One of the interesting topics at the 2009 NARPM national convention was energy efficiency and emissions. Most property managers have already adopted green practices both for themselves and for educating their clients, but the perception may not meet the reality. I recently asked a local area green expert and contract worker for the Department of Energy if a few of my owners could hire him to do some energy evaluations of their properties. He just about flat out refused! He even went so far as to say that he worked on a municipal committee and they all agreed that landlords would be too cheap to make green improvements. Two days later, my owner just went ahead and put in an $8000 Energy Star 15 Seer AC unit without an energy study on his building. If he had an energy study would he have considered other improvements? Absolutely.
Bosshardt Property Management recently asked our landlords if they would be interested in some type of green evaluation or measurement of their property. Most replies were that they were in fact interested, but had already made substantial improvements to their homes. The reality of the situation is that it's often up to the tenants to make decisions and lifestyle changes that reduce energy usage. "Property Managers have to green the planet, one tenant at a time," said Sina Sheku, activist and founder of Propertyware.
The truth is there are a lot of things we can do to educate our tenants on how slight changes might just make a big impact. For years, we have pushed tenants to change air filters monthly from a maintenance aspect, which can increase the lifespan of A/C units and decrease costs. We haven't ever really pushed it from the perspective of saving energy, which feels good and should put more money in our tenants pocketbooks.
Pictured above is our complimentary tenant move in package. We've added a CFL light bulb to illustrate the point that reducing energy use can be easy, cheap, and fun for all of our tenants. In the very near future, we will have our properties categorized by their level of green improvements. "We are making improvements to both our tenant education and marketing efforts. This is really a two pronged effort from our owners and our tenants," said General Manager Ashley Morrell.