Bringing sustainable living to your apartment community sounds daunting, but should be a huge priority for property owners that want to add value to their portfolio. No longer a buzzword or fad, Sustainability has become an essential renters are seeking in their apartment shopping process. As we understand more and more about how our habits and actions affect the environment, we feel a responsibility to do our part. According to the 2019 AMLI Sustainable Living Index survey, 80% of participants believe eco-friendly apartments are beneficial for their health.
Outside of introducing water conservation to your property, focusing on sustainable apartment design and adding new amenities can help breathe new life into your property. These added amenities can increase property value and add extra income. More than 61% of AMLI survey participants also reported that they are willing to pay more for a green apartment community.
1. For communities have yet to be constructed, there are a few ways to focus on sustainability when building new properties, these include:
Choosing a Good Location
For those that are in the pre-construction process, there are some aspects of construction that should be analyzed before building a new property. Choosing a location close to public transit and near essentials like grocery stores, gyms, and restaurants, can increase your walkability as well as give residents access to indirect amenities nearby.
Using Eco-Friendly Construction Materials
Refurbishing high quality materials like recycled wood, brick, glass, and metals can give a new life to what was supposed to be in a landfill. Choosing low-level volatile organic compound (VOC) paints, coatings, sealants, and adhesives during construction and renovation can increase air quality and reduce negative health effects to the community long term.
Eco-Friendly Apartment Design
Designing the apartment with great insulation, solar panels, geothermal heating & cooling, strategic windows, and a greenhouse are all ways you can proactively save energy for your new construction.
2. For already-built communities, the sustainable amenity options range from small implementations to large projects, these include:
This includes smart thermostats, LED lightbulbs, EnergyStar-graded washer and dryers, and EPA WaterSense faucet aerators, showerheads, and toilets. Switching from a 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) to a 0.8 gpf efficiency toilet can save millions of gallons for your multifamily property. eConserve is a national multifamily water conservation company based in Houston, TX that offers a Retrofit Service and a Toilet Replacement Service to implement water saving products to faucets, showers, and toilets. The toilet replacement can increase your property’s value and NOI from the savings on water alone.
EV Charging Stations
The rise of electric vehicles has created a demand for more charging stations. Especially for residents who own an electric vehicle, not having a charging station at their apartment is a huge turnoff and inconvenience. By installing EV charging stations, your property can cater to this market and indirectly promote clean energy transportation.
Amenities like covered bike racks, tire pumping stations, or even a bike renting service can increase renters’ appeal. Not only is it a convenient for residents, but it also encourages them to be active and reduce carbon emissions. Biking is a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation, and providing these amenities require little space or development.
Ride Sharing Waiting Rooms
These waiting rooms are a specific common area location outlooking the main street entrance for those waiting to be picked up by ride sharing services. As the popularity of ride sharing increases, depending on location and culture, these waiting rooms might be more utilized than parking spaces. Adding this amenity is a low cost, low maintenance way to provide value for the community and encourage carpooling.
Adding a recycling program, a composting program, and a community produce garden are all ways to provide resources for environmentalism in your community.
Renters are becoming more and more environmentally-conscious and this is driving their decision making for where they choose to live. The 2020 National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and Kingsley Associates apartment preferences survey reports that renters are interested in or won’t rent without the following amenities: 79% in a recycling program, 73% in green community initiatives, and 63% in onsite renewable energy. Creating a sustainable apartment can increase value and draw in more happy residents!
Which sustainable amenities are best for your community?
The AMLI survey is an annual survey about opinions on sustainability and how it affects where people choose to live. 3,500 AMLI apartment residents in 9 locations (Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Seattle, Southern California and Southeast Florida) participated in the 2019 survey. Detailed survey results can be found here, you can read more about AMLI’s sustainability mission at https://www.amli.com/sustainability.
The NMHC/Kingsley survey is also an annual survey that reports trends in housing preferences. 372,000 apartment residents in 5,300 different apartment communities nationwide participated in the 2020 survey. Detailed results and survey infographic can be found here.