Turning your investment property into a comfortable, energy-efficient one makes a lot of sense, as quality tenants who enjoy a comfortable environment and lower utility bills are more likely to stay.

investment propertyHere are our energy saving tips to help you transform your investment property into a place that’s desirable to rent and comfortable to live in:

Develop a property that’s comfortable

Draft proofing the internal and external doors and fitting door seals to external doors needn’t be expensive. With as much as one third of heating and cooling lost through gaps and cracks this is particularly important in older homes. Chimneys and flues dampers are also a common source of air leaks; this is easily addressed by fitting dampers and is a great way to save electricity.

To help keep the place cool in Summer, and retain heat in Winter, fit efficient window coverings like lined curtains and properly fitted blinds or window insulation film. Check for and seal gaps between ceilings, floors, walls and new window frames by using a candle

Home insulation makes a big difference to a property’s energy performance – saving up to 45% on heating and cooling energy and significantly improving comfort levels. It’s worthwhile investigating either replacing or adding insulation to your roof and/or ceiling floor and walls. Select a high R-value insulation that’s installed professionally, e.g. in Victoria a minimum of R3.5 is recommended.

Contain heating and cooling costs

Cooling a property with ceiling fans is the most energy efficient method. Fans aren’t just cheap to buy and run, they operate quietly and they suit all room sizes. If your property has an air conditioner, encourage tenants to set timers to keep their costs under control and to set the unit at the optimal temperature setting of 20 degrees. Also, set reminders about cleaning filters to ensure their optimal operational efficiency.

Keep utility bills in check and reduce emissions

Take a close look at your water heater. After space heating and cooling, water heating is second largest energy user in the average Australian home. It accounts for approximately one quarter of household energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Get your local plumber to check the thermostat is set to an optimum temperature. To further reduce heat wastage, insulate external hot water pipes. When you’re buying, compare water and energy efficiency star ratings between models.

Be water wise

  • Install AAA WELS-rated taps and bathroom fixtures in the bathroom and laundry.
  • Upgrade to a dual-flush toilet, which uses around 60% less water than a single flush unit.
  • If your hot water system is ripe for replacement, consider high efficient water heaters, such as 5-star gas or solar.
  • When choosing a washing machine, go for one that has a 5-star WELS rating.
  • In the kitchen, choose a high WELS rated dishwasher.

Investigate rebates:

You could be eligible for rebates to help offset the upfront cost of energy or water saving features. Do your research – through local Council and your energy providers.

Create energy saving checklists for tenants:

Your local and state government websites include all kinds of sustainable living tips. By implementing the tips above and considering providing printouts for your tenants on how to save energy & money, you’re not just doing your bit for the environment, you’ll also be helping to reduce your tenancy churn rate.  Now that’s a win-win for everyone!

So, what about your place? Learn some simple ways to manage your home’s energy usage.

References: yourhome.gov.auenergyrating.gov.au, environment.nsw.gov.au, sa.gov.au.