Here are some simple and relatively inexpensive things you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your investment property:
- Replace old windows with double pane windows. This will keep more heat inside your home so you use less energy.
- Have air-conditioner and heat pump filters cleaned or replaced.
- Use energy efficient lighting. By replacing 25percent of your lights in high-use areas with fluorescents, you can save around 50percent of your lighting energy bill. Compact fluorescents last 13 times longer.
- Check the efficiency of your appliances. Does the fridge pass the eco-friendly test? Just shut the door on a bank note. If it slides out easily, it’s time to replace the seal. If you’re purchasing new appliances invest a little extra money in an energy-efficient product and save more money in the long run.
- Check the hot water temperature. If it’s over 55 degrees Celsius then the thermostat may need adjusting.
- Check your hot water cylinder, if it’s warm to touch it needs an insulation wrap, available from hardware stores. Foam insulation from the hardware store can be used to wrap the pipes that you can see in your hot water cupboard.
- Fix leaky hot taps. A drip a second can add $30 a year to the electricity bill.
- If the vent pipe in the roof or on an outside wall is dripping you will be losing heat as well as water. A plumber may need to adjust the pressure-reducing valve.
- Check your shower flow, you may need a more water efficient shower head. To check run the shower at normal temperature. If it fills a 2 litre container in less than 10 seconds you could benefit from a more efficient shower head.
- Educate your tenants on the importance of recycling and how they can help the environment and save money through energy efficiency. Call your local council to see if you can get more recycle bins for the property if they are required.
- Garden waste and kitchen scraps in landfills break down into methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change. Almost half (45percent) of the average rubbish bag can be composted. Purchasing a compost bin for your investment property and encouraging your tenants to use it will reduce methane emissions from landfills and benefit the garden.
- If you’re in the market for a rental property, consider buying new. Modern properties are more energy efficient and cheaper to run.
- If you already own an older property it may be beneficial to review the insulation, particularly if the house was built prior to 1978. As much as 35 percent of heat loss from a house is through an un-insulated ceiling and 15 to 25 per cent through un-insulated walls. Draughts from cracks and gaps can equate to having a medium sized window open all the time. Well insulated homes are warmer in winter, have lower humidity and use less energy. Make sure curtains or blinds are bigger than the window frame and close fitting with no gaps for warm air to escape.
- Not only can good landscaping add value to a property but trees soak up carbon dioxide making cleaner air for us to breathe.