People want green homes and investors want to give them green homes. The logic is simple, the demand is there and the profits should follow, right? Wrong. The cardinal mistake I see investors make when they attempt to ‘green’ their investments is spending too much. They spend money on things that flat out aren’t worth it.
Don’t waste your money on:
1. LEED certification – Getting an investment property LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is like giving a Ferrari to your grandmother. It’s overkill, from the cost to the time it takes to get certified, etc. LEED is usually not worth it for investment properties. LEED makes sense when you’re doing new construction (sometimes) but that’s about the only time.
2. Certified eco-consultants – Although I hold several certifications I would still say it’s not worth it to hire an eco-consultant purely based on the certifications he/she may hold. Hire based on past performance and experience; don’t be lured by flashy certifications. Being certified largely means you are a good test taker.
3. Bamboo floors – Sure it’s touted as sustainable but since 90% is shipped from China, is it really sustainable? Save your money and go with cork flooring. Its cheaper, healthier, greener and much more in demand.
4. LED lights – Until the price comes down, they just don’t make much sense right now. They may last forever but the LED technology continues to increase while the price continues to drop. Wait a year and then check them out.
5. Solar – If you own a commercial building, multi-family complex or spend more than $800/month on your electricity then you should investigate solar. If you don’t fit into one of those three groups, pass for now as it still takes too long to see much of a payoff.
6. High-end ultra low-flow toilets/sinks/shower-heads – If you aren’t getting a big rebate with these purchases, you’re better off not buying them. Go with a regular low-flow model and look for aerators to install. For example, you can turn a regular low-flow sink into an ultra low-flow sink simply by adding a sink aerator that costs less than a buck.
7. Tankless water-heaters – At first blush this should be a no-brainer. Tankless should be much more efficient that regular water heaters, right? Not necessarily so when you consider they cost 2-3 times as much to buy, cost more to maintain and often save less than $200 annually compared to an Energy Star water heater. You’re better off insulating your hot water pipes and installing a water heater blanket.
Hope that helps, as always I look forward to your questions and comments.