The property manager’s guide to sustainability

Attention landlords and property managers!

Sustainability measures are no longer just “nice to haves” or admin tasks to check off. How you approach going green can now make or break your business. Even renters are taking note of your company’s commitments. A staggering 80% of landlords and property managers say their sustainability practices are directly influencing their residents’ leasing decisions. 

Yet, most property owners don’t have a sustainability strategy. Perhaps you don’t know where to start, and everything seems alien. Or maybe you gave sustainability a go in the past, but things didn’t work out. We’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll explore why sustainability matters, plus some moves to go green successfully, including how flexible payments can help.

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So, why the global change in attitude towards sustainability?

There was a time when sustainability was treated like just another fad by many companies. But times have changed. The reason for this shift is multifaceted, from consumers waking up to the harm emissions cause to our planet to governments needing all hands on deck to achieve their net-zero targets.

Then there are the gains sustainability brings. Think tax write-offs, rebates, and subsidies, which make going green an attractive feat. Many governments now offer incentives for adopting initiatives that take care of our environment. For example, money back for recycling in Germany and tax credits and rebates for investing in renewable energy technologies in the US.

Sustainability is a huge deal in this tricky economy

We’re in a challenging era for property management, where operational costs are high, obligations are plentiful, and renters are picky. So, the sustainability leap should be a top priority. Let’s zoom in on some reasons why.

Boost tenant attraction and retention

As the segment of sustainability-conscious consumers continues to grow, so does their impact on your company. As we mentioned earlier, renters are keeping a close eye on landlords’ sustainability measures. So, whether you manage one unit or 10,000, it’s a good idea to invest in ESG initiatives if you want to secure more sign-ons and renewals. 77% of businesses say their green practices spike customer loyalty. Also, 63% have experienced a jump in sales growth. 📈

Attract and retain top talent

If you’ve managed employees for any length of time in property management, you know just how challenging finding and keeping staff can be. But there’s hope. Around 70% of workers are enticed by companies that are environmentally sustainable and/or socially responsible. And here’s the best part. 56% of workers are more likely to stay with companies that have a strong sustainability record. In short, getting on board the sustainability train will help ease your hiring load and costs.

Drive larger sales, cost savings, and profits 💵

Not only are ESG initiatives great for reducing your company’s waste, but they can temper property management spending, too. With sustainability growing in popularity you can now use it to boost takings and profits, making going green a great way to future-proof investments. Check this out: 8 out of 10 consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Also, after paying certification costs, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) buildings can increase in value by 4%.

Stay on the right side of the law

Like it or loathe it, regulatory compliance is a huge driving force behind sustainability in property management. Many countries now have laws and regulations on going green that apply whether you manage one unit or 10,000. The US is no exception. Your business is subject to responsibilities in sustainability laws and treaties like the:

  • Energy Act
  • Montreal Protocol
  • Clean Water Act
  • Clean Air Act

6 practical tips for sustainable property managemen

Now you know why sustainability deserves closer attention, the question becomes what are some effective ways to go green in property management? Let’s cover a few.

Tap into green energy sources ⚡

Did you know that while 57% of companies have begun some kind of energy-efficient practices, machinery, or tech, many are stuck on where to start? If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret. Here are some clean ways to generate electricity:

  • Solar panels
  • Wind turbines
  • Geothermal energy
  • Hydroelectric power
  • Biomass energy

Once you’ve picked your clean energy source(s), connect buildings, units, and equipment. This switch will allow you to power machinery and appliances like lights, boilers, air conditioners, fridges, and ovens without harming the environment. If you can’t invest in green energy solutions just yet, look for an energy-efficient solution in the meantime. For example, a heat pump to keep units warm.

Top tip💡: Keep a green or hybrid generator on site to assist in a successful transition and act as a clean power backup.

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Optimize building operations and maintenance

When it comes to sustainability, SMEs are focusing on three areas: minimizing waste, conserving energy, and saving materials. Take their lead and clean up your operations in these areas. Here are some moves to make for quick wins:

  •  Use eco-friendly cleaning products and landscaping solutions: Invest in sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions like detergents, brushes made from natural materials, and air fresheners. They may cost more than their less the standard options, so plan ahead to make room in the budget 🧽
  • Use air purifying solutions: With pollution concerns circulating, air quality is a hot topic. Offer residents the option to install air purifiers (for a fee). You can also place them in communal areas. Additionally, only use green fuel options in your equipment, and invest in non-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint
  • Build with energy-saving in mind: Did you know that buildings guzzle approximately 40% of the energy made worldwide? This figure tops the transport industry that’s notorious for high energy consumption. To reduce energy needs, construct buildings that conserve energy. For example, you could double-insulate buildings. You could also use sustainable materials like wood, bamboo, and plastics to upgrade amenities. 🏗️
  • Switch to vendors that have sustainable practices: Supercharge your green efforts by working with vendors who are also committed to the same charge. To find your match, set a minimum sustainability standard for partnerships and vet potential providers thoroughly
  • Encourage green waste disposal: Create a system that makes recycling easy. This could look like providing residents with compost bins, split garbage bins and bags, and a waste collection calendar. Need some motivation? Slashing rubbish via zero and low-waste policies can increase operating profits by up to 60% ♻️

Educate tenants and staff on the perks of sustainability and track progress 📖

Sustainability is still a new concept for many, so it’s not surprising that 22% of SMEs don’t understand terms like “net zero”. “Knowledge is power,” as the saying goes. So, two great ways to increase adherence to your eco-friendly practices are education and advocacy. Let everyone know why you’re implementing green initiatives and what’s in it for them.  For example, you could:

  • Share materials on the benefits of sustainability on the environment
  • Incentivize green efforts (e.g., partnering with local recycling businesses to offer discounts and rebates for recycling plastic bottles and glass)
  • Get green certifications for your property, like the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This move will showcase your company’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental conservation. It could also produce benefits like boosting your property’s value and enticing environmentally-conscious renters
  • Track your GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions, waste production, and resource conservation, and assess the impact your initiatives have on them

Implement water conservation measures

Water is an integral part of property management, whether it’s used to mop floors or fill tanks. Knowing this, upgrading your water conservation is always a good shout.

  • Share news and developments on water in the area. E.g., information on local droughts and water use, plus ways to tackle them
  • Utilize smart irrigation technology to optimize outdoor water usage. E.g., time and sensor-controlled water butts and adjusting irrigation schedules based on weather conditions, soil moisture levels, and plant water requirements
  • Conduct regular inspections to detect water leaks in water supply lines, plumbing, and irrigation systems. Repair leaks promptly
  • Consider using a water recycling system
  • Use signs to remind residents and staff to preserve water and ways to do it

Encourage sustainable transportation alternatives

Needing to get staff and materials from property to property is inevitable. So, why not take the opportunity to make your transportation more sustainable? Switch to electric scooters or electric vehicles (EV) and biofuel for your staff and (residents if you offer rental cars). This move will reduce reliance on traditional, fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Plus, take the leap, and you could be in line for a cash windfall. Americans may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $7,500 for the purchase of an eligible EV purchased in or after 2023.

Offer flexible payments

Flexible payments may not be the first solution that comes to mind when brainstorming green measures, but they are an effective piece of the sustainability puzzle. For instance, tools like Flex’s rent payments app reduces waste in many ways, from eliminating paper usage for paying and managing rent to streamlining payment processes to save energy and reducing everyone’s admin load. These small wins can rack up over time to huge gains, making your business more effective and profitable.

Champion a greener future one tenant at a time

It’s official. ESG initiatives aren’t just for the mega-corps and environmental campaigners among us. Sustainability is now a growing obligation in property management, and your tenants are watching how you execute it. 👀

Carrying out such eco-friendly practices can take many forms, from implementing energy-efficient solutions like LED lighting to offering digital flexible payments.

It takes time and effort to see success, so get everyone on the same page. Create a sustainability plan, allocate resources and responsibilities among staff and residents, and start small. Once you see gains increase your investments. Complete these steps, and your company’s future won’t only be bright, it’ll be green. 🌳

Learn how flexible payments can support your ESG and sustainability initiatives. Book a personalized demo.