by Deb DeRouen
Apartment companies across the country have incorporated more sustainable practices into their businesses, from utilizing eco-friendly materials and leveraging smart home technology for energy reduction to (Environmental, Social and Governance) ESG reporting and implementing procedures that minimize environmental impact. There is a growing pressure in rental housing, from residents, associates and investors alike, to take more action on sustainability measures.
As apartment operators calibrate their focus on further accommodating modern renters, sustainability is playing a key role in their plans. More renters are becoming aware of their environmental footprint and are making more environment and health oriented decisions in their personal lives. They’d also like to live in apartment communities that support their lifestyle and make it even easier to recycle, manage energy consumption and mitigate waste and trash around communities and neighborhoods.
Based on survey findings from the 2022 AMLI Sustainable Living Index, 88% of respondents noted that they are concerned about climate change and 80% said living in an apartment with green features is beneficial to their health.
Here are some of the sustainability practices that apartment operators are implementing to make a community-wide difference and appeal to renters’ desire for more eco-friendly living environments:
Smart home for energy efficiency
Smart home technology has become a very popular amenity among modern renters and it also comes with a sustainable perk: energy efficiency. Smart home features like thermostats and appliances can automatically adjust to fluctuating energy needs and help residents better manage and reduce their energy consumption.
From water and electricity to waste and blinds, there are multiple ways residents can utilize their smart home tech to conserve energy. Many features are automated, like turning off the lights if a resident forgets before they run out. Residents can also control their devices remotely, so should they be away from home, they can still adjust on the fly.
In turn, smart home tech helps residents conserve energy while saving money. With energy prices up across the country, residents appreciate the ability to keep their costs low while monitoring their own energy consumption. Energy efficient amenities allow operators and residents to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other pollutants while supporting more sustainable communities.
Pet waste reduction
One of the most potent pollutants found within apartment communities is pet waste. As more and more apartment communities become pet friendly and create pet-inclusive environments, there is a larger need to crack down on waste mitigation efforts.
Pet waste can be detrimental to the health and well-being of pets and residents alike while damaging the environment. Aside from transmitting harmful diseases, if pet waste isn’t picked up, it can be carried into local waterways by storm runoff. In turn, all the harmful pathogens and bacteria found in pet waste can degrade water quality.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cites pet waste as a significant source of nonpoint environmental contamination, meaning it comes from more than one source.
Electric vehicle charging stations
Sales of electric cars (fully electric and plug-in hybrids) doubled in 2021 to a new record of 6.6 million, according to the latest edition of the annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook. The AMLI Sustainable Living Index survey also found that 56% of respondents said they think they will be driving an electric vehicle (EV) or a plug-in hybrid in five years.
People are turning to electric vehicles for various reasons, from sustainability concerns to fuel savings. More demand for EV means a higher demand for charging stations. As this trend continues, EV charging stations will be make-or-break decisions for many renters and is a significant sustainable option that also future-proofs communities.
As more people become increasingly aware of their own environmental footprint and energy consumption, they’re also looking to live in places that share the same values and goals. There are many different ways the rental housing industry is acting on sustainable measures, and these efforts will continue to play a much larger role.