Receive news, updates and special deals by Joining AOA's Online Newsletter. Click now to sign up!

Ways to Save Money, Benefit and Improve Your Bottom Line – By Erin McCary

Posted on 15. Sep, 2012 by in all, Magazine Articles

Facebook Twitter Email Linkedin Digg

According to a 2010 Rent.com study, renters are twice as likely as non-renters (15 percent vs. 8 percent) to believe it’s the property owner’s responsibility to adhere to eco-friendly practices.  Furthermore, the demand of renters wanting to live in green communities is on the rise “ 9 in 10 Americans (86%) would prefer to live in one.  But many property owners and managers remain unaware of the incredible advantages of going green.  Here is a brief summary of the top benefits and how they can help you and your community.

Tax Incentives and Rebates
Tax credits are available to multifamily communities that utilize environmentally friendly practices.  Properties can receive various rebates for green measures, such as:

¢    Replacing pre-1994 toilets with dual flush or low-flow toilets ($1,000 savings over 10 years for one toilet!)
¢    Replacing laundry machines ($100 to $300 per coin-operated machine)
¢    Installing smart irrigation controls (up to $400 for installation) and
¢    Implementing low-flow showerheads ($5 to $10 per showerhead replacement)

Additionally, many state and local governments provide incentives for the construction of green buildings and green upgrades.  Rebates and tax incentives vary by city and state, as well as by appliance type, so be sure to do your research.

Cost Savings
Multifamily communities that focus on reducing energy usage not only help the environment, they also reduce overall costs of energy bills.  The most sought after energy-efficient amenities are Energy Star appliances, energy-efficient windows and CFL light bulbs.   Using CFL light bulbs will cost you 75% less to run than standard light bulbs and will last 10 times longer. Due to a 2007 federal law increasing efficiency standards, far fewer of the old-style filament bulbs are being produced, making it that much smarter to switch now.

Recycling
Properties can also see savings with the implementation of a recycling program.  Seventy percent of all trash in on-site waste bins/compactors is recyclable.  The more you can divert from going to a trash bin and then to a landfill, the more you can save while also becoming environmentally friendly.

Environmental Benefit
By implementing green amenities and practices into your property, you unleash a positive environmental impact by reducing natural resources, pollution and energy use.  Surveyed renters say that the most important reason for living in an eco-friendly apartment was because it was good for the Earth.  Consider incorporating energy-efficient appliances, water-efficient fixtures, an easy-to-use recycling program and electronic leasing and renewal options (paperless office) into your community.

Public Relations
One-half of renters feel that energy efficiency and environmentally friendly features are of importance when selecting which apartment to rent.  Communities emphasizing that they are either working to go green or are already implementing green programs can gain the favor of current and prospective renters.  You can make your property’s green efforts known by mentioning the green changes you have made via move-in pamphlets and resident fliers, educational signage (e.g. recycling instructions and information), leasing presentations and the web (posts on your website and social media outlets about how/why/when did your property go green).  Always be clear about your green amenities, practices and promises.

Consumer Demand
As environmental consciousness continues to grow, so does the demand for green products and services.  Studies indicate that renters perceive green communities as a better value as well as better corporate citizens.  Multifamily communities that promote the outcomes of their green amenities, such as lower utility costs and better indoor air quality, see easier lease closings as well as high occupancy rates.
Three times as many renters compared to non-renters say that living in an eco-friendly apartment community is absolutely necessary to them.  In fact, more than half of renters are willing to pay at least $100 more in monthly rent in order to do so.  Seven out of 10 renters are also more likely to renew their lease if they reside in a green community.  You can increase your NOI and cash flow by meeting the demands of these renters.  Your water, utility, vacancy, marketing and concessions expenses should also decrease.

Surprising, cost efficiency is not the number one reason renters want to live in a green multifamily community “ environmental stewardship is.  The advantages of green living are beneficial to the renter not only because it saves them money and creates a healthier indoor space, but it allows them to be environmental stewards as well.  Renters enjoy feeling that they are helping the Earth and that their actions have a positive effect on their community.
Not only does offering eco-friendly amenities to renters set you apart from other apartment communities, there are huge cost-savings and environmental benefits to consider.  Give the renters what they want “ go green!

Erin McCary is Valet Waste’s regional sales executive.  Reprinted with permission of ABODE.