Renting out a multifamily property comes with many expenses. Electricity or energy management is one of them and can be a hefty charge if left unchecked. It is not just the number of electrical appliances we use around a house that affects the rate of electricity consumption, but the way the house is designed as well. As such, finding ways how to operate multifamily housing more energy efficiently will reduce the costs of utility bills for both renters and tenants.
The Benefits Of Being Energy-Efficient
Operating multifamily properties with energy efficiency in mind can benefit both the environment as well as overall profits. By reducing energy consumption, each tenant in that building will be leaving a smaller carbon footprint, thereby benefiting the local community.
For the property owners, the benefits include lower expenses every month, fewer complaints/requests from tenants that could lead to additional expenditures, and as a result, the rent per unit can be reduced opening up access to more people.
Tenants, similarly, would benefit from lower utility bills as well as more affordable housing. Therefore, whether you’re a property manager or a tenant, integrating energy-saving practices will bring about a more sustainable and economical living situation.
Energy Management For Multifamily Housing
1. Implementing Smart Light Solutions
LED lighting should be your go-to for all the common areas of the property and the individual units. LED bulbs are the most energy-efficient form of lighting currently available, and they also have a much longer lifespan (25 times longer) than most other bulbs. By using LEDs, you will be saving over 90% of the energy cost of using a regular incandescent bulb while also reducing the frequency of replacing the bulbs. You can then install occupancy sensors and timers to ensure that lights are only switched on when needed.
2. Appliance Upgrades
Most household appliances now come with energy-saving options. You should look for the Energy Star appliances label which indicates that those appliances consume less energy while providing a similar level of performance. If the HVAC systems, water heaters, and laundry machines currently installed are outdated, you should consider the newer models with better energy efficiency.
3. Sealing and Insulation
One of the best ways to reduce energy consumption is to thoroughly insulate the property. Sealing any existing gaps, cracks, and leaks throughout the building will prevent cold drafts and heat loss. This will help maintain comfortable indoor temperatures, thereby directly reducing the need for constant heating or cooling. You should consider insulating the ground floors, roofs, and exterior or interior walls of each housing unit. It is estimated that you can save up to 15% of your heating and cooling energy costs by insulating a home.
4. HVAC Maintenance and Upgrades
HVAC systems are one of the largest consumers of energy in a building. They can make up anywhere between 30% – 50% of your total energy bill. Therefore, it is best to ensure that these systems are always running at optimal efficiency through regular maintenance. You could also consider upgrading to a smart thermostat system that automatically sets precise temperature control and scheduling for energy efficiency.
5. Water Conservation Efforts
The usage of water has a direct impact on energy costs. Basically, the lower the amount of water consumed, the more significant the savings in energy. As such, installing water-saving appliances such as low-flow faucets and showerheads can come in handy. Additionally, steps should be taken to identify and repair any leaks in each unit quickly and efficiently.
6. Renewable Energy Integration
If you have the capital to invest in renewable energy sources for your multifamily property, that would be a worthy investment in the long run. Solar panels are expensive up-front, but by using them, homeowners can sometimes achieve close to 100% energy independence. At the least, you would be saving between 60% – 70% of your annual energy bills. Since the business of renting is a project for the long term, this is definitely an area you need to explore for energy efficiency.
7. Smart Building Management Systems
Invest in building management systems (BMS) that provide real-time monitoring and control of energy usage. These systems can automatically adjust lighting, HVAC, and other systems based on occupancy and usage patterns.
8. Tenant Engagement and Education
Even though you make the necessary renovations and upgrades to a property, the bulk of the energy savings will depend on the usage. If your tenants do not follow energy-saving practices, the benefits obtained would be to a much lower degree. Therefore, educating residents with knowledge about energy-efficient practices should be a priority. This can be done through informational materials and incentives to encourage energy-conscious behaviors. You should highlight why these practices will benefit them in the long run.
9. Regular Energy Audits
Finally, as a measure to ensure the sustainability of energy savings, you need to conduct annual energy audits to identify areas for improvement. These audits can help you identify any hidden inefficiencies in the property and implement better energy efficiency initiatives every year.
As the property owner, the responsibility of operating multifamily properties in an energy-efficient manner is yours alone. You need to provide the foundation, and then impart the process of energy savings to your tenants so that the property can continue to run with lower energy consumption for years to come.
Even though these practices may be costly upfront, the cost savings will make up for it in the long run. To be sure of this, you can do a cost-benefit analysis to identify if implementing these changes will truly benefit your property.