Livable Content Team
As a Housing Provider, managing expenses is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy return on your investment and ensuring long-term success. One area where costs can add up quickly is utilities, such as electricity, gas, wifi access, sewer, trash collection and – especially – water. Utility costs continue to rise and water bills have shot up dramatically over the last several years in many areas.
By encouraging your Residents to conserve any master-billed utilities, you can not only reduce operational costs but also contribute to environmental sustainability. Read on for effective strategies to motivate Residents to conserve utilities, ultimately saving everyone money.
Educate and Raise Awareness
Start by educating your Residents about the importance of conserving utilities. Provide them with information on the environmental impact of excessive consumption and the benefits of energy and water conservation. Encourage responsible practices such as turning off lights when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, taking shorter showers and reporting any leaks or malfunctions promptly. By creating awareness, you empower your Residents to make informed choices that align with both their personal interests and environmental responsibility.
Dan Sharabi, CEO of Livable, is dedicated to educating Residents of the Housing Providers enrolled in the Livable platform. “Our site is populated with conservation tips for Residents and we also provide a guide that Housing Providers can share with their Residents to help everyone save. We strongly believe that what’s good for the planet is good for your wallet!”
Install Energy-Efficient Appliances
Upgrade your rental property with energy-efficient appliances, such as Energy Star-rated refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines. These appliances consume less energy, resulting in reduced utility bills for both you and your Residents. Energy-efficient devices often offer superior performance and longevity, making them a valuable investment for your rental properties in the long run.
Highlight these features to prospective Residents during property showings, emphasizing the potential savings they can enjoy by choosing your rental property. Younger potential Residents highly value conservation and are most likely to seek out places to live where efficient appliances and low-flow water fixtures are in place, so having them can be an important part of marketing your listings.
Implement Ratio Utility Billing
Ratio Utility Billing, or RUBS, can be a powerful tool for encouraging utility conservation on master-billed utilities. If Housing Providers use a platform like Livable, Residents become directly responsible for their utility consumption and can track their usage, reduce it and save money on utilities like water. This visibility leads to more mindful consumption habits, as Residents become aware of the direct impact of their actions on their utility bills. Ratio Utility Billing, done properly, also eliminates disputes among Residents regarding shared utility expenses, ensuring fairness, transparency and accountability.
Unlike submetering, RUBS doesn’t require expensive equipment purchase, installation and maintenance. It is significantly less expensive than submetering and can help Housing Providers recover up to 90% of master-billed utility bills, especially water.
Provide Energy-Saving Tips and Resources
Create a resource guide or brochure that outlines energy-saving tips specific to your rental property. Include suggestions such as using weatherstripping to seal gaps around windows and doors, setting thermostats at energy-efficient temperatures, and utilizing natural lighting whenever possible. Share this guide with new Residents during the move-in process and make it easily accessible in common areas. By providing practical advice and resources, you empower Residents to make immediate changes that result in long-term savings.
Invest in Regular Maintenance and Upkeep
Stay proactive in maintaining your rental property’s utilities to ensure optimal efficiency. Schedule regular inspections to identify and repair any leaks, faulty faucets, or inefficient HVAC systems promptly. Check weatherstripping on windows and doors seasonally. Regular and seasonal maintenance not only saves on utility costs but also helps preserve the longevity of your property’s infrastructure. Additionally, responsive maintenance fosters goodwill and trust with Residents, reinforcing the importance of conservation efforts.
Make sure that your Residents know you want them to report even minor issues like running toilets and dripping faucets so they can be repaired before they become big problems! Some Residents feel like maintenance and repair requests will be held against them in some way, but you can set the tone to make sure that they are comfortable doing so.
Incentivize Conservation Efforts
Consider implementing a rewards program to motivate Residents to conserve utilities. Offer incentives such as reduced rent, gift cards, or other perks for Residents who consistently demonstrate responsible utility usage or hit a certain amount of reduction. You can also organize periodic contests or competitions to encourage friendly competition among Residents in reducing their consumption. By providing tangible rewards, you create a positive environment that fosters a sense of shared responsibility for conservation.
Encouraging Residents to conserve utilities is a win-win situation for both Housing Providers and Residents. By implementing the strategies discussed above, you can reduce operational costs, attract environmentally conscious Residents and contribute to a more sustainable future. By working together with your Residents, you can create a community that prioritizes conservation, ultimately saving money for everyone involved.
Ready to explore implementing RUBS in your rental properties? Livable can help! Pick a time to discuss your unique needs and our custom solutions with one of our team members. Designed for the independent rental owner, Livable never requires a unit minimum and has options to help you save even if your properties are rent-controlled!