In 2015, 6 in 10 Americans surveyed by Sustainable Brands resolved to be more environmentally responsible in the new year; and 83% were looking for ways to live more sustainably. The population of green living advocates grows each year; and the sentiment is especially popular among Millennials.
Because Millennials are renting for much longer than any generation before them, you have an opportunity to capture potential tenants' attention by making your property more energy-efficient. Learn how to make your home more energy-efficient with the following tips, spending as little or as much as your budget allows.
How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient: Tip #1
One of the easiest ways to make your property more energy-efficient is to reduce the amount of air that comes in or out of the home unintentionally. Drafts force tenants to turn up the heat; and at the end of the month, they're the ones who pay for it.
Reduce drafts and energy bills with the following fixes:
Exterior doors: There are a number of ways to stop drafts from sneaking under the bottom of the door. We recommend sealing doorways with inexpensive solutions like draft stoppers, foam tape, or door sweeps.
Windows: Old windows are especially prone to letting drafts in. If you're not ready to replace them just yet, check out this weather stripping tutorial for an affordable solution.
Fireplace door: If your unit has fireplaces, whether or not they're actively used, fireplace doors block drafts from entering your home. Sam Wilhoit of Brick-Anew explains, "[Fireplace doors] were originally designed so that a person could let the fire die down and then close the doors before they went to bed. That way the room would not be freezing cold the next morning from the cold air that came into the room." Choose clear or tinted glass to accent your space.
For both doors and windows, your best bet could be to replace them, as we suggested in last week's post on
. This reduces drafts while also boosting the property's security and aesthetics. You can also mention that your unit has brand new doors and windows in your
How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient: Tip #2
Install Energy-Efficient Bulbs
Lighting is an important area to focus your attention because "an average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy budget to lighting," according to
. As a result, they explain, "Switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills."
Start by replacing bulbs in the 5 most frequently used light fixtures in your home. In doing so, Energy.gov says, you could save $75 each year. Consider which rooms are used most--likely the bathroom, kitchen, and living room are at the top of the list--so you can make the most of this investment. In addition to indoor lamps, consider replacing bulbs in outdoor lighting that might be left on for a long time.
Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the most popular options, with LEDs using just 20-25% of the energy used by traditional incandescent lightbulbs. "For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR," suggests
. New bulbs will last longer and improve energy efficiency--a win-win.
How to Make Your Home More Energy-Efficient: Tip #3
Choose One Big Upgrade
Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances is expensive. It's a hard investment to justify as a landlord who's worried about how potential renters will treat these valuable items. Instead of investing in all new appliances at once, start with one big upgrade. Which one should you start with? According to
, these 4 appliances pack the biggest savings punch:
Washer: $40/year and $415/lifespan
Air purifier: $27/year and $215/lifespan
Clothes dryer: $16/year and $160/lifespan
Air conditioners: $11/year and $99/lifespan
If you don't have the extra cash to replace old appliances just yet, focus on downgrading wherever possible. "Make an effort to buy appliances that suit your needs--no bigger and no smaller. Oversized air conditioners, water heaters and refrigerators waste both energy and money," explains Mary Boone on
When all is said and done, don't forget to update rental listings to feature any upgrades you've made. Use buzzwords like "eco-friendly," "environmentally friendly," "green," "sustainable," and "energy savings" to pique the interest of tenants that care most about these features--and highlight the money it'll save.
Liked this post on how to make your home more energy-efficient? If you haven't already, check out Part 1 to learn
4 more updates to improve energy efficiency
Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a professional freelancer and consultant. She's worked with a variety of real estate clients, and has been featured on Forbes and Market Watch. She's also an author for Inman, House Hunt Network, Homes.com and more. Follow her on Twitter at @Jlsander07 or connect with her on LinkedIn.