Posted 19 days ago

9 Ways to be an Eco-Friendly Landlord

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If you’re one of the millions of people who have been increasingly concerned about the ecological damage that some human activity may be having on the earth, there are ways you can directly help. As a property owner, you have a unique chance to make a smaller carbon footprint and contribute to the healing of the environment. There are nine suggestions here. Even if you just do one of them, that’s better than doing nothing at all.

1. Provide Community Garden Space

If you’re the landlord of a duplex, triplex, four-plex or apartment building, consider dedicating a patch of lawn on the property for use as a community garden; the “community” being your tenants. Whether or not they use it is up to the tenants, of course, but it’s a nice idea to offer it. You could take it a step further by providing some basic manual gardening tools inside a modest garden shed; some hand diggers, a shovel, a hoe, a watering can, a garden hose with sprinkler handle, etc. This might sound like an offer that’s too generous. But keep in mind that this small effort will pay off for many years going forward. First of all, it’s an eco-friendly gesture, which is a big pay-off to begin with. Second, of all, any future prospective tenants will be very impressed and likely see this as an unusual benefit they won’t get with other rentals. It could help you sign quality tenants. Best of all, your monetary investment in a community garden space will be minimal.

2. Install Low-Flow Toilets

Low-flow toilets may cost a little bit more than standard toilets, but the small increase in price is quickly made back. First, you make back your investment by enabling less water usage, which is good for the environment. If you happen to pay the water bill on the unit you own, you’ll save money each month on utilities. Finally, this is a feature you can include when you’re advertising the unit, which will appeal to eco-conscious prospects.

3. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Programmable thermostats allow your tenants to decrease energy use when it’s not needed in your property. They can program it to automatically reduce usage at night or when they are away at work or on long weekend vacations. Again, if you’re paying for utilities, you can save money with programmable thermostats. Otherwise, this is a simple way to be a more eco-conscious landlord.

4. Resource Used Whenever Possible

In most cities and towns, there are resources for used building and construction materials. This includes ReStore, an offshoot of Habitat for Humanity, as well as used appliance centers. Every time you utilize used materials, you’re doing your bit to keep materials out of landfills. Of course, you never want to substitute poor quality or substandard materials for standard supplies, but there are certainly ways you can safely make use of pre-owned materials such as:

  • Lighting fixtures
  • Countertops
  • Doorknobs and handles
  • Drawer pulls
  • Windows
  • Shutters
  • Doors
  • Flooring tile

5. Have Ductwork Cleaned

Ductwork that hasn’t been cleaned in eons isn’t working efficiently. Dust and debris build up on the interior walls of ducts, much like clogged arteries. This causes the air conditioning and furnace systems to work harder, which uses more energy. Strive to have ductwork cleaned one a year at least. In areas where there is excessive humidity, like Florida and Georgia, consult with local professionals to see if more frequent duct cleaning makes sense.

6. Have HVAC Units Inspected Routinely

Invest in HVAC maintenance contracts so you can ensure that they are operating at maximum efficiency. You don’t need a maintenance contract for this, but it might make the inspections more affordable. Also make sure that you or your property manager repair or replace HVAC units as needed so they don’t become energy hogs.

7. Encourage Recycling

You can’t force your tenants to recycle paper, glass and plastics. But you can make it easier for them by supplying information about city recycling regulations and making sure they have two or more recycling bins available. Most towns offer free bins upon request, so this won’t even cost you anything to implement.

8. Hire Eco-Friendly Cleaners

If you self-manage your property, make a point of hiring in-between tenant cleaners who use eco-conscious cleaning ingredients. These are just as effective as chemical cleaners, yet leave much less chemical residue in the water supplies.

9. Donate Used Materials

If you’re into fix and flips or going through other renovation projects, have your team take some care when doing demo work. Rather than indiscriminately swinging sledgehammers, maybe they can take a little extra time to take apart things that could be used by someone less fortunate. Yes, this will add to the amount of time the demo takes, but again, you’ll be doing a great benefit to the world by keeping materials out of landfills. You’ll also save some money by donating reusable materials instead of paying disposal fees.

Most of these suggestions won’t make a big impact on your bottom line as a landlord, but each of them can make a big difference in the ecological impact of property ownership. Little by little you can make a difference.