Sustainable House – Things to consider for long or short term renters
The world we live in is changing and not in a positive way. Current statistics from NASA science points to worrying environmental change, harming future generations in the process. The average surface temperature has risen by 1.62% since the 19th century. This means since 1969, the top 700 metres of ocean has increased in temperature by 0.4 degrees centigrade. The Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass and the sea level has risen eight inches in only the last century. To allow others to thrive for decades to come, it will take a global effort to reverse this trend. Over the past couple of hundred years, natural resources have been consumed and new carbon gases fill the air. There’s so many ways we can prevent damage to our existence and a sustainable house is a great starting point. You may be renting out a house as a landlord or looking to find suitable accommodation, so why not go green and do your bit for the environment.
So, what makes a house sustainable you ask? Essentially, environmental sustainability refers to the ‘avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance’, so saving on resources by making wise choices at home can make a world of difference. When renting, one of the big issues surrounding this is living costs. How much energy we consume not only hits our bank account but stalls natural progression too. Simple things like switching to energy saving light bulbs can make a world of difference! Whether you’re looking at a new build or already have something in mind, other criteria like insulation, switching to solar energy and waste management all need to be considered. You have to consider as a tenant or landlord how this matters to you. Truth be told it should be important to all, because whether you like it or not, our world is changing already as NASA’s statistics suggest.
There’s no prediction on where this will end up, all we can do is collectively try and change the way we live for the better. When deciding to rent a house, helping the environment might not be top of your list, but it should be. Not only does it benefit the world short and long term, but it will also help you save. Think about it, we consume so much energy in our homes. Three televisions on at one time, multiple heaters on in the winter to beat the chill and charging your phone through the night spring to mind. All of these electrical charges are just the tip of the iceberg. Rates go through the roof and so does your electricity bill at the end of each month. Now, if you’re renting, the bills will be drastically reduced. For example, using solar photovoltaic cells on the roof can help you save hundreds a year! It might cost more initially, but the long-term benefit is worth it.
However, this is not the only factor that tenants and buyer’s think of when making an investment. After all, research shows that aesthetic appeal still comes high on the list when renting or purchasing a home. Would an eco-friendly home have the same wow factor for a buy-to-let property when the design is compromised? It might be only a small minority who actually want to rent a property like this. Nevertheless, it’s still a great USP when renting out your home, even if the landlord foots the bills. There’s three main areas to target, whether building a home from scratch or investing in a new property. All impact the environment and end up costing you if not addressed correctly.
Let’s start with how you can improve waste management. Little tips like building a compost for kitchen waste can reduce costs and ease landfill issues. Obviously sorting your recycling and providing information for tenants is important, plus low-flush toilets and removing plastic bags can help too. Other ways to reduce water use can be to change taps or shower heads to low-flow fixtures, as well as locking them if needed. Also, adding a water tank to collect rainwater when the typical English weather persists means you can prevent excess water waste in the pipes. When the winter months approach, everybody knows the electricity bill sky rockets just in time for Christmas. Ways around this include insulate the walls with thick cladding, triple glaze windows and a technology application to track your usage will help save towards presents instead, which is always a bonus! Alternatively, if you feel like too much room is being used in the flat, why not downsize to a studio apartment, keeping all the heat in two rooms max.
Tenants look for comfort, affordable living and convenience to feel settled. Making these changes to your home if they don’t already exist will help to save money, improve the eco system and put them at ease. Happy tenants equals greater prospects and less void periods. Whether they’re looking for a quick fix or a home to settle for longer than a year, the majority wants to make a contribution towards a better planet. Knowing they’re playing their part, as well as renting a sustainable home that will cost them less will benefit both parties. As more of these properties crop up around the UK to cater to a large market of tenants (roughly 1/4 of the population now rent), sustainability increases in popularity. Now would be a good time to jump on the bandwagon and ride that wave of change.