7 Sustainability Strategies for Your Apartment Building
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Posted by Paige N. on July 13, 2017 in
As a rental property owner, utilities make up a large portion of your budget. A study done by the Institute of Real Estate Management found that for the average multifamily property owner, the utility costs equate to roughly 25% of all operating expenses.

With the cost of energy and water on the rise these expenses are projected to increase. Fortunately, a few minor changes can decrease these expenses and increase your bottom line.

 

Here are a few strategies for conserving water, energy, and money:

 

  1. Control water flow: Controlling gallons per minute (GPM) is key to water conservation. One way to control this is with aerators and laminar systems, both of which diminish water flow. An average GPM for kitchen and bathroom faucets is no more than 2.5 and 2.2 GPM, respectively. While this is quite the upgrade from older models, which could use over 5 GPM, devices as low as 1.5 to 0.35 GPM are available. Another technique to control water flow is installing hands-free faucets with a motion sensor. Not only do these cut down on the spread of germs, but they also reduce water flow when not in use (leaving the water running while brushing teeth, for example). As an added bonus, installing these devices will also cut down on energy costs, as hot water usage will be reduced as well.
  2. Turn down water heaters: An estimated three to five percent in water heating costs can be saved with every ten percent reduction in temperature. This being said, turning down your building’s water heater from 140°F to 120°F could save a considerable amount of money and energy in a short period of time.
  3. Modernize lighting: Energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs use less energy and last longer than older bulbs. For example, replacing an incandescent exit sign with a new LED one can save up to $40 per year. On top of that, the bulb can last 25 years, resulting in a savings of $1,000 over the course of those 25 years. Installing lights with sensors in common areas can also save energy and cut costs by reducing the time a light is on when no one is around.
  4. Upgrade appliances: Replacing old appliances with new, energy efficient ones can result in energy savings, as new appliances can use up to 50% less energy than older models.
  5. Insulate: A well-insulated building experiences less air exchange from the outdoors than one without adequate insulation. Insulating boiler pipes and hot air furnace ductwork reduces heat loss through distribution and recirculation systems. These savings can be as high as one therm per linear foot per year, which is equal to $1 per foot per year. Likewise, insulating attics and walls prevents air infiltration, heat loss, and ice damming on roofs.
  6. Scheduled maintenance: Regularly maintaining appliances and fixtures, such as boilers, water heaters, and unit appliances, can help prevent a costly repair by catching a small issue before it grows into a larger one. If and when a piece of machinery needs replacing, look to replace it with newer energy efficient equipment. To conserve water, regularly check for water leaks that could be inadvertently draining some savings.
  7. Monitor consumption patterns: Keeping an Excel spreadsheet or using other tracking software can help you keep tabs on your water and energy consumption and costs. By keeping track of this usage, you can determine where your highest costs are and create a strategy for how to reduce them. This can also help you pinpoint successful or unsuccessful strategies to determine how to plan for the future.

 

You will always have utility bills, but taking a proactive approach to decreasing frivolous use of energy and water resources can help alleviate the impact of those bills on your bottom line.

 

Sources:

Paige N.
Paige N. came to Acuity in 2015 as a commercial lines underwriter. Through her time in underwriting, she worked on a wide array of accounts, many in the service industry, including: automobile repair shops, apartments, beauty shops, and everything in between. In addition to her underwriting experience, Paige worked in advertising and is studying to obtain the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) designation. Thanks to her father, Paige drives a manual transmission and finds driving a manual much more fun than an automatic!


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