Eco-Friendly Upgrades for Your Rental

Sustainability in Rental Home Design: 10 Eco-Friendly Upgrades



When you own a rental property, you have the power to improve it’s eco-friendly design and even icnrease the sustainability of tenant lifestyles. With each planned upgrades, you can make decisions that use sustainable materials, help your property use less electricity and water, and gain the most benefit from the region’s natural climate.

There are many potential eco-friendly upgades you might explore, from quick and easy changes to serious renovations. These ten upgrades give you a useful selection of ways to improve the sustainability of your rental home at whatever rate of maintenance and remodeling works best for your property.


1) LED Lightbulbs

New lightbulbs are an easy way to make any rental home more eco-friendly. During your next tenant turnover, swap all the lightbulbs in the house for LED bulbs. These use significantly less electricity (1/10 the power) to achieve clear, bright illumination. They are also cooler to the touch and last years longer than incandescent (filament) bulbs, so they are safer and more efficient for your tenants, as well.


2) Replace the Weather Stripping

You can also quickly and easily change out the weather stripping on all doors and windows. Weatherstripping ensures a tight seal when doors and windows are closed, which keeps in the AC or heating, while keeping out bad weather and allergens. This ensures that your HVAC won’t need to use as much electricity keeping the house comfortable throughout the year.


3) Programmable / Smart Thermostat

A programmable or smart thermostat can also improve the energy efficiency of your rental home’s HVAC performance. A smart thermostat can adapt to the weather and the routine of your tenants and direct the HVAC to use the minimum heating/cooling cycles to achieve the most efficient in-home comfort. Also, changing thermostats is typically just a swap off of already installed prongs in the wall, so this one is another piece of cake upgrade with no renovation required.


4) Energy-Efficient Appliances

A good landlord upgrades the appliances every 5-10 years, depending on their durability. Older appliances are much less energy-efficient than models designed today, which creates a perfect opportunity. When you’re swapping out the range, fridge, dishwasher, dryer, etc – be sure to choose Energy Star rated new appliances. They will use much less electricity while also creating that shiny-new-appliance appeal to attract tenants.


5) Water Conservative Plumbing and Appliances

Don’t forget water-conservative upgrades. Upgrade sink faucets, shower heads, and toilets to use less water with aeration and low-flow settings. Then choose new plumbed-in appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine that are designed for water-conservative cycles,

You can also replace a failing old water heater with an on-demand water heater. This unit heats water rapidly instead of heating a tank of water over and over, for both water and energy conservation.


6) Improved Insulation

If you’re making changes that involve opening up the walls or siding, upgrade the insulation while the hidden spaces are exposed. The latest in insulation design provides superior energy efficiency, durability, and noise reduction to your rental home for a significant yet simple increase in the home’s value and sustainability all at once.


7) New Doors and Windows

If your rental home has warped doors and rattling windows, now may be the perfect time for a replacement project. Brand new doors and windows with the latest energy-efficient design can profoundly increase the HVAC efficiency of your rental property. The right choices can also increase home security and durability against bad weather, as well.


8) Renovate with Reclaimed or Renewable Materials

If you’re planning a major renovation, like a kitchen remodel or new flooring, look into eco-friendly building materials. Reclaimed wood and stone have been removed from previous installations, so they don’t require any new harvesting. There are also fast-growing renewable materials like bamboo which can be cultivated so quickly that no new forest clear-cutting is necessary to fill the need for new bamboo boards and furniture.


9) Sustainable Landscaping

Landscape the outdoor areas of your rental property to maximize the weather patterns. If drought is a possibility, xeriscape with plants and rocky beds that need little water to stay beautiful. If your property is in a rainy region, shape your landscaping to irrigate the trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds with the rain runoff as it flows. If the seasons vary, collect water in a rain barrel that slowly irrigates the garden between wet and dry spells.

Planting with local wildlife can also help with sustainability, because local plants are best suited to survive the local climate.


10) Solar Panels

Lastly, if you really want to go all-out, consider installing solar panels on the roof of your rental home. Then secure a net-metering deal with the local power company so that sunny days offset the amount of electricity your property needs off the grid during the day.


Explore Eco-Friendly Rental Strategies with Leaf Management

At Leaf Management, we are as enthusiastic about sustainable rental homes as you are. We will gladly help you strategize and upgrade your rental properties for eco-friendliness through energy efficiency and more. Contact us today to discuss your sustainable rental home plans.