The past ten years have seen huge growth in the ‘green’ building sector. Sustainability has become a hot topic through all discourse, and now (more than ever) it is radically changing the way people think about real estate. Sustainable homes are about creating energy efficient spaces – for property management companies, this means finding the most cost-effective ways to do this.
Thanks to the spotlight on sustainability, it has become easier to develop housing that is both eco-friendly and affordable. For those transitioning into a greener phase, there is plenty to learn about how technology, energy efficiency and sustainability lead to happy residents and a healthier bottom line. Here are our top 5 trends that you should know about.
#1. Zero-energy homes
Zero-energy homes are regular grid-tied homes that are so air-tight, well insulated and energy efficient that they produce as much renewable energy as they consume over the course of a year, meaning they achieve a zero-energy status. This leaves the occupants with a net zero energy bill and a carbon-free home. These homes combine advanced design and building systems with energy efficiency to produce better homes for the masses.
Zero-energy homes are likely to become more affordable in the future, and their functionality will in turn become easier to execute.
#2. Energy efficient features
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, going green can really improve affordability. Implementing cost-effective, energy-efficient features has become a key element in building developments for low income residents. High-performance features do come with initial upfront costs, however, the investment reduces operating costs in the long run. The idea is that energy-efficient buildings reduce the cost burden on residents.
The lesson in this for property managers is that your tenants understand the value of energy-efficient buildings. The property industry continues to lean towards buildings with energy-efficient features.
Current conversation surrounding sustainable housing is around new builds. However, older properties shouldn’t be forgotten. This is where retrofitting comes in – thinking about how you can upgrade your existing property to be eco-friendlier. Studies have found that there is a positive correlation between sustainability practices, improved cash flow and higher returns for investors. It just so happens that being kind to the environment is also good for business!
For those ready to tackle a retrofitting project, you should look at high-impact projects like optimizing energy and water systems, converting light and HVAC systems to automated systems and investing in renewable energy sources.
#4. Green marketing strategies
Green marketing can be thought of in 2 ways:
|You want your marketing practices to be sustainable|
|You want to market your sustainable practices|
#5. Smart homes
Smart homes are less about sustainability, but are great functionality-wise. They incorporate the networking of homes and devices together to allow them to send and receive information. This allows the occupier to adjust their thermostat from their phone, automate their lighting patterns according to their schedules and monitor home safety while they are away.
Automating home processes to make living more efficient and convenient is becoming increasingly popular. As a result of this, tenants are more likely to prefer rentals that come with the convenience of smart technology built into their living space. Small improvements can have a huge impact – security systems that use Wi-Fi and devices to automate heating and HVAC systems can help attract and retain tenants.
Across all industries, organizations are making a concerted effort to achieve sustainable operations. Engage employees in developing eco-friendly habits with a fun, competition-based initiative like EcoChallenge, which incentivises employees to find ways to go green.
Don’t be shy when sharing your sustainable practices. If you’re investing in sustainable tech, let everyone know about it. Makes sure your marketing campaigns communicate your sustainable practices for tenants, clients and peers to see. Long term, your investment in sustainable practices lead to prices premiums and increased revenue.