Rent freeze? Go green to save green
June 23, 2014 - Green Buildings
* Water: Installing tamper-proof shower and sink regulators such as The Water Scrooge, saves up to 40% annually on water and energy costs ($1,000 on average per year per apartment for water charges and $300 average for heating the water or over half million dollars for a 500 unit building.) Set domestic hot water (DHW) systems no higher than 120 degrees for a 3-5% annual savings.
* Heating/cooling: Alternative energy advancements, decreasing costs and tax incentives are giving property owners new options: roof-top wind turbines, solar modules, solar hot water panels, solar thermal concentrators and hydrogen fuel cells. Make sure boiler pipes/hot air furnace ductwork are insulated (saving $1 per ft. per year.)
* Appliances: Home dwellers always want the latest—even when current fixtures and appliances look and operate just fine. Landlords can replace old, broken, energy-hungry appliances with these used, yet more efficient, ones. Energy-Star rated appliances are up to 50% more efficient.
* Energy costs: Compact fluorescent bulbs (sometimes subsidized by local electric utilities) save approximately 40% a year. Timers and/or motion-censor fixtures reduce waste. LED exit signs can save $40 annually. Replace old windows with newer, more efficient ones.
* Weatherizing: Weatherizing reduces energy costs, keeps buildings in better repair and reduces fire risks (no need for space heaters.) Heat rises, so install 12-18 inches of installation over the top floor of the building. Caulk or weather strip around windows and doors to eliminate drafts and heat loss and prevent moisture damage.
* Office supplies and operations: Do business electronically: use on-line applications and rental agreements, communicate with tenants via email, allow for direct deposit and on-line rent payments.
Finally, track expenses and note spikes in bills which could indicate a problem or needed repair. Respond promptly to tenant complaints about leaky faucets, faulty wiring and other issues which could compromise safety or revenue.
David Schwartz is the CEO & founder of The Water Scrooge, a D.S Magic-Tech LLC
company, Lynbrook, N.Y.