Here at Multifamily Utility, we’re more than a little obsessed with reducing utility expenses and encouraging conservation efforts. When it comes time to give your property a little facelift, here are some ideas to consider:
High-CFM ceiling fans
On a recent shopping trip, I noticed a minimal price difference between high-CFM ceiling fans and the average builder-grade fan. A high-CFM ceiling fan will help residents sleep better and reduce your air conditioning load. As luck would have it, my existing ceiling fan had just failed. My new fan was $169 and puts out a fantastic amount of breeze that keeps the room so comfortable, even on a 100-degree day.
These will make an enormous difference at properties that are including utilities in rent or charging a flat fee. Your residents don’t see the usage bills, so have little incentive to conserve. With a thermostat that senses when they are not home, you can at least avoid the most excessive waste.
Low-flow Shower-heads, Faucets, and Toilets
Water is our most precious resource and is increasingly in-demand. New low-flow products are optimized to feel as luxurious as their wasteful older predecessors. You can save up to $246 per year from a single low-flow showerhead.
I did this in my own home five years ago, and my bills dropped dramatically in the summer and winter, and the whole building feels more consistent and comfortable. My ROI on a $1200 insulation investment was just six months. Even in new construction, the insulation can settle and fail to provide adequate protection from heat and cold.
There are so many excellent energy star appliances at every price point. An energy star oven or refrigerator can save $20 or more per month per unit.
If your units don’t have energy star appliances yet, refrigerators are a great place to start. Not only will residents delight in a new appliance, but you’ll also be reducing utilities significantly. The payback on energy star refrigerators can be $20 per month per unit for the life of the unit.
Smart Power Strips
You might want to gift this to new residents to help motivate conservation. Many appliances and electronics are behaving as energy zombies and draining energy without even being on. Almost 10% of electricity is used by zombie electronics that are powered up and not actively being used.
Maintain Existing Systems
Ensuring furnaces and A/C units are in good working order will reduce energy dramatically, and avoid resident calls from poorly performing systems. Make sure to change the filters on A/C regularly to keep the unit performing at its best.
Make Usage Visible
Aside from draining your profit, flat-rate and bundled utilities present a real problem for residents in that they have no idea what they are using. A utility recovery system is little to no out-of-pocket for you and much better than a rent increase for residents to cover increasing utilization. When your residents see their usage, it makes it easier to think about conservation efforts. If you want to know how much you can recover, we’ll tell you for free. Just request a free consultation.
Download our water conservation tips for multifamily residents.