These days, there's a huge push toward eco-friendly, sustainable building, and as a real estate investor, you have a prime opportunity to join that movement. Not only can going green help you attract tenants, but it could, in some cases, save you money as a landlord. Here are a few steps you can take to make your investment property more earth-friendly.
1. Install smart thermostats
Smart thermostats make it easy to adjust indoor temperatures to accommodate lifestyle needs. These thermostats also do a good job of maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures to avoid overtaxing heating and cooling systems. In fact, some reports say the average smart thermostat can reduce heating costs by 10% and cooling costs by 15%. If those are bills that you cover as a landlord, that's some decent savings over time.
2. Add insulation
Insulating your home will make your heating and cooling systems work more efficiently and use less energy. The result? Less waste -- and more eventual savings for you. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates property owners can save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by sealing their homes via insulation in attics, basements, and crawl spaces
3. Replace standard light bulbs with LEDs
LEDs are among the most energy-efficient household products you'll find. At a price point of under $10 per LED, replacing your traditional light bulbs could result in 75% less energy usage. The result? Extra savings for you. Plus, LEDs can last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lighting, which means your tenants won't be calling you to get their bulbs replaced as often.
4. Install low-flow fixtures
Excess water usage is bad for the planet, and it's also bad for your bottom line. You can reap savings by replacing standard toilets and faucets with low-flow alternatives. The EPA says that a low-flow faucet that reduces water output by about 30% can save a standard home 700 gallons of water per year. That's the equivalent of 40 showers. Meanwhile, low-flow toilets are said to produce an average savings of $140 per year on water bills.
5. Go paperless
Those notices and rent statements you generally mail out to your tenants or slip under their doors? Replacing them with electronic notices may not save you a ton of money, but it's an easy step to take toward making your property more eco-friendly. Besides, you may find that communicating electronically with your tenants is more efficient from a time perspective, and that email notices are more likely to be read than mailed notices that have the potential to get tossed or lost in the shuffle.
The Millionacres bottom line
Going green isn't just good for the planet. It can also save you a fair amount of money in the course of operating and maintaining your investment property. Keep in mind, too, that if you ever decide to sell your property, the more energy-efficient it is, the more buyers you'll appeal to -- because while not everyone cares about the planet, saving money is a whole other ballgame.