Tag Archives: apartment conservation

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

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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