The ABC’s to Green up any Investment Property

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Some of these you may know, others might be new info.

Add eco-friendly insulation (icelyne foam/denim) to exterior walls and attics.

Build a ‘green’ list of vendors/contractors (plumbers, painters, contractors).

Create a ‘green’ marketing strategy for your project.

Don’t use duct tape on ducts, use mastic.  Duct tape will increase the likelihood of heat loss/leaks.

Educate appraisers on the unique green features of your project to get higher appraisals.

Find the right eco-products suppliers (low price, quality products, good customer service).

Get an energy audit to find air leaks, or problems with insulation, plumbing, electrical issues (City/State rebates available in most US cities).

High effiency toilets (HET’s) aren’t glamorous but they will save you 30-60% water and almost all have significant rebates.

Install water conservation devices (low-flow shower-heads, sink aerators, etc).

Justify every green effort with the question, ‘Will this save or make me money?’ If yes, move forward, if no, cancel.

Know what green elements buyers/renters in your area want (and will pay more for) and provide accordingly.

Leverage all rebates and tax incentives available to your project.  Be ruthless and apply for everything even remotely possible.

Make sure all windows are properly sealed and installed correctly.

Negotiate a better price on all of your green building supplies/paint etc, by ordering from one provider.

Orientate all windows and doors to take advantage of natural day-lighting.

Paint with no-VOC paints only, especially in sleeping and children rooms.

Qualify each ‘green’ vendor/contractor by asking to see examples of their work.

Remove toxic carpets and replace with Sisal, seagrass or organic wool alternatives.

Sand down wood floors/cabinets and re-stain with eco-friendly, non-toxic alternative.

Track every rebate, incentive, credit you apply for and follow up every two weeks until you receive your checks.

Utilize your utility company to receive a free (or heavily discounted) energy audit.

Ventilate your property adequately.

Wrap your hot water pipes to minimize heat loss.

Xeriscape your property with native plants and water-conserving landscapes.

Yank out every non-cfl/LED bulb you have and replace with cfl’s or LED’s.

Zero in on least-cost/biggest benefit opportunities.  Since aerators cost less than 2 bucks, are easy to install and conserve 40-60% water.

Photo: kvanhorn

About Author

I help real estate investors increase profits and property values through a variety of green strategies. I help clients find hidden rebates, tax incentives and credits to maximize returns on any property.


  1. Great Article Jim.

    I live in a green home in Seattle, and our utility savings over our previous home is probably about 60%, that’s just on energy, not even considering the health aspects.

    The easiest, and cheapest thing to do is replace light bulbs with energy star light bulbs which use 75% less wattage and run 10x longer. Also put computers and other electronics on surge protectors which can be cut completely to reduce phantom energy. Makes a big difference.

    Hopefully, someday lenders will catch on and realize a green home is cheaper to maintain and should account for that in their underwriting of mortgages.

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