As the climate crisis becomes more acute and as protecting the environment becomes more of a central focus, I have looked for ways to lower my carbon footprint and to live for sustainability. At the same time, I’ve tried to find ways to make my properties more green and sustainable as well.
While I’ve made some major shifts, I’ve also seen the benefits that come from smaller, less-disruptive ones. Because of this, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve done with you all. Here are a few changes that I’ve made and some tips for ways that landlords can work to make their properties more environmentally friendly.
Personal Sustainability Shifts
In the last few years, I’ve really become focused on renewable energy and ways that I can reduce my carbon footprint by focusing on renewable energy sources. With that aim in mind, about three years ago I installed solar panels in my home in New Jersey. It was a great shift for me, and now that I split my time between New Jersey and Florida, I’ve added solar panels in my Florida home as well.
I was lucky in that New Jersey was one of the first states to offer solar renewable energy certificates (SRECS). Homeowners earn one SREC for every megawatt-hour of solar energy created, and utility companies are generally eager to buy these, as they’re required to produce a certain amount of renewable energy. In states offering SRECS, homeowners can offset the costs of solar panels by selling SRECS to utility companies.
It’s worth checking out the opportunities in your state. If there’s an SREC market, solar panels can offer an affordable, long-term way to live for sustainability.
In addition to shifting to solar energy, I wanted to find ways to reduce my gasoline consumption. While getting rid of a car completely wouldn’t work, I began looking into electric cars. I ended up purchasing a Tesla X and couldn’t be happier with the choice. It’s easy to charge at home or on the road and has reduced my reliance on fossil fuels without impacting my quality of life at all.
Shifts in Rental Properties
As I make personal shifts, I’ve also been thinking through ways I can make my rental properties more sustainable and help other landlords do the same. The limited number of states currently offering SRECS might not make solar panels a reasonable choice for all properties, but there are still plenty of other shifts that landlords can make.
If you have a garage or designated parking lot, consider installing 240V outlets. Doing so is an inexpensive and easy way to encourage tenants to switch to electric cars. And, as an added benefit, offering these outlets can also help attract new tenants and serve as a good marketing tool.
In addition to adding 240V outlets, think through other small shifts that can make your properties more sustainable. Maybe it’s adding bike racks to encourage tenants to bike more, adding a community garden in outdoor spaces, or even just planting more trees on the property. Additionally, shifting towards high-efficiency appliances and ensuring that buildings and windows are properly insulated can help to lower the carbon footprint of your properties.
Hopefully, these tips are helpful and will inspire you to come up with some more sustainable ideas of your own. Please don’t hesitate to reach out either to share additional ideas for sustainability or with any questions about how to get the most out of your experience as a landlord.