The climate is changing and so are resident expectations when it comes to living green. It’s not enough for apartments to look good anymore, they need to be good too. As the multifamily world keeps trying to meet the long list of demands of the modern consumer, we need to add one more item to that list: sustainability. Residents want what they want, but they also want to make a difference. Sustainability sounds expensive, but really it’s not! Don’t fiddle around with nickels and dimes, when it’s dollars that are at stake. And so begins a new challenge for multifamily communities: how to go green without losing any green.
Let’s start with the right appliances. Smart technology is upgrading, and these days, it’s easier than ever to equip apartment units with devices that raise quality and lower waste. Smart lights are one of the easiest ways to conserve electricity. Companies like LittleBird specialize in smart light tech that are great for both residents and energy efficiency. These cool new gadgets are controlled from a mobile app, connected to motion sensors, or even on a timer to make sure residents aren’t wasting energy on lights that don’t need to be on. They’ll be impressed, first with such modern technology and second with such low electricity bills! But don’t stop at lights. Next time you do some remodeling, consider investing in more energy-efficient tech for the whole unit. I’m talking washing machines, refrigerators, dishwashers – you name it, it can go greener. Energy-Star is one of the leading programs in energy-smart machinery, and it’s got everything an eco-friendly complex could ever want. Decking your apartments out with smart tech will pay off in the long run, as residents realize they’re getting more sustainability for their buck.
If your apartment has a recycling system in place, way to go! But for those that don’t, it’s time to hop on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” train. Placing recycling bins in units or outside in public spaces will communicate to residents that the property takes saving the planet seriously, and a community effort to reduce personal waste can go a long way towards a healthier living space. If recycling doesn’t seem feasible for your property, talk to neighboring businesses to find out how they handle their disposables. Get help from someone who’s already got a plan in place! Third party companies like Waste Management are leading the sustainability effort by taking care of recycling that businesses don’t know what to do with.
And recycling doesn’t just mean throwing things away in the right bin. It can also mean reusing anything and everything. Multifamily properties can recycle anything from appliances to building materials, saving money on new stuff and saving the planet in one fell swoop! Your property should be a leader in neighborhood recycling plans, since having so many people in one space gives you a prime opportunity.
Water conservation is a huge piece in the sustainability puzzle, and small changes can save big money. Low-flow faucets, toilets, and shower heads are a great place to start. They save water by using less to accomplish everyday tasks, like washing hands and dishes. And less water doesn’t mean less pressure – quality low-flow devices can provide the same water experience with a fraction of the waste. They also help combat leaks, which the EPA warns contribute a ton to the waste issue. Households can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water a year thanks to leaky faucets – and that’s not the kind of drip you want! Water conservation can help prevent too much water and too much money from going down the drain.
Start a Community Garden
Show residents that you’re serious about the sustainability lifestyle with something they can all do together! You don’t need a green thumb to help the community go green, and gardens are a fun way to get everyone involved. Planting your own fruits, veggies, and flowers can bring residents closer to nature and closer to each other. Sustainability starts with the right mindset, so give your residents a vested interest in sustaining the world around them. Saving the planet is a scary concept because most people don’t know where to start, but the answer is simple: right at home.
Provide Residents with the Right Tools
Since going green starts at home, make sure your residents are equipped with everything they’ll need to keep their community eco-friendly. Provide cleaning supplies that are good for the environment. Hand out reusable bags at community events. Post information about public transportation in the area, and find out which local businesses care about sustainability as much as you. These will help your residents feel more connected to the property, which in turn will make them want to stay longer. Your apartment complex can also become an example to the rest of the community as a paragon of sustainability, and that won’t hurt business one bit.
At the end of the day, sustainable living is a must-have for modern residents, and an environmentally-conscious property will stand out. Going green doesn’t have to break the bank—in fact, the investment will help multifamily properties save money and attract residents in the long run. It’s time to bring eco-friendly living into the multifamily world.