Green properties: small changes can make big differences

Green properties: small changes can make big differences

Whether you're an owner, landlord or management company every small change helps

Friday 5th June was the 48th World Environment Day. The day exists to encourage people to look at how we treat our environment and raise awareness that it’s everyone’s responsibility to make a change. The Day is an opportunity for all of us to work together towards a greener and cleaner world for us all to enjoy.

As property managing agents, how can we work together to make real and positive changes to your property and its surrounding environment?

How you can help as a homeowner

It’s easy to make quick, positive changes to your own home to cut your bills and do your bit for the environment, such as:

  • Turn off appliances. The average household could save approximately £30 a year!
  • Buy smart plugs – they can be controlled via a phone app and make it easy to switch off appliances, wherever you are
  • Turn down your thermostat by one degree and it could cut your bill by £80 a year
  • Buy energy efficient appliances. When it’s time to replace your white goods, energy efficiency is much better on your wallet in the long run
  • Change your shower head. New water saving shower heads mean you’re shiny and scrubbed but not wasting water
  • Do less washing. Even by reducing the number of weekly laundry cycles you do can have a big impact. Also washing at a lower temperature gives your bank balance and the environment a boost
  • Get a Smart meter. It’s hard to monitor your energy use if you don’t know what you’re using. These meters let you see just where all that energy is going

How to help as a landlord

If you rent a property to tenants, measures you can take to benefit you and your tenants include:

  • Using energy saving light bulbs
  • Insulating your property (including having a sound roof)
  • Double glazing or repairing windows and doors
  • Replacing old appliances, including the boiler, for more efficient models
  • Installing water saving products such as an eco-shower head
  • Installing solar panels and rainwater collection systems

With many young people making up the rental market, giving prospective tenants a green option is becoming more important when presenting a property.  In a 2018 survey, property portal Your Move found that 42% of the renters they surveyed consider the environmental impact of a building when deciding to rent. For higher rent properties, this percentage soars to 63% of respondents.

All UK rented residential properties now need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to tell you how energy efficient the property is and rate it from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient). EPCs let the tenant know how much it will cost them to heat and light the property, and what the carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be. Your EPC will also outline what the energy-efficiency rating could be if improvements are made and help identify cost-effective ways to achieve a better rating.

In 2018, the English governments passed a law that said landlords could not create tenancies for properties with ratings below E. This is not often a problem for newer houses but could be an issue for older or poorly maintained properties.

While your EPC can help you identify and inform any changes you could make to your property, working with your property management company means that you can put the hard work in their hands. An established, and reputable company will have access to a specialist workforce who will be able to carry out  any works to a high standard and within a budget. Investing some money in the maintenance, upkeep and improvement of the property makes it an attractive proposition for tenants and can help your property to retain its value and further grow your investment, not to mention investing in our environmental future.

How we help

Mainstay has moved with the times. We work with developers to ensure residents have access to charging points for electric vehicles. As well as ensuring that new developments have access to live charge points, we also help them plan for adding more points in the future.

Through Mainstay’s Facilities Management team and external providers, we work with numerous industry leading partners to bring new energy and cost saving technology to the forefront of our asset management services. These include such innovations as LED lighting. These provide significant and immediate savings for our customers, as well as helping reduce carbon dioxide emissions by lowering a building’s carbon footprint. Mainstay sources all of its electricity from energy company Ecotricity, which means that 100% comes from renewable sources, such as solar and wind farms.

In fact, we have reduced our carbon emissions by around 4,770 metric tons a year. That volume of carbon dioxide could fill an impressive 2,043 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Our paperless campaign has continued to grow over the last 12 months. Not only has it been a powerful initiative for us to reduce our paper usage it has also allowed us to contact residents directly which has been especially prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the campaign, we have also donated more than £2,500 to our nominated charity ‘The Choir with No Name’  – we are delighted with the work we are doing to create a brighter and cleaner environment for all.

‘If you are a Mainstay customer and would like to join the growing number of neighbours who are helping the environment by changing to email-only messaging, please follow this link to do your bit:

https://www.mainstaygroup.co.uk/residents/paperless/

It’s incredible how simple things can have a big impact.

If you’re looking for other ways to help you reduce your energy use, you can find more tips here:

https://www.mainstaygroup.co.uk/news/cutting-your-energy-bills/.

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