June 13, 2012
Green As You Go
Going green doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There are changes you can make, bit-by-bit, that will make a big difference over time. Replacing equipment in increments, changing habits, and attracting green-minded tenants are all ways to reduce your energy consumption and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Here are a few ideas you may want to consider to get started down the green path.
Taking a unit-by-unit approach relieves you from the financial burden of overhauling your entire property at the same time. To keep the inconvenience to a minimum, introduce changes when you are readying an apartment for a new tenant.
Install a low-flow toilet and low-flow showerhead. New products on the market don’t sacrifice pressure to save water, are stylish and quite affordable.
Choose low-VOC, non-toxic paint. Allow your new tenant to pick the colour from samples you provide. This step makes it less likely that they will re-paint using toxic supplies, and the control over colour in their space will encourage them stay longer.
Replace standard incandescent lighting. There are so many more energy efficient lighting solutions on the market now than ever before. Consider halogen, LED and fluorescent options and whether you can switch out only the bulb or need to change the fixture.
Use green cleaning products. Selecting cleaners that are all natural and biodegradable is not only good for the planet; it’s good for your tenant, as it leaves no toxic residues behind. From counters to carpets, tell your new residents how you’ve taken their health to heart, and they’ll appreciate your efforts.
Not only is going green good for the environment, it’s good for your bottom line. For instance, replacing an old high-capacity and inefficient toilet with a low-flow, smaller-tank toilet could pay for itself in a year with savings on your water bill.
It’s worthwhile investigating if you are eligible for a retrofit grant from Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency or if you qualify for provincial energy rebates for your building.
For All Residents
Lead the way in fostering a more conscientious green-attitude amongst your residents. When you make changes to include more environmentally friendly options, promote your efforts to the residents and encourage them to participate in creating a healthier community.
Go paperless. Work towards a paperless office and offer online rent payments, email account statements, and building notifications and alerts through their mobile phones.
Encourage green transport. Promote the convenience of nearby public transit and the benefits of taking a bicycle instead of a car. Then, support those ideas by adopting your closest transit shelter and keeping it clean, as well as offering convenient, secure, dry parking for bicycles.
Landscape responsibly. Choose drought-resistant plants requiring less water and avoid using toxic chemical fertilizers or weed killers. When looking to repair damaged lawn, consider more eco-friendly alternatives to grass.
Garden space. If you have the room, create a community garden program where residents opt-in, use their own plants and agree to maintain it. Choose a place that is accessible, with moderate sunlight, and provide the garden bedding for raised, container, or ground-level gardens.
Promote recycling. Beyond paper and plastic, there are so many other items that can be recycled or disposed of responsibly. If your city doesn’t offer pick up, organize your own through regular events to benefit the whole building. Consider starting a compost program or semi-annual collections for proper disposal of old medication, batteries, propane bottles, electronics, toxic items and household goods.
Green team. People who are ecologically motivated have great ideas and are more willing to help others to make responsible choices. Consider forming a green tenants group to work with you to create a healthier environment for everyone.
Attract green tenants. Promote your advances in green property management to attract like-minded people to your building. Be sure to mention your ethics and approach in your property marketing and you’ll find more people who will be as committed to reducing their environmental impact as you. As well, eco-minded tenants tend to waste less resources like heat and water.
Going green can evolve over time with simple efforts that add up to great improvements. Take the lead in lowering your carbon footprint and keeping toxic chemicals out of our environment. The most important thing is to just make a start. Do it today.