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Making Homes More Energy Efficient for Renters

Although sustainability is growing more popular, only some households can make immense changes because they don’t own the space and only live there temporarily.

When most people think about making a house sustainable, they picture solar panels installations or new smart devices. Even though those are excellent home additions, many people can’t commit to them because they only rent. Making homes more energy efficient for renters is just as important, even if the changes aren’t always permanent.

Why Renters Need Energy Efficiency

Although sustainability is growing more popular, only some households can make immense changes because they don’t own the space and only live there temporarily. On top of that, many rental properties aren’t updated to reflect modern expectations.

For instance, an investigation by the British Broadcasting Corporation found that 60% of rental homes in the United Kingdom fail to meet proposed energy efficiency standards. Many of those residents said they often needed things like extra heating despite paying large monthly bills.

Since low-income households are more likely to rent than own, they often must deal with drafts, leaks or high costs. Even though they can’t make many additions or upgrades, they deserve to benefit from energy-efficient living. If landlords and tenants work together, they can make their homes more sustainable.

How Rental Properties Can Be More Energy Efficient

Plenty of methods exist to make homes more energy efficient for renters, even if they can’t make significant upgrades. Minor changes can go a long way in making them more livable and sustainable.

1.    Upgraded Equipment

Heating and cooling are necessary year-round for comfortable living, so they’re one of the biggest things renters and property owners can focus on. Old equipment consumes significantly more energy on average than newer versions, so getting updates can help. Although the initial expense may be high, the long-term savings can add up quickly. Still, repair and cleaning can do a lot if an upgrade isn’t possible at the moment.

2.    Certification

While a certification won’t save power by itself, it lets renters and landlords know what standards to follow, helping them stay sustainable. For instance, rental properties can become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified — a third-party quality assurance program that checks air quality, energy efficiency and water conservation, among other things. Property owners can check for anything local and see how close they are to qualifying for a certificate, which may encourage them to take the extra steps.

3.    Better Lightbulbs

On average, a rental home’s monthly electric bill is around $121 in the United States, although it depends on location, household size and time of year. Investing in some lightbulbs is a simple way to bring that number down. While most people have already upgraded over the years, plenty of properties are older and haven’t yet.

An LED bulb is more energy efficient than other versions because it takes much less power to turn on and produce light. Installing multiple is affordable and can be incredibly sustainable. On top of that, it’s a super easy process since many options are available at local hardware stores and it doesn’t take any special knowledge to install one. Renters might even be able to ask their landlord for a break on utilities for a month if they do it themselves.

4.    Insulation

A rental property might use too much energy even with a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system. It can only keep a stable inside climate if it’s adequately insulated. For example, heat could escape through the roof without something like spray foam to keep it inside. When properly trapped, however, it takes less energy to bring a home to a comfortable temperature and keep it there.

Insulation can significantly increase savings on heating and cooling, so landlords can install it between renters or before the colder months to maximize affordability. On top of providing a better living situation for the tenants, it’s much more sustainable.

5.    Different Showerheads

Even if a property owner can’t justify the cost of a new, energy-efficient water fixture, renters can save some money on their utilities and live more sustainably. While households in the U.S. typically use 2.5 gallons of water every shower, a WaterSense showerhead uses only two gallons, saving them around 2,700 gallons annually.

The label marks appliances and accessories as good for the environment, so it’s reliable. Something as simple as changing out the showerhead can increase affordability and contribute to an eco-friendly lifestyle.

6.    Weatherstripping

Heating costs can take up about half of a household’s energy bill in the colder months. While they could simply bundle up with extra blankets, making the rental property efficient will make things much more affordable. Anything that keeps the inside temperature steady can help.

Weatherstripping, for example, is the process of sealing cracks to keep out drafts. Usually, cold air gets in or warm air gets out through the small space under doors or windowsills. Landlords can do a professional installation or renters can fix it themselves. It’s a pretty simple process that can save a lot on the monthly bill.

The Outcome of Energy-Efficient Homes

Making homes more energy efficient for tenants is beneficial to everyone involved. They get to live comfortably and sustainably, while landlords can save money on upkeep and increase their property value. Plus, the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Research found renters will pay higher rent in exchange for investments in energy-efficient upgrades. The additions and upgrades support both parties, and the outcome is beneficial for everyone.

Energy-Efficient Homes for Renters

Many temporary and permanent solutions can change to support the well-being of renters and the planet. Landlords can still benefit from investing in energy-efficient changes because they increase their property value and appeal to new prospective tenants. Overall, the outcome of such upgrades are positive, and many are simple and quick.

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