5 Practical Ideas to Green Up your Bottom Line
It seems that everyone is taking steps to go a little green. So what’s it mean for property managers? Is it worth your time and effort to promote a green agenda?
For individuals, going green is a personal choice. For some it comes down to situational decisions, “Should I buy my regular detergent or this green one?” For those more committed to the cause it’s a lifestyle choice. And still for others, the choices are financially driven, “I’ll buy my regular cleaning products because they cost less and this hybrid car because it uses less gas.” Participation spans all ages. But the 20–35 year age group is the most committed… and it strongly influences their decision making.
To Play or Not to Play?
It all shakes out to this: yes, the green movement is a trend. It’s a cause. But it’s not a fad. Businesses have seized the opportunity by producing fit-the-need products. Federal, state and local governments are responding with increasing regulatory requirements and restrictions. Green is a factor that affects purchase decisions… so it stands to reason that it plays a role in rental and retention decisions, too.
Here are five practical ideas to put a little green to work on your property.
1. DECIDE ON YOUR LIGHTBULBS.
In 2014 you will be forced to make a light bulb decision. That’s when the federal government’s ban on incandescent bulbs goes into effect. For standard fixtures, your new choices are CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs or LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs. Both deliver huge energy savings over their old fashioned predecessor. LEDs are superior in energy usage and quality of light, but are much more expensive to purchase.
2. EXPAND ON RECYCLING OPPORTUNITIES.
In most municipalities, recyclable trash is picked up separately from regular trash. Although often voluntary, in some areas it’s mandatory. You may already have separate bins for recyclable trash. Are there enough of them? Are they convenient?
I know a managed community whose residents have curb-side pickup, but they take their paper products and aluminum cans to centrally-located bins for pick up. The vendor pays for the recyclable paper and cans and the funds go into the HOA. It’s a voluntary program and nearly everyone participates.
3. ASK UTILITY COMPANYIES TO HELP.
Contact all your utility companies and ask for onsite assessments. Some may charge for the service. However fees are usually reasonable and may qualify you for discounts on upgrades or repairs. They also should have energy-saving tips they can pass on to you, or available on their websites. Pull the ones that apply to your property and publish your own tip list.
4. INCREASE COMMUNICATIONS, BUT CONSERVE YOUR PAPER.
It’s time—past time—to make a serious reduction in your paper communications. A message notification service like One Call Now can do the job better and save you loads of time and money, too. It’s an efficient, affordable way to connect with residents. With One Call Now, you easily reach them using the communication methods they prefer: voice, text, email, and social media sites. Place your message and it’s delivered within minutes to everyone at once across all mediums. And free smartphone apps make it easy when you’re on the go.
Automated features expand your reach and diminish your workload: automated translations (52 different languages), keypad responses, personalized messages, and detailed reports that document your contact. It’s simple to set up. There’s no software to purchase, no hardware to install and no additional phone lines are required. Updates are simple, too.
5. FOSTER A GREEN PERCEPTION.
Lots of brands tout green qualities. But the ones that carry strong green reputations do a better job at fostering the perception. Make that work for you. Whenever appropriate, communicate your green efforts.
“When you’re in the common areas, please use the recycle trash cans for your empty soda cans.”
“Now that it’s getting warmer, please adjust your thermostat when you leave, so your air conditioner isn’t running up your electric bill while you’re gone.”
“Thank you for your positive responses to our messaging system. Last month alone it reduced our paper usage by more than 800 sheets. That’s nearly two reams!”
None of these ideas are large-scale initiatives. They’re small changes that collectively make a big difference. They also foster the perception that you’re proactively doing your part. Plus, you just might find that your efforts add some green to your bottom line.