Ever since it dawned on the world that the way we currently live is rapidly destroying the planet, people have been trying to reduce their carbon footprint.
The apartment rental market is no different and many tenants are changing their habits to improve sustainability. However, landlords can step up and make their properties more eco-friendly too. In some cases, landlords must upgrade their properties and apartments to be more energy efficient by law.
According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, “Since April 2020, landlords can no longer let properties covered by the Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations if they have an EPC rating below E”.
With the changing trends, landlords must keep up to ensure their flats are both legal and attractive to tenants. We’re going to look at the ways you can make your Manchester apartment appeal to eco-conscious tenants and keep your rental business profitable.
Heat has a habit of escaping from homes through any possible avenue. Flats and apartments are often particularly culpable, especially if they were once council homes. Trying to keep heat in can be done through good insulation techniques, especially if your property is less than a century old.
Most properties built after 1930 tend to have cavity walls that can be filled with insulating material quite easily and cheaply. Solid walls are more complicated and have to be insulated internally or externally. To insulate externally you need to use cladding, while internal insulation forces you to lose floor space.
The three main areas where heat is lost in a home are:
It is estimated that properties can lose as much as 35% of generated heat through uninsulated walls. Another 35% of heat is lost through the windows and 25% through the roof. Insulating these three areas can help your apartment appeal to eco-conscious tenants, particularly as heating homes is a major contributor to the UK’s carbon emissions.
“About 15% of the UK’s total carbon emissions come directly from homes, mostly from boilers burning gas for hot water and space heating”, says Ran Boydell of The Conversation. “That’s more than the entire agricultural sector at 10%”, he adds.
The less energy it takes to heat a home and the lower the utility bills are, the happier tenants will be. This will keep money in their pockets and ensure their eco-conscience will be eased.
Single-glazed windows are not going to appeal to many potential tenants if they view your apartment. However, many older flats still have these inefficient windows. They are drafty and offer little in the way of heat protection. Double and triple-glazed windows are a must these days because they make it much easier to heat rooms.
Modern windows can also be treated with special coatings that make them even more energy efficient. Energy bills are once again cut when introducing this level of insulation.
You can insulate an apartment further by eliminating drafts from windows and doors using simple weatherproofing techniques. Exterior doors are guilty of leaking cold air into properties which can be solved using a straightforward sweep at the bottom. Heavy curtains in front of windows and doors also go a long way towards catching drafts.
Switching to solar power is a great way to appeal to eco-conscious tenants while doing your bit to cut down your carbon footprint. It is also a cost-effective method to bring power to your rental home over the lifetime of the panels.
“As the price of energy has rocketed,” says Andrew Capstick of MoneySavingExpert, “generating solar power and using it yourself gives a far bigger saving now than it used to”.
Perhaps you have already made moves to ensure your apartment is sustainable and eco-conscious. Upgrading your property’s facilities is the first step but to ensure they are running as required, they need to be maintained.
For instance, you may have installed solar panels several years ago but without regular upkeep, they may be inefficient. While problems with solar panels are rare, you can expect to periodically replace the inverter as these don’t have a fantastic shelf life.
Unsurprisingly, underperforming solar panels won’t generate as much energy as possible. Get into the habit of regularly checking your generation metre to ensure your rental home is as energy efficient as it can be.
Times change and so do light bulbs. “Incandescent bulbs waste more energy”. says a leading industry expert at Light Supplier, “and are around 90% less efficient than LED energy-saving bulbs”.
LED light bulbs are more cost-effective despite costing more than regular bulbs at purchase. However, while normal filament bulbs are good for approximately 1,000 hours, LED light bulbs can last 20,000 hours. Therefore, one LED bulb is as good as 20 filament bulbs.
For example, if one filament bulb costs £1.50 and an LED costs £6, for 20,000 hours the LED price remains at £6 while the filament bulbs cost £30.
LED bulbs are not just longer lasting than filament bulbs, they are more energy-efficient too. It takes just 5 watts to power an LED light bulb which does the same job as that of a 40-watt filament bulb. That makes the LED bulb eight times more energy-efficient.
To make the lighting in your rental apartment even more energy-efficient, consider installing smart lighting that only turns on when someone enters a room. These lights turn off after a period of inactivity, saving the lifetime of the bulbs and reducing energy bills further.
Smart heating lets your tenants control when and where they heat their flats. It gives them the power to switch the heating on or off from their phones, while also allowing them to set different temperatures for different areas of the home. “Most people can expect to save between 10-20% on their current household heating bill if they fit a smart home system”, says Martyn Casserly from Tech Advisor.
Smart home systems can help even on milder days when the heating only has to be on for a short period to take the chill out of the apartment. They monitor the weather and factor temperature changes into the heating schedule. This can avoid having the heating on when there’s a surprise heatwave, for instance.
In the UK, the average person produces 150 litres of wastewater per day. 93% of total water consumption is used indoors, and only 7% outdoors, with 21% of wastage attributed to baths and taps.
Water is one of the most precious resources on the planet so finding ways to save it can set your rental property apart from the rest.
There are a few ways you can improve your flat’s water conservation:
Install taps that turn easily and reduce the risk of leaking; mixer taps are a great example of this. Furthermore, check for leaks regularly, as your tenants may not have spotted anything untoward.
“A well-manufactured shower head from a trusted brand will reduce water consumption by up to 60%”, says Tim Greenhalgh of SaveMoneyCutCarbon. He adds that “a quality low flow eco shower head saves water without making your shower feel like a drudge”.
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