Eco-friendly technologies do more than save your community on energy costs. In 2019, 61 percent of surveyed renters were willing to pay more to live in a sustainable community. Additionally, 80 percent of surveyed renters believed living in eco-friendly property was beneficial to their health. Sustainable features are increasingly important when it comes to keeping your units full and staying ahead of the competition.1
Update Your HVAC Systems
January 1, 2020, is the deadline of the R-22 phaseout. Update your HVAC system to a system manufactured after 2010 to avoid running out of refrigerant. New HVAC systems are not only better for the environment, they're also better for your budget. Choose an ENERGY STAR® HVAC model to reduce utility costs by as much as 20 percent.2
Updated HVAC units keep your residents more comfortable. Automatic temperature tracking monitors humidity levels and improves air quality and efficiency by utilizing the outdoor air.
Smart thermostats give residents more control over their home's temperature and climate. They can save your residents an average of 17 percent of their cooling costs.3
Switch to LED Bulbs
LED bulbs use 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, reducing both utility and maintenance costs. Switching to LEDs allows you to upgrade track lighting, pendants and decorative fixtures that enhance your units. Building exteriors also benefit from updated lighting, particularly on streets and parking garages, where LEDs make residents feel safer.4
Smart LEDs have long featured motion sensors, voice control and smartphone compatibility, but smart lights increasingly have wellness features. For example, some lights have customizable colors and lights that can be adjusted to support healthy sleep patterns. In 2017, wellness real estate was a $155 billion industry in North America, and it is forecasted to continue growing.5
Use Green Cleaning
Green cleaning is the use of safe, effective cleaning products that benefit people and the planet. Many cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that affect the health of staff or residents, but green cleaning practices improve the efficiency of your property through lower operational and utility costs. Additionally, green properties have a higher resale value, as they are more efficient and profitable than non-green facilities.
Green Cleaning Trends: Certified Products
Ensure your cleaning supplies are safe for your staff, your residents and their pets with certified green cleaning supplies. The Environmental Protection Agency's Safer Choice program reviews product ingredients, performance, pH, packaging and more to determine that they are safe. Additionally, GREENGUARD certifications are applied to products with low chemical emissions. GREEENGUARD-certified materials, finishes and products ensure better indoor air quality within your building.
Improve Water Efficiency
Use 20 percent less water and save your residents on their utility costs when you update units with WaterSense®-labeled toilets, showerheads and other plumbing fixtures. WaterSense is a sustainability program funded by the Environmental Protection Agency that makes it easy to find eco-friendly products.6
WaterSense showerheads can save about $70 in water and energy costs annually per unit. Likewise, WaterSense toilets can save up to $250 annually per unit.7
Water Efficiency Trends: Eco-Friendly Laundry and Washing Machines
More than half of residents will not rent a unit without a washer or dryer, and even more renters make a decision on whether or not the apartment contains a dishwasher. With WaterSense-labeled plumbing, you can provide the laundry machines and dishwashers that entice potential residents without inflating utility costs. Compact, ENERGY STAR dishwashers cost as little as $35 a year in utilities.8
1. AMLI Residential, "2019 Sustainable Living Index". 2019.
2. ENERGY STAR, "A Guide to Energy-Efficient Heating and Cooling." 2009.
3. Bonneville Power Administration & Franklin Public Utility District, "Nest Learning Thermostat Pilot Program Savings Assessment". 2016.
4. U.S. Department of Energy, "LED Lighting".
5. Global Wellness Institute, "2018 Research Report". 2018.
6. U.S. Department of Energy, "WaterSense Labeled Multi-Family New Homes." 2012.
7. United Sates Environmental Protection Agency, "Statistics and Facts". 2018.
8. ENERGY STAR, "Dishwashers."