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The road to Net Zero: how can landlords take action?

05/06/2023

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Green solutions for property owners

We are all having to think a little harder and a little longer about the environment these days, and the property industry is no exception. The built environment contributes to 40% of the UK’s carbon footprint.

There is nothing we can do to change how our Earth is affected by our actions, but we can change our actions at the root. Managing a greener building and supporting your tenants towards a net zero lifestyle will attract more conscientious occupiers.

Look through our short-term and long-term solutions to give you inspiration on how to turn your property green.

Short-term

Change to LED lightbulbs

As well as being brighter yet consuming a lot less energy than their older counterpart, LED lightbulbs are often made of recyclable materials and don’t contain mercury – which could be devastating for landfill.

LEDs have operational advantages too. LED lightbulbs can be ‘cycled’ more frequently than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs, which are more likely to fail faster – a real on-the-ground problem for facilities managers and their staff. As well as this, LEDs are generally more robust too, so won’t break as easily as their alternatives.

Install Smart meters, including thermostats

Smart meters are no new invention but having them on display in your buildings will also make occupiers aware of their own energy usage, prompting them to change their ways.

Some energy providers offer innovative tariffs that consider customers who use energy at off-peak times or when a surplus of renewable, ‘clean’ energy is available. These options help stay on the path to Net Zero in a simple way, discouraging the assumption that it’s a serious effort to live a greener life. It can’t be ignored that these tariffs also save money for the customer.

Additionally, from a business perspective, accurate meter readings will help to provide a more realistic picture when understanding your tenants’ bills.

Provide a recycling bin or compost bin for your occupiers

40% of food is wasted and 2.2 million tonnes of food packaging is thrown away every year in the UK, and we can all do our bit to decrease those numbers.

Recycling has become a part of our everyday life now, with local authorities offering a variety of options to reduce your refuse. However, providing further support to that end will show how committed you are to your occupiers, and will also support facilities management.

Home composting can help to save 150kg of food waste per household per year from local authority landfills. Providing a composting bin for your tenants/occupiers provides a quick way to make them feel like they are making the world a better place.

Long-term

Research and apply for government schemes

Primarily for residential landlords, owners and tenants, you can be green with the government’s help.

After the axing of the Green Homes Grant, it didn’t seem like a very lucrative or business-savvy decision to start adding solar panels or green roofs to your house. But in its place, the ECO4 and ECO+ schemes have arrived.

If you are receiving income-related benefits, you may be eligible for grants to make your homes more energy-efficient. Focusing on funding tasks like cavity-wall insulation and installing smart energy controls, the government hopes to target 70000 homes, within the council tax bands A to D, across 3 years.

Solar panels

Arguably one of the bigger tasks that you can take on to become more energy-efficient, installing solar panels is a sure-fire way to show how serious you are about green alternatives.

Also known as photovoltaic panels, this technology relies on the sun to generate energy. For a large building, this could shave significant costs off your gas and electricity bills.

However, solar efficiency can decrease to as little as 30% when the panels become dirty, so it is key that you keep on top of their maintenance. PV panels generally last for 25 years – the first tranche of panels released for commercial use are having to renewed around now – and so making sure that you have warranties and alternatives if the panels last a shorter time than expected is imperative.

Insulation

Insulation can provide up to 33% of thermal efficiency in a property’s envelope, and so it is well worth checking if your building can benefit from this often costly but cost-effective modification.

Installation will cost and take varied amount of money and time, depending on your property and the compatibility with the insulation itself – for instance, a much older house may not have cavities within its walls for such material.

If you are unsure, always ask a qualified professional who will understand, not only the benefits of installing insulation, but the issues that may come afterwards.

Paperless solutions

Going paperless will be a quick process for you and a godsend to your tenants/occupiers. Ensuring that correspondences, bills and notices are kept digitally means that no one can lose them or forget to action them because they are working from home or aren’t in the office.

You could even go one further and look into online platforms that monitor heating controls and water pressure as well as serve as a place for tenants and occupiers to log issues or required works. These platforms are often available on a contractual basis and come with 24/7 customer support to deal with any problems efficiently.

Buying in green areas

Many places in the UK and beyond are looking to change how we have traditionally lived. Walkable cities, ULEZ areas, even simple pedestrianisation schemes are revolutionising how we live, work and travel.

Property and rental space in these areas will attract organisations and individuals who understand the value of green living – and are willing to pay a premium for it.

Get in touch with the Eddisons team

Please contact us for more details and information

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