Tag Archives: apartment conservation

14 Ways to Use Less Energy in Your Rental

Energy efficient apartments have two moving parts: things you buy to be more efficient and things you do. This articles takes a look at some of the changes you can make as a renter that will have the biggest impact.

Turn down the thermostat while you sleep
You can save up to 10% on your heating and cooling bills each year just by turning your thermostat down by 7-10 degrees for eight hours a day. If you have control over your apartment’s thermostat, turn it down before you go to bed and then snuggle up under the covers to stay warm while you save some dough. If you don’t have pets, you can also turn the heat down during any hours that you’re not at home.

Weatherstrip your windows
Windows are one of the main ways that your apartment loses heat in the winter, which in turn forces your heating system to work overdrive to maintain balance. Fortunately, there are a number of affordable weatherstripping products that are simple to apply to your windows and help keep the cold air outside where it belongs. If you rent in a particularly old building, consider adding two layers of weatherstripping material to ensure your efforts pay off. Sound like too much work? You could also place a rolled up towel in front of the window sill to block drafts from coming through.

Draft-proof your outlets
Like windows, outlets can let in drafts from the outside that offset your apartment’s heating and cooling efforts. Put your hand in front of each outlet on a cold day and feel for any cold air coming through, or just see if your outlets themselves feel especially cold. If either of those things are the case, use gaskets—little plastic plugs that fit in your outlets—to seal them up and keep the air out. Gaskets plug in and out easily, so you can remove them when you need to use the outlet.

Click here for the complete article Energy Efficient Apartments: 14 Ways to Use Less Energy in Your Rental

 

 

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Is It Time For Your Community To Invest In New Toilets?

Many people don’t know you can test your toilet for a secret leak in three easy steps and in less than 20 minutes.

1. Put 10 drops of food coloring in the tank.
2. Don’t flush for 15 minutes.
3. If the colored water shows up in the bowl, you have a leak.

Encourage your residents to report leaks as soon as they are spotted. If leaks are happening more and more, it’s time to consider new toilets or retrofitting your current hardware.

Six Ways to Save Energy and Money This Winter

For most of the country, winter means several months of chilly temperatures, hot bowls of soup, and snowflakes in the air. But it doesn’t have to mean costly utility bills. Whether you’re concerned about your monthly payment or your environmental impact, there are a few simple steps you can take to save electricity in your apartment this winter.

  1. Wrap your windows. As a renter, you can’t install storm windows or replace older, drafty single-pane windows. But you can still seal out the cold. Use heat-shrink plastic wrap, sold in kits for varying window sizes, that trap a layer of insulating air to block out wintry winds. It might not be the most stylish solution, but, if you live in an area with blustery winters, these kits can save you up to $20 per window throughout the heating season.
  2. Turn down the heat. You rarely spend all day inside your apartment, so why should you spend all day paying to heat it? Before you leave for work or school, turn down your thermostat a few degrees. Lowering the temperature while you’re away can lower your heating bill by about 10%, according to Energy.gov. But don’t keep your apartment too cold: To prevent pipes from freezing, you should heat your apartment to at least 50 degrees — warmer if you have pets.
  3. Open the curtains. If you have south-facing windows, where the sun spends its time in the winter sky, open those curtains let the sun stream in. Although you probably spent most of the summer trying to keep the sun from turning your apartment into an oven, now is the time to take full advantage of the sun’s warm rays.
  4. Use your ceiling fan. During the summer, your ceiling fan should be spinning counterclockwise to push down a cooling breeze. During winter, reverse the direction so that your fan is pushing air up. Keep it on a low-speed, and the fan will  circulate heat more efficiently and keep your home warmer.
  5. Bust out the blankets. Keeping your apartment at a cooler temperature while you’re away has its benefits, but if you also keep them a few degrees lower while you’re home, your savings will be even greater. Energy.gov estimates that you can save about 1% of your heating bill for every degree you lower your thermostat, so bundle up with sweatshirts and blankets instead of cranking the heat up to 75 degrees.
  6. Block drafts. Is there ice building up on the inside of your window? Turn the lock. Locking your windows in the winter time creates a seal that blocks out winter winds and prevents this buildup. Also, many apartments have a locked closet that holds their HVAC unit, which vents outside and, unfortunately, lets cold air into your apartment. Use a door snake or a tightly wrapped towel to block the draft and keep your warm air inside.

Saving energy in the winter isn’t just a homeowners game. Your pocketbook (or your property manager’s) can still reap the benefits of a few thoughtful tweaks around your apartment.

Originally published by ABODO

Increase Asset Value with Water Conservation Retrofit

It’s no surprise that multifamily properties often have high water consumption. Resident habits, pools, laundry rooms and sprinkler systems all contribute to increased usage and as a result – costly utility bills.

Common reasons for high water usage:

  • Residents often aren’t aware of leaks or don’t report them when discovered – 20% of all toilets leak at any given time.
  • Water conservation tips aren’t provided to residents (many residents see no relationship between the amount of water they use and their cost to live in the property).
  • Older fixtures.
  • Poor or aging plumbing.

Managing a property’s water expense varies based on the individual owner as well as city and state regulations. An owner may choose to invest in a submetering system that measures each unit’s actual consumption. If a submetering system is not an option or outside of the owner’s budget, an allocation method may be used to calculate usage and distribute charges among the residents. For some properties, such as affordable housing, residents are not billed for their water usage which can pose a heavy burden on already taxed budgets.  An effective water conservation program not only reduces consumption but has the potential to lower monthly water bills by up to 40%.

How an Affordable Housing Community Saved $500,000

An affordable housing client faced an increase in residents along with a decrease in funding and grant support. The management team decided it was time to explore solutions that would conserve both resources and dollars. The solution: Minol’s Water Conservation Program.

More than Shower Heads and Flappers

Minol developed the Water Conservation Program to minimize excessive water consumption within communities. This unique and innovative program utilizes a combination of high-quality components and a proven methodology developed more than 30 years ago.

The evaluation process to identify eligible properties is complimentary and begins with a Minol team member analyzing specific property survey information and 12 months of water usage. As the team identifies properties that need help, Minol rebuilds property components at its own expense through its Pay-Out-of-Savings Program. Minol’s investment is recovered through the savings generated, which is typically within 12 months. “The Pay-Out-of-Savings component was a key differentiator from other water conservation programs we had researched. We saw savings within months of implementing the program,” said a client representative.

Program Implementation and Results

The client provided property and water usage information for 162 properties with 15,007 units to Minol for evaluation. The Minol team identified 31 properties with 3,418 units that qualified for the program. The client chose to implement their water conservation plan in four phases. All toilets were retrofitted with highly-effective toilet flappers, while low-flow showerheads and aerators were also installed.

The team is very pleased with the results Minol’s Water Conservation program has yielded for their communities.


Will Your Property Qualify for Pay Out of Savings?

The criteria below are typical qualifiers. A simple survey and analysis can determine if your property qualifies. 

  • Property is older than 5 years
  • More than 100 units
  • Owner pays water (or water is allocated)
  • Water/sewer bills are more than $250 per unit annually