Beat the Heat: 7 Ways to Save on Utility Costs in Multifamily Properties
Environmental conservation tips to increase profitability across your portfolio
From a heat dome in the Southwest to record-setting temps in the Central U.S., property owners are looking for ways to keep utility costs down even as residents turn up the AC.
Making simple yet effective upgrades that conserve water and increase energy efficiency will positively impact your portfolio’s bottom line and inspire loyalty with residents who value conservation efforts.
Here are seven steps property managers can take to keep utility costs down and residents cool this summer:
The first step in saving on utility costs is measuring your current spending and usage. Determine your baseline using a self-assessment or engage a third party like ENERGY STAR. Once you understand your current usage, you can set goals for conservation and higher NOI.
Tracking will also leave your portfolio better equipped to meet local environmental compliance standards as more local governments require benchmarking by building owners to meet carbon emission targets.
- Bring in an expert
Residents don’t want to wait for lower utility bills, and neither should you. Bringing on an expert can activate your ESG upgrades quickly and provide a strategic roadmap for the work, resulting in instant savings.
When vetting an external partner, look for:
- Full-service water and energy conservation capabilities from portfolio strategy, site assessments, analysis, and benchmarking.
- Experience. Sustainability is a hot topic, and many newcomers to the industry are looking to capitalize on the trend. Make sure you partner with a reputable vendor with the bandwidth to execute your project.
- Conserve water
Summer in multifamily properties means amenities like pools, hot tubs, landscaping, and showers are in constant use. Minor water leaks from these fixtures, along with those from residential toilets, sinks, and shower heads account for nearly one trillion gallons of wasted water each year, according to the EPA. Increase profits and decrease water and sewer costs by making in-unit and exterior upgrades, including high-efficiency toilets and faucets, leak detectors, pipe insulation, hot water tank wraps, and irrigation monitors.
Small changes can result in major savings. After partnering with us on water conservation projects across their portfolio BH conserved 2.2B gallons of water across 129 properties in 75 cities.
- Prioritize energy efficiency
Once you’ve tackled water conservation, energy management, including reducing carbon emissions and using less energy, is another effective tool for lowering utility costs. Energy management can improve the energy efficiency of U.S. multifamily properties by 15-30% and save $3.4 billion in utility costs, according to ACEEE.
Solutions include in-unit, exterior and common area LED lighting upgrades, technology like smart thermostats and motion detectors, electrifying your HVAC systems, and installing ENERGY STAR-rated appliances. Many of these upgrades will increase profitability, make your residents more comfortable, and give them more control over their environment.
- Perform preventative maintenance
Maintenance is already part of your operations, but it can also be an important tool for ensuring profitability. Adding a few items to your maintenance punch list will give you peace of mind knowing your conservation efforts are working, and you won’t see any surprises on your energy bills. Regularly cleaning HVAC coils and dryer vents and changing HVAC filters allow appliances to run more efficiently, saving energy and money. Routine care will also save you from costly upgrades down the line.
- Engage residents
Since you can’t always be doing maintenance, getting your residents involved in conservation is another way to lower utility costs and save precious time and natural resources. Asking for their help also communicates that you care about their budgets, comfort, and the environment, all of which increase residents’ satisfaction and loyalty.
Here are two resources for engaging residents from ENERGY STAR:
- Printable energy- and water-saving activity kits for apartment buildings
- Guide: Hosting an energy- or water-saving competition
- Read the reports
Once you’ve benchmarked, made all the upgrades, and engaged your residents, check the data and get clear and actionable insights on your portfolio to ensure your conservation efforts are making an impact.
In addition to monitoring your utility costs and usage, other reports that may be helpful include:
- Impact reporting
- ASHRAE energy audit reports
- ENERGY STAR reports
- Local ordinance reporting
Reporting is an easy way to monitor and articulate the impact of your conservation investments. Great for gaining buy-in for additional ESG initiatives, they’re also fantastic marketing tools for residents — sharing what you’ve done to save them money, keep them comfortable, and help the environment will go a long way in keeping customers happy.
Saving money while keeping residents cool
Reducing energy and water usage by making simple but impactful tweaks can lead to savings for businesses and the environment.
As a leader in conversation efforts that also support businesses, EcoSystems has saved 5.4B gallons of water, conserved 146,000 metric tons of CO2, and saved $54 million in utility costs.
Even still, the real-estate industry consumes 40% of the world’s energy, which leaves plenty of savings opportunities. Focusing on sustainability will lower operating costs and lead to higher resident satisfaction, increased profitability, and decreased operational risk.
If you’re starting your ESG journey or looking to scale your strategy, consider outsourcing to EcoSystems.
To learn more about how EcoSystem’s multifamily property services can save you money, contact us today!