If you are planning any renovations to your investment or rental properties in the near future you should consider going as green as possible. Improving your investment property’s Eco Performance has monetary and intangible benefits as well. You can ask your property management to help you along with using some of the helpful information in this quick guide.
First and foremost there is no quicker way to reap the rewards of eco-friendly construction then with the installation of solar panels on your investment property’s roof. There are dozens of programs available in all parts of the country which could help you improve the overall return-on-investment of your property. Additionally, the installation of solar panels sends an eco-friendly message to your tenants, your neighbors, and the investment property community. Don’t hesitate to start working on a solution for this improvement. All Solar companies will come to your property and give free estimates and also provide a thorough array of options for your individual situation.
There are so many new eco-friendly roofing materials available now that it boggles the mind. They include slate, metal, composite, and recycled plastic and/or rubber. These new eco-friendly materials offer superior fire and impact resistance and come in various colors and textures. There are a number of manufacturers are selling roofing shingles made from 100 percent recycled vinyl and cellulose fiber that resist fading and are fire retardant. Other products include shingles made from 98 percent post-consumer metals – some of which look just like a wood shingle or shake but don’t warp, crack or mold.
Eco-friendly manufacturing has now penetrated the insulation market. There are several eco and health-friendly options in each insulation category. One of the most recent products is a soy-based polyurethane spray-in foam that expands to fill-in cracks, crevices, and hard to get to places which will provide an airtight seal with extremely high thermal resistance. There are also new batt-type insulation products constructed from post-industrial cotton and denim fibers that contain virtually no chemicals. There are several products that are now odor and formaldehyde free. One manufacturer offers an alternative insulation that resists mold.
Windows and Doors
When replacing windows and doors, look for low U-factor ratings – which is the measurement of a window’s heat flow. An average U-factor rating is .25 to 1.25. An easy and cost effective way to help improve the air leaks around doors and windows is to use caulking around the entire perimeters of each opening, the trim, the window housing, and the framing (if exposed).
When replacing windows consider dual-paned glazing with Argon chambers; patio doors with double or triple pane glass to improve energy efficiency. To be really eco-friendly consider installing new windows and doors manufactured using a water-based treatment that decreases Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), which are a key cause to indoor air pollution.
Tenants Can Help You
Implement a plan with your property management team to talk with tenants about being eco-friendly partners with you. Have your property management team put together a list of eco-friendly energy saving hints and tips that will not only save your tenants cash each month, but will improve the overall energy efficiency of the property for the long-haul. It is a good practice to print the list and display it at various locations on each of your investment properties, including posting it on your company website.
Some ideas for the list include but are not limited to:
- Install thick drapes or shades at all large windows. This reduces heat loss in winter, improves heat gain controllability in summer, and also provides the tenants with privacy.
- Only use washing machines and dishwashers when they are full.
- Install auto-thermostats as a difference of 2-3 degrees could be hundreds of dollars spent on unnecessary energy costs with little or no comfort level increase.
- Unplug cellphone chargers, appliances, etc., when not in use.
- Install faucet filters to avoid using plastic bottles for water.
Each and every eco-friendly improvement or addition can collectively make a big difference in the bottom line of your rental property. Make sure to get your property management team involved in this process as they should be fully prepared to help you in this endeavor. If they are not, you can easily use this guide along with some quick research and you will be well on your way to having a more eco-friendly rental property business.
David currently is the broker/owner of Silicon Valley Property Management Group (SVPMG) which manages 150+ client properties on the San Francisco Peninsula.Trust, transparency, and performance guarantees are the foundation of SVPMG. David challenges anyone to find a PM company that offers services similar to the extensive education, customer service, and performance guarantees provided by SVPMG.
David also provides consulting for his clients on property development feasibility, construction, and complex real estate transactions.
David has authored a published law review article, two real estate books, and over 120 real estate blog articles.
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