Landlords: How To Get Better Rentals By Going Green By Steve Stillwater

by Joe Thomas on October 13, 2010

Green living is increasing in popularity, and for good reasons. A green lifestyle is good for both the environment and your wallet.

As a landlord, you may think green living concepts will not help you much. Perhaps you believe that renters will not appreciate the investments you have made in energy efficiency and water conservation, or at the very least, will not pay anything more to enjoy those benefits.

I don’t agree.

A sense of doing what is right for the environment is hard to quantify, but there is an intangible value there nonetheless. And upgrades that save a tenant money have tangible value. Furthermore, a tenant that is saving money on utilities has an incentive to stay put, reducing turnover in your rental property.

To be sure, being a landlord rather than a resident places some limitations on how best to go green. For example, installing solar panels or roof-mounted wind turbines, which entail a significant up front cost, will not make financial sense for most landlords, even with tax incentives.

So, how can you differentiate your rental as a greener alternative? Here are five easy-on-the-budget ideas that are also straightforward to implement. These simple steps will add value to your property, differentiate your rental from other comparable properties, and provide material financial benefits for prospective tenants.

1. Wrap your water tank with insulation to reduce heat loss. You can buy all the insulation material you will need for about $20.

2. Install compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) throughout the property. Lighting accounts for about 10-20% of average home energy use, and CFLs use 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and last up to 10 times longer. The out-of-pocket cost is minimal (about $2-3 per CFL bulb), and CFLs are a benefit that will save the new occupant money.

3. Use low VOC paints if you are repainting prior to the tenants taking occupancy. (VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, many of which have an unpleasant odor and are toxic.) This is a health benefit for tenants, especially those with children.

4. Replace all faucet aerators and showerheads with low-flow versions. The water savings from the reduced flow in the showers will be considerable, up to 3000 gallons of water per shower saved every year. Further savings come form not heating that water to showering temperature.

5. Make sure you can promote the advantages of energy efficiency in your sales flyer. This point is especially important. You need to make prospective tenants aware of the green features of your property, and especially, the value it brings to a renter, so that you can earn the benefits of your investment in green upgrades. Even the most hardened potential tenant will, all other things being equal, be drawn to an apartment or home that will save money on utility bills. And most potential tenants are not that hardened. They actually care about the environment and will feel better about living in a place that helps conserve power and water and reduces their carbon footprint.

Green upgrades are a way to make your home or apartment stand out above others in a competitive marketplace. The benefit to a tenant is more than just the knowledge of living more sustainabiy. A tenant gains financial benefits as well.

As a landlord, you can offer a prospective renter both a financial benefit and an emotional reason to choose and remain in your property.

And now I would like to invite you to claim your Free Instant Access to two of my Living Green Reports when you subscribe to the Living Green and Saving Energy Newsletter at

The newsletter brings you practical tips and information on how to create and enjoy a green lifestyle and save money. The newsletter is absolutely free!

Would you like to save up to $1000 per year for life by going green? The Ebook “6 Weeks To A Greener Lifestyle” shows you how. And “How To Take A Green Vacation” gives you all the information you need to travel in a more eco-friendly manner. Get all the details here:

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