apartment building in Calgary. Alberta, Canada. Residential architecture

Ten Ways to Make Your Rental Property Energy-Efficient

Concern for the environment and sustainability have become commonplace these days. While it seems that homeowners have the advantage when it comes to “going green,” there are things that landlords can do too. It’s true that you don’t want to spend much on a rental property, but you can help to improve your building’s overall energy efficiency.

1. Install A Programmable Thermostat

Finding a sustainable rental property to live in is difficult. However, one of the best ways to allow tenants to save on their energy consumption is to install a programmable thermostat. The heating and cooling costs are the biggest energy hogs in a unit. Programmable thermostats are under $50 and can really save energy. With these thermostats, your tenant can:

  • Reduce Monthly Bills
  • Turn the Unit on and Off When No One Is Home
  • Reduce Energy Consumption
  • Reduce Carbon Footprint

2. Seal Outlets and Switches

The insulation in your walls protects from the elements. However, when a light switch or outlet is installed, the insulation must be removed from that section. If you feel any air coming through your outlets or switches, then you need to put gaskets behind them to shield you from the air. This will prevent any unnecessary heat loss or air infiltration. Installing these gaskets will:

  • Stop Air Leaks
  • Prevent Air Infiltration
  • Reduce Energy Costs

3. Caulk and Seal Windows and Doors

Caulking is one of the best materials you can get for energy efficiency, and it also has an inexpensive price tag. If you own an older apartment building or a rental home, then you probably have old or missing caulking around your windows. You may even be missing a windowpane. Air leaks through these older-style windows with ease. It’s common to find air leaks in the sashes, door panels, and window frames. Putting up plastic sheets may help during the winter, but they are unattractive and make the windows unusable. Rather, you can seal off those cracks with caulking. Caulking has many benefits, including:

  • Raising the Unit’s Temperature by Stopping Drafts
  • Stopping Air Leaks from Windows, Doors, and Sashes
  • Can Even Seal and Prevent Water Damage Around Tubs and Sinks Too

4. Pull the Plug on Phantom Energy Charges

Is your building an energy hog? Do you have computers, tablets, televisions, and other small appliances going all the time? You need to use a power strip. These strips will help to turn off phantom energy. When your electronics are not in use, they can still pull current. Basically, you are paying for electricity you are not using. The best way to stop paying for unused electric is to buy a smart energy strip. They are very inexpensive, but they will pay for themselves in no time. A power strip can:

  • Protect Your Electronics from Power Surges/Lightning
  • Reduce Your Electric Bill by Removing Phantom Charges
  • Reduce Overall Consumption Costs

5. Change the Hot Water Heater Settings

A sustainable rental property will have a tankless unit. However, most properties have traditional water heaters. The hot water heater is a huge energy hog. Have you ever experienced scalding hot water coming out of the tap? There are a couple of things to consider on a water heater. First, you need to check the temperature setting. The default setting for these heaters is 140 degrees. However, you can safely turn it down to 120 degrees to save energy. You cannot set your tank below 110 degrees, or bacteria can grow. Even at 120 degrees, some say the water feels more tepid than hot. An older tank may not be well insulated, and it may have problems keeping an ideal temperature. An insulating jacket is a great way to reduce costs and help keep the unit toasty warm. Hot water temperature reduction can:

  • Reduce Electricity or Gas Utility Bills
  • Reduce Risk of Scalding Children or Elderly
  • Save Big Money Over the Course of a Year

6. Replacing the Furnace Filter

A furnace filter should be changed between one and three months. Each unit has different specifications. Also, the filter type used can make a big difference in the frequency of changing needed. A clean filter will help ensure that there is clean air moving through the home, and it will also ensure that the furnace is running efficiently. A filter is inexpensive to purchase, and anybody can change it. A fresh furnace filter will:

  • Ensure That Clean Air Is Being Distributed Throughout the Home
  • Keep the HVAC Unit Running at Optimal Levels
  • Will Reduce Utility Costs by Allowing the HVAC Unit to Run More Efficiently

7. Switch to Energy-Efficient Bulbs

One thing you will always see in an energy-efficient building is LED or CFL light bulbs. The prices have significantly dropped to make them affordable for everyone. Though the costs may be a bit higher up front, you will reap the savings all year long. You don’t have to replace them all at once; rather, just change the bulbs to the new type one at a time as they burn out. The light bulb wars have a clear winner, and the energy-efficient bulbs are the smart choice. These energy-saving bulbs will:

  • Last Significantly Longer Than Traditional Bulbs
  • Reduce Electric Bills
  • Give You Peace of Mind Knowing That You’re Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

8. Use Window Shades

If you think that blinds and curtains are all about décor, you are missing out on one important feature. These shields help to protect from heat loss and gain. Heavy curtains are great in the winter. They will stop heat loss through the windows. In the summer months, they will help to shield the heat from getting inside. The blinds are not just for privacy. They, too, work with the curtains to help keep the elements at bay. The sun can do a great deal of damage over time. It can bleach out carpeting and floors as well as raising the temperature of a room. Blinds and curtains can:

  • Shield the Home from the Sun
  • Keep the Home’s Temperature More Stable
  • Reduce Glare in the Home

9. Purchase A Humidifier

A humidifier keeps your apartment building’s humidity levels constant. Not only is a humidifier good in the winter months, it is also good for your health. Because they keep the temperature feeling warmer than dry air, this means you can turn your thermostat down and save even more money. Some HVAC units have a built-in humidifier. If you are not lucky enough to have one of the newer units with this attachment, you can add a portable one for a great price. A humidifier can:

  • Lower the Heat Setting on Your HVAC Unit
  • Add Humidity to the Air and Improve Health
  • Make the Ambient Air Temperature Feel Warmer

10. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Most landlords don’t put top-of-the-line appliances in rentals. However, you can tweak the units you have for better savings. The coils on the back of the fridge can get corroded with dust and debris. The refrigerator is one of the biggest energy hogs in a home. Cleaning these coils will help a great deal. Cleaning your coils will:

  • Reduce Energy Consumption Used by the Refrigerator
  • Allow the Unit to Operate More Quietly
  • Extend the Longevity of the Unit