How to Transform a Rental into an Energy-Efficient Hub

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A sustainable lifestyle and concern for the environment have become an integral part of home building and improvement practice and while it might seem to be beneficial only for homeowners, there are many things landlords can implement as well to improve the energy efficiency of their rental units.

Clearly, you wouldn’t want to spend a large amount of money on your rental property, but if you use some of the following tips, you can greatly increase the energy efficiency of your rental.

Heating and cooling systems

One of the best ways to enable your tenants to cut down on their energy consumption is by installing a programmable thermostat. Given that the heating/cooling costs make up the biggest part of the energy bill, a thermostat that costs only around $50 can help a lot in saving energy. It can cut the monthly bills, reduce the energy consumption by regulating the temperature when no one is at home and greatly lower the carbon footprint. 

Another big energy consumer in a rental unit is the water heater especially the older models. Most of them have poor insulation and struggle to maintain an ideal temperature. Moreover, their default temperature setting is usually at 78 degrees which you can easily reduce to 68. This temperature reduction will firstly reduce the risks of scalding but it will also reduce the electrical bill and save you big money in the long run.

Finally, the furnace filter needs to be maintained and replaced regularly. A clean filter enables the furnace to run efficiently, it’s quite inexpensive and easily replaced. On the plus side, it will ensure better indoor air quality, optimal performance of your HVAC unit and reduce the utility costs.

Caulking and sealing

Caulking and sealing play a vital role in preventing any leaks that lead to heat loss or gain. Older rental properties usually have cracks in the caulking of the windows which allows air to leak and if there are only single glass panels, the heat loss is enormous.

The best course of action is having your windows both resealed and double glazed. Having double glazing in Canberra, for example, where the climate can be quite harsh in the winter and mercilessly hot in the summer, can bring you many benefits: excellent soundproofing, high level of thermal protection and comfort in your home. It will also reduce energy consumption and cut your energy bills.

Saving electricity

If your rental has several smaller appliances in use and it’s safe to assume your tenants will watch the TV and plug in their computers and phone chargers, you’ll need to position several power strips around the premises. However, even if the appliances and gadgets aren’t in use, they can still pull current. To avoid this, use a smart energy strip as they will protect your electrical equipment from power surges, eliminate phantom charges and reduce the overall energy consumption.

To further improve the energy efficiency of your rental unit, switch to LED lighting. These have become much more affordable than before and even though they’re still a bit more expensive than traditional light bulbs, they will bring you savings in the long run as they last longer. 

Blocking out the sun

Stylish blinds and elegant curtains do contribute to the décor but they also play an important part in preserving the thermal comfort of your rental. Consider putting up both sheer and heavy curtains so that enough light comes in but when the sun hits in summer, heavy curtains can be pulled to stop the heat from getting inside. 

By adding blinds to the equation, you ensure your tenants have their privacy but also keep the elements at bay. Blinds can help in blocking out the sun in summer, keeping the warmth inside in winter and shielding the floors and carpeting from fading.

Improving indoor air humidity

Having a humidifier can greatly improve your indoor air quality but it also helps in keeping the indoor temperature feel warmer since dry air makes it feel colder. This will allow the tenants to turn the thermostat down by one degree which will save money long term. 

Some HVAC systems have a built-in humidifier but even if yours doesn’t, you can invest in a portable one and you’ll get your return on investment with lower heating costs.

Cleaning refrigerator coils

If you’re not willing to invest in new energy-efficient appliances for your rental property, there are ways you can tweak the existing ones for better savings. Refrigerators have coils in the back that can corrode easily by accumulating debris and dust causing them to work harder and use more energy. By cleaning these coils you can improve their efficiency, reduce their energy consumption and extend their longevity.

There are many different ways of improving the energy-efficiency of your rental property, even if you plan to sell it later on, but you don’t need to implement all of them at once. Study these tips and at the pace that your budget allows, start introducing them one by one until it becomes a truly energy-efficient hub.