Eco-Friendly Upgrades: Enhancing Your Rental Property's Sustainability - Article Banner

With a lot of increased awareness around environmental sustainability, green living, and climate change, more and more tenants in San Jose and throughout Silicon Valley are making sustainable, green living a priority. They want to live in rental homes that match their values. 

Making your investment property stand out as an eco-friendly option not only benefits the planet, but it also attracts environmentally conscious tenants who are willing to pay premium prices for environmentally responsible living spaces. 

Think of these eco-friendly upgrades as an opportunity to increase your property value and reduce energy costs. Let’s explore various sustainable upgrades that can make your rental property greener without compromising on style or functionality.

Low-Cost, High-Impact Changes for Rental Homes

If you like the idea of making upgrades that will attract tenants and raise rents but you’re not completely sold on making your property totally carbon-neutral, we get it. Before we start talking about larger investments, there are several low-cost upgrades that can immediately enhance your rental’s sustainability. Try one of these easy upgrades that won’t cost a lot but will provide a lot of solid returns:

  • Swap in LED Lights: Replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient LED lighting reduces energy consumption and lowers electricity bills. 
  • Install Low-Flow Fixtures: Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators are inexpensive, easy to install, and save significant amounts of water.
  • Smart Thermostats: By adjusting heating and cooling when tenants are away, smart thermostats can offer savings on energy bills.
  • Seal Windows and Doors: Prevent air leakage by caulking windows and weather stripping doors. This improves insulation and energy efficiency.

These are some great places to start when it comes to eco-friendly upgrades. They’re also proof that these improvements do not have to damage your budget or require too much of an effort. You can make these changes during turnover periods or even offer them during lease renewal time, as an incentive for current tenants to stay in place. 

Energy-Efficient Rental Home Appliances 

If you’ve been called to repair a refrigerator or a dryer several times in the course of a lease, it might be time to stop repairing it. 

Replace it, instead. 

And, since you’re replacing it, why not replace that old appliance with an energy-efficient model? 

Choosing appliances that have the ENERGY STAR rating can also add value to a property and make your rental home far more attractive to prospective and current tenants. Reliable, attractive appliances are essential when you’re marketing your home and trying to keep your vacancy and turnover rates low. Tenants want appliances that look good and work well. When they’re likely to use less energy, you’re in an even stronger position. 

Kitchen appliances are especially important. Tenants need a refrigerator that works well and a dishwasher that isn’t loud. They want efficient, modern models. In-unit laundry is also essential to modern tenants, so don’t forget your efficient washers and dryers. Stackable models are small and can save space as well as energy.

We know that ENERGY STAR-rated appliances use less energy than older models, so you’ll want to look for those brands that can help you and your tenants save money on energy bills. 

Here’s a statistic from the Department of Energy that you might find interesting: Replacing a refrigerator that is over 10 years old with a new ENERGY STAR-rated one can save you an average of $270 over 5 years on electric bills alone. That’s a lot of savings that you’re passing onto tenants, who will be grateful.

Solar Panels as an Eco-Friendly Upgrade

We are one of the most solar-friendly states in the U.S. California has embraced solar energy, and there are a number of reasons for this. First of all, we have a lot of sunshine. Why not harness the power of this natural and present resource? Also, California has always been ahead of trends, and the data we have on solar supports that. 

This type of upgrade is costlier than changing out your light bulbs, but it can lead to significant savings on utility bills, increase your property value, and reduce your carbon footprint. It also sets you apart in a crowded market. People will notice and remember the rental home with the solar panels. 

There has lately been a strong push to invest in more solar energy, and when you get in on this trend, you set yourself up as a leader. Installing solar panels at your rental property would be a notable eco-friendly upgrade, and one sure to get the attention of tenants who are environmentally aware.

Solar panels not only produce clean energy but can also help investors and their tenants save money on energy costs. According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell faster and for more money than those without. On average, properties with solar panels sell for 4.1% more than those without, according to a Zillow study. 

Influencing Behavior and Engaging Tenants 

Attract TenantsBy making these upgrades, you’re likely to attract tenants who are interested in being environmentally responsible. Remind them that behavior is a big part of conservation, too. You’ve provided the tools, and now they need to think about how they can contribute to sustainability efforts with you. 

Provide educational materials. You give your tenants information about recycling, energy savings, hot water heater settings, and water conservation. Direct them to resources on the Department of Energy website. Make sure they have all the recycling bins they need, including a bin for organic waste.

Remember that eco-upgrades don’t just benefit the planet and tenants; they provide perks for property owners as well. You can probably qualify for tax credits and rebates. Sometimes, you’ll get a tax break when you install energy-efficient systems or buy an ENERGY STAR appliance. 

There’s also the increasing property values that come with green upgrades. Sustainability is an attractive feature whether you’re renting your home out or selling it

You’ll also reduce your operating costs with these upgrades. Lower utility bills are good for tenants and owners, and you may find there are reduced maintenance costs over the long term. 

Let’s make your rental property as environmentally friendly as we can. Please contact us at Aborn Properties with any questions or for more information.