Why You Should Care About Energy Efficiency in Your Building:
If you pay the utility bill for your property, making it more energy efficient could save you hundreds of dollars per year. One of the easiest steps you can take is making your tenants aware of their energy usage and asking them to cut back where they can. You can see a 10% decrease in energy usage just by letting tenants know how much they're using each month.
If you do not pay your utility bill, please check out the weatherization benefits column to the right.
Six DIY Changes You Can Make to Your Properties
Seal windows and doors with caulk, spray foam, or weather stripping - can save up to 10% on your utility bills
Install Energy Star Appliances - here are some examples of the savings you can earn using Energy Star appliances over non-qualified models: Refrigerators - 20% more efficient; Washers - 37% more efficient; Dehumidifiers - 15% more efficient; Freezers - 10% more efficient; Room air cleaners and purifiers - 40% more efficient; Water coolers - 45% more efficient
Replace Halogen Bulbs with CFLs or LEDs - CFLs use up to 75% less electricity
- Install high energy efficient air conditioners - if the unit is 12 years or older it is best to replace it with an Energy Star qualified model which could cut cooling costs by 30%
- Replace T12 fixtures with T8 bulbs in order to conserve at least 20% more energy
- Install programmable thermostats - renters can create settings that work best for them based on when they'll be in the property and when they'll be gone. If you choose to keep manual thermostats, encourage renters to change the temperature if they're going out for a few hours and before they go to sleep. Energy Star recommends changing the temperature by 5 degrees to save money.
If you pay the water bill for your building, there are easy steps you can take to be more water efficient and save hundreds of dollars. Replace old bathroom appliances with EPA approved WaterSense-labelled products and save up to $350. In addition to replacing old inefficient products, you should regularly check for leaks and consider using faucet aerators to reduce the flow rate of sinks.
Click on the image below to learn more about WaterSense-labelled products.
1. Weatherized buildings have lower rates of tenant turnover.
2. Weatherized buildings have less of a need for space heaters which cause fire risks.
3. Weatherized homes offer better protection against energy price spikes and extreme weather conditions, which makes it easier for tenants to pay rent.
4. Weatherized buildings are more properly prepared for weather events and are in better repair than other buildings.
5. Insulation can lessen the chance of frozen pipes.
6. Low-income tenants qualify for the HES-IE program through United Illuminating.
Energy Efficiency Audits
An energy efficiency audit can be done on your rental property through United Illuminating. UI comes onto your property and assesses your energy usage. They also install basic energy efficient upgrades such as changing out light bulbs, installing low flow shower heads, and sealing up drafts caused by cracks in window casings. At the end of the assessment, you will receive a list of recommended larger upgrades to think about completing in the future. This program is also a great way to check the health and safety of your property, and financing options are available if something comes up. The fee for this service is $124, but the service is valued at $1,000. Please click on the link below for more information about this program.
*Please note that the HES program is only for rental properties with 2-4 units. There is a Multifamily Initiative for rental properties with 5+ units.
Green leases are a new way for landlords and tenants to share the cost and advantages of making energy efficient updates to rental properties. According to the Green Lease Library website, "Green leases align the financial and energy incentives of buildings owners and tenants so they can work together to save money, conserve resources, and ensure the efficient operation of buildings."
Click here to visit the Green Lease Library website for more information.
Click here to take a quick survey about energy efficiency in your buildings.
Energy Star Rating System
Energy Star Portfolio Manager is an online tool that helps you track your energy and water usage throughout the building.
Some properties can also receive a 1-100 Energy Star Rating which compares the building to properties nationwide. “Use it to speak effectively to key decision-makers and provide quantitative results to encourage better energy management and capital investment in energy-efficient technologies.” Click on the image below to learn more.
WegoWise Benchmarking System
WegoWise, Inc. is a great company for learning more about your building's energy usage and can be used on a large scale for landlords that own multiple properties. This tool can show you which areas of your property are efficient in energy usage and which areas are inefficient. You can receive WegoScores decals for buildings that are performing very well and receive high ratings from the site. Click on the image to learn more.
Tips for Talking to Tenants about E.E.
You can save 10% on your utility bills just by making tenants aware of their energy usage
Send out emails and put up posters (coming soon) with subtle reminders to lower energy usage
Remind tenants to recycle and put up posters (coming soon) for directions on what to put into the bins
Ask tenants to change out one halogen light bulb per month or two with a CFL or LED bulb
Looking to make renovations but worried about the costs? Check out our green leases section and make energy efficiency achievable
Find one tenant to take the lead on encouraging others to make their apartments more energy efficient; ask them to gather residents once a month to discuss the building's energy usage... perhaps you can join
Energy Upgrade with Financial Help
Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy provides affordable and accessible green energy upgrades. C-PACE allows you to enjoy the immediate advantages of clean energy without the immediate cost. Increase your cash flow and pay for the upgrades over time through a voluntary benefit assessment lien.
Click on the image below to sign up for C-PACE and to learn more about the program.
Talk to your tenants about energy efficiency in your properties today!