Cool Off Your Utility Costs
Compared to individual residents, property managers have it made in the shade when it comes to reducing energy costs. They really only need to gain the support of either the building owners or their investors to make a unilateral maintenance decision.
However, when it comes to reducing individual energy costs and consumption, well, that’s when things get tricky.
More than a quarter of U.S. apartments bundle utilities into a tenant’s rent; these landlords have a vested interest in having the most efficient building shell components, heating and cooling equipment, and appliances. When those entities burn out or pump out too much juice, that’s an “uncontrolled expense," which no property managers wants.
Property managers can combat this by retrofitting their equipment with submeters. These allow residents to personally control and manage energy usage.
In buildings where renters pay their own energy costs, property managers can offer “green leases." These agreements enable everyone to share the benefits of energy-efficient upgrades to their utilities.
Looking for something simpler to pause your perspiration? These three tips lower energy costs and keep renters and homeowners cool under the collar:
1. Do some summer reading.
Nobody wants to study during the summer. But this bit of homework will put money back in your pocket.
According to the U.S. Department Of Energy, showing employees how to manage energy usage is an effective means to reduce rates. Showing tenants the same tricks can lead to drastic cost cuts.
Downsizing energy usage is an ongoing practice. There are plenty of no-cost and low-cost solutions to lowering energy bills — you just have to know where the big drainers are.
2. Soak up every last bit.
No element is as indispensable as water in the summer.
The benefits of low-cost water conservation technology are twofold. Not only will managers get the ROI they crave, but they’ll also save themselves the complaints and headaches that come with maintenance requests.
Shower flow regulators and toilet-tank, fill-cycle diverters do wonders for lowering water usage. The upfront costs of installing these will more than pay themselves off over time.
However, regular inspections ensure that your toilets actually flush the desired amount also help. Like any machinery, the internal parts go as far as your level of care lets them.
3. Fix every last leak.
The Environmental Protection Agency reported that 90 percent of residential leaks waste more than 90 gallons daily — yikes.
Here’s a stat for you: Residents who report leaks and perform regular drip inspections spend 20 to 50 percent less on water than those who don’t. Sudden spikes in water consumption usually stem from household appliances and even irrigation malfunctions.
Invest in a set of eyes that can identify such leaks. These easy fixes can yield massive savings if implemented regularly.
Don’t let summer months cook your utility costs. You can take back your building by simply doing your due diligence. Know that these efforts will pay off in the short term and continue to pay off down the road.
About the Author: David Schwartz is the founder and president of The Water Scrooge, which offers patented, maintenance-free water conservation solutions to homeowners and landlords. A native of Israel, David was inspired by the Israelis’ water conservation techniques and realized that U.S. markets lacked a tamper-proof conservation device for residential showers. His solution saves landlords an average of $500 per unit per year on water costs and has been installed in more than 40,000 apartments to date.