As an investor, you may be very interested in green but do not know how to start or how to audit potential properties from a green perspective. That said, here is a step-by-step approach to audit and green any investment property in the six major areas of any property.
This is exactly what to use on a area-by-area basis to take any investment property and green it up. This is an easy checklist to use for your contractors to use as well.
The Green Real Estate Checklist
Check: Sprinkler-heads (age and manufacturer), weather sensors, drip systems. Turn on all irrigation and notice over spray areas.
Action: Replace sprinkler-heads with water conserving sprinkler heads (Hunter MP Rotators are the best). Add weather sensors and timers. Check for rebates as in most areas of the S there are usually rebates on this equipment.
PAINT AND STAINS
Check: Interior, Exterior, Trims, Stains to see if they are no-VOC. The easiest way to check is look at the labels on extra paint cans/stains (usually in the garage).
Action: If they are not no-VOC then repaint/re-stain with no-VOC alternative. All of the major paint companies make a no-VOC alternative. I like Sherwin Williams ProMar 200 Zero VOC paint the best. For no-VOC stains check your local home goods store or GreenBuildingSupply.com
Check: Age and style of carpet. 95% you should replace any carpet you see. Same thing with linoleum-unless it was put in a year ago replace it.
Action: Replace carpet with eco-friendly alternative such as Mohawk SmartStrand carpet made from recycled plastic bottles. Feels great, off-gasses significantly less and costs about the same. Replace a typical carpet pad with a hypoallergenic soy carpet pad.
Check: Energy Star labels, age and manufacturer on the fridge, washer, dishwasher and dryer.
Action: If you can only replace a few appliances, do them in this order (to max out savings and market it accordingly): Fridge, Washer, Dishwasher. The others are important but not as important as these.
Check: All interior and exterior lights including garages, storage sheds and all automatic sensor lights. If you have fluorescent tube lights (usually in a kitchen) check the T level on the Tube. It will say “T12” or “T10”
Action: Replace all incandescents with CFL’s (obvious) and replace all T-12’s or T-10’s with T8 or T5 (same light output, 70% savings). For outdoor lighting, when possible use solar LED path lights. They are inexpensive, charge during the day and come on at dusk. We’ve used solar rock lights at our house for several years and love them.
Check: All facets, sinks and shower-heads for aerators. Check water heater for exposed pipes and a water heater blanket. Check toilets for flow rate and notate any above 1.6GPM.
Action: Add aerators to all sinks, shower-heads and faucets. Insulate exposed water heater pipes with foam tubing insulation. Add a water heater blanket if you do not have one. all of these items together shouldn’t cost more than $75. These offer a tremendous ROI since you can save a ton of water and market it easily.