Turning Over a Green Leaf

Turning Over a Green Leaf

Posted on 22. Jun, 2011 by in Greener Properties

Vacancies present the perfect opportunity to turn over a green leaf on your units with sustainable and inexpensive interior upgrades.

Water Conservation

Check for leaks at faucets, under sinks and in toilets. Managers of duplexes or other multifamily properties may wish to consider submetering units to increase net operating income and improve renters’ water conservation efforts. Submetering gives residents the opportunity to be responsible for and to manage their water consumption. It may also enable maintenance staff to detect leaks sooner and will certainly encourage occupants to promptly report wasteful drips.

At a minimum, make certain all faucets and showerheads comply with the EPA’s WaterSense guidelines. From a sustainability standpoint, going beyond the minimum WaterSense standards is preferable. Suggested flow rates are 0.5 – 1.0gpm (gallons per minute) at lavatory faucets and 2.0gpm at kitchen faucets. These flow rates can be achieved with inexpensive aerators that are fitted into existing fixtures. For the shower, excellent showerheads with flow rates of 1.5gpm have recently come to market. When considering the commode, a simple and easy to install dual flush retrofit kit costing less than $20 can bring fixtures up to today’s high efficiency standards.

Water doesn’t simply flow. It is often heated, so reducing flow rates not only lowers water bills but also sewer charges and utility fees for heating the water. When people use less water, electricity, natural gas or other fuel, it also lowers the greenhouse gas emissions associated with sourcing and transmitting that power.

Energy Efficiency

With the phasing out of incandescent bulbs, consumers will soon have no choice but to choose more efficient CFLs (compact fluorescents) or LEDs (light emitting diodes). While the first cost of a compact fluorescent is considerably less than the first cost of a light emitting diode, LEDs are expected to last for decades, making their lifetime cost less overall than comparable CFLs. If the sticker shock of LEDs is too much for owners, consider selectively replacing difficult to access lights such as track or recessed lights in cathedral ceilings or other area where a ladder or scaffolding may be required to maintain fixtures.

Installing occupancy sensors or timers in bathrooms, laundry rooms and garages helps families reduce energy consumption. Lower the temperature setting on hot water heaters to 120° and have the maintenance staff insulate the hot water heater and any accessible hot water pipes. Clean the refrigerator’s coils and raise the temperature setting while the unit is vacant to manage electricity usage and lower your energy costs.

Replace the filters on heating and air conditioning units and weatherize windows and doors to stop conditioned air from escaping the dwelling. Caulking and sealing all cracks, crevices and openings will also keep the conditioned air inside and can reduce the likelihood of pest and vermin infestation as well. Remember to check the attic insulation also. Dark spots may indicate unwanted air movement across the insulating material.

Property managers have it in their power to reduce the carbon footprints of the properties under their care. Often the common sense things required to maintain a property are enough to keep the household systems in good working order. By taking steps to reduce the water and energy used by homes, management may be able to extend the life of existing systems, attract conscientious, green renters and increase operating income.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,