Here are some bullet point tips to help you go green at your apartment community. These ideas only scratch the surface, but every little bit helps!
For Residents and Apartments
- Offer online payment options for rent.
- Send online/email notices to residents vs. paper notices.
Use “Green” products when available:
- Change light bulbs to CFL’S (Compact Fluorescent Bulbs)
- Use water saving fixtures like showerheads, commodes, kitchen and bath faucets
- Use Energy Star appliances
- If you can, replace old water heaters with tankless models – these save on energy, and give you back up to 16 sq ft of storage space in a typical utility closet
- Install programmable thermostats in apartments
- Use Low VOC paints
Recycle Building Supplies and Household Items:
- Inkjet and laser printer cartridges and wireless phones
- Electronics – you can direct residents to MyGreenElectronics.org for the “how to”
- Plastic, glass, and paper products
- Even large items like mattresses and furniture
Your Property Management Office
- Turn off computers and unplug unnecessary electronics at night
- Use online banking and teller scanners
- Create a paperless office by using email to issue owner statements
- Hold training sessions over the Web. (Saves gas in transit to/from the meeting too)
- Create virtual Policy and Procedure Manuals
- Replace light switches with occupancy sensors in all infrequently-used common spaces
- You may think we are cheap, but here at Rent & Retain we use both sides of a piece of paper. Our fax machine has “used” paper in it too – since most of the faxes we receive we do not need to keep. You may be able to do the same – at least for first drafts of things. We recommend buying a printer that prints “two-sided”
Resources for You And Your Residents
The EPA’s ENERGY STAR Website can help you get started with a plan to improve your building’s energy performance. They also list products that are designed to cut costs and increase efficiency. The EPA Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings, recently adopted by over 18 federal agencies, including EPA, provide a good model. The Guiding Principles call for integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and materials aimed at helping Federal agencies and organizations:
- Reduce the total ownership cost of facilities
- Improve energy efficiency and water conservation
- Provide safe, healthy, and productive built environments
- Promote sustainable environmental stewardship
For indoor air quality tips, visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/largebldgs/
Mindy Williams is the President of RentandRetain.com, which has improved the marketing and retention strategies for thousands of property managers in the United States. Mindy is a Co-Founder of the Apartment All Stars as well as an approved instructor for the California Department of Real Estate where she trains thousands of management professionals each year during seminars for apartment associations. She has written 10 books on property management best practices and is a fantastic resource for industry professionals.