushes five times a day. Given that toilets use approximately 1.6 gallons of water per flush, that’s a lot of water that is wasted. By going for low-flush toilets, you can prevent your tenant from unknowingly wasting gallons of water every day.
#5 It invites a wider pool of applicants.
Owning an energy-efficient rental property puts you at an advantage. Tenants are more likely to show interest in a home that will allow them to save as much money as possible. Making minor changes such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED lights, installing programmable thermostats, and so on, can result in huge savings — something that every prospective tenant is looking for.
Energy Saving Tips for Tenants and Landlords
Responsible landlords and property managers should continuously look for ways to save energy. Below are effective practices that you may want to apply to your rental property:
#1 Switch to LED Light Bulbs
Lighting accounts for nearly 10% of the average American household’s energy costs. To save as much as 75% on your electricity bills, consider replacing incandescent light bulbs with LED (light-emitting diode) lighting. These energy-efficient light bulbs are more durable than incandescent bulbs and often come in a variety of colors and sizes. Not only will you be helping your tenants save energy, but you’ll also be able to adjust the home’s “mood” through lighting.
#2 Switch to Energy Star Appliances
When purchasing appliances for your rental property, look for the Energy Star rating. This solution may not be the cheapest, but it’s definitely one that will pay off for years to come. Appliances that have the Energy Star rating are 50% more efficient than ordinary appliances. If it isn’t feasible to provide your tenants with all Energy Star appliances, swapping out one or two can already result in huge savings.
#3 Replace Old Water Heaters and Maintain HVACs
Heating and cooling account for a large part of your tenant’s utility bill. If your rental property’s current water heater hasn’t been replaced in ten to thirteen years, you may consider switching to an energy-efficient model. Similarly, you should stay on top of regular HVAC maintenance to ensure that the unit continues to effectively regulate the temperature.
#4 Install Programmable Thermostats
A programmable thermostat is extremely useful, especially for tenants who aren’t at home for most of the day. It can be programmed to adjust the temperature at certain times during the day. For instance, it can lower the temperature when no one is home, and keep it at a comfortable level when your tenants are there. Installing a programmable thermostat can help your tenants save as much as 10% annually.
#5 Schedule an Energy Audit
An energy audit can reveal if your rental property is wasting electricity, water, or gas. It is usually conducted by professional auditors, but you can ask your utility company to conduct an energy audit of your rental home. Through an energy audit, you can receive detailed explanations about your energy usage, as well as custom tips that will help you and your tenants cut costs.
The tips above can turn your rental property into an energy-efficient home. As you can see, it doesn’t take much effort to conserve energy. Keep in mind that the tips mentioned above are the things that you can do — but you shouldn’t stop there. As a landlord, it should be your responsibility to share energy-saving tips with your tenants. Chances are, they’ll embrace your advice because it means that they will get to save money.
For more information on how you can save energy in your rental property, get in touch with the property managers at Luxury Property Care. We provide expert guidance in turning your investment property into an energy-saving home.