Maximizing Energy Efficiency in Rental Properties: A Guide for Property Managers to Improve Savings and Sustainability

Lee Blackburn

Are you thinking about energy efficiency in the homes you’re renting out? 

You should be. More and more tenants are interested in sustainability and protecting the environment. Everyone is thinking about their carbon footprint and looking for ways to be less destructive when it comes to the planet and our natural resources. Most of your qualified tenants want to live in homes that aren’t energy vampires. All of your tenants want to keep their energy bills reasonable. 

Maximizing energy efficiency is more than just a trend. It is becoming a profitable way to do business and a responsible way to rent out a home. Demonstrating that you’re a good steward of energy and environmental resources will make your rental property more attractive to environmentally conscious tenants. 

Here is our Nashville property management guide to maximizing energy efficiency in your rental properties to improve savings and sustainability. 

Conduct an Energy Audit at Your Nashville Investment Property 

When you decide to maximize the energy efficiency in your investment properties, you’ll need to get a good idea of your starting point.  

Conduct an energy audit, which will show you where you stand with what you currently have at your rental property. An energy audit can identify where a rental property’s strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to conserving resources and losing money. An energy audit provides owners with data that can be used to make good decisions. 

Some of the information you collect will demonstrate that there needs to be a change in human behavior. Maybe your tenants are keeping the lights on all day and night, even if no one is home. Maybe the showers are running longer than they need to. 

You cannot do anything about how your tenants are using energy. But, you can make some changes inside of the property that lead to more efficiency. When you’re able to upgrade your appliances and other systems to more efficient ways of operating, you can count on:

  • A better idea of what types of maintenance might be needed to facilitate upgrades and updates and ensure they continue working as they should.
  • Learning about new technology that’s providing for better efficiency. Stay informed about what can help you do better.
  • Seeing the benefit of replacing older appliances with new models that use less energy. Those electric and water bills will be lower, not only for your tenants but also for you during periods of vacancy and turnover. 

To achieve those outcomes, you’ll need regular and ongoing energy audits. You cannot improve what you are not measuring. 

Ideal Upgrades for Energy Efficiency

Where should you get started with your own rental properties? Here are some of the most common energy-efficient moves that we have seen owners and investors make. 

  • More Efficient Landscaping

Good landscaping is great for your curb appeal. It adds beauty to your rental property and attracts tenants. It can also boost your rental value. Here’s another benefit: the right landscaping can also reduce heating and cooling costs for your tenants. Plant a tree in the right spot, and you’ll find there’s more shade delivered to your property. It can also act as a shield against high winds during summer storms. This will reduce energy bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the right trees in the right places can save up to a quarter of the energy a typical household uses. 

Think about irrigation, too. There’s some great technology that allows you to set hoses and sprinklers onto timers that work with the current climate. There’s nothing more absurd than seeing a sprinkler running while it’s raining. Conserve water with upgraded landscaping and irrigation.

  • Install Solar Panels 

Solar panels are a more dramatic upgrade than you may be willing to make, but they’re also becoming more common, even in rental properties. When you want to invest in significant energy savings and efficiency, consider installing solar panels. Technology around solar panels is always being improved, and they’re less expensive and less invasive than they once were. You might even find that you can take advantage of local energy incentives or tax deductions by installing solar panels. 

  • Seal Doors and Windows

Keep the cold air in during the humid summers and the hot air in during the coldest winters. It doesn’t get much easier than that. By paying attention to the way your doors, windows, and insulation work, you can improve your efficiency without buying any new systems or tech. You simply have to make sure that the insulation around your doors and windows is working the way it should. Sealing the doors and windows is an easy upgrade. Air leaks are a big problem and will always lead to terrible energy efficiency. Whether it’s keeping the humidity out in the summer or the freezing cold out in the winter, make sure those doors and windows are closed off to the weather elements. For most properties, this is as easy as caulking around door and window frames or adding some weather-stripping. 

  • Upgrade Your Lighting 

There’s a lot you can do with lighting to make it more efficient. It’s also a relatively cost-effective upgrade. Simply changing the light bulbs can help. Switching all the light bulbs in your rental property to long-lasting LED bulbs could save you both time and money all year. Energy-efficient lighting is designed to stay lit for months or even years, significantly reducing the cost and frequency of replacement.

  • Buy Energy-Efficient Appliances 

By installing energy-efficient dishwashers, washing machines, refrigerators, and stoves, you’re saving resources and money. These improved appliances will also look better in your rental home, and improve the quality of life for your tenant. Look for an Energy-Star rating before you buy. A thermostat that’s programmable is another great idea, and tenants will appreciate the function of keeping their homes warm or cool depending on the season. You can even install sensors that detect when people are home, thereby adjusting how warm or cool it is indoors. 

Contact Property ManagerMaximizing your energy efficiency is good for you, your property, and your residents. If you’d like to talk more about how to do this will your Nashville rental property, please contact us at Omni Realtors & Property Management.