One of the things we encourage all tenants and future landlords to do is to help do their part in conserving energy. Some of the ways we help our tenants not only save and conserve energy and resources are by changing out faucets and toilets with ones that have water saving features. Next plant shade trees on the south and west side of homes to help cool and lower their A/C bills that will loose their leaves every winter to allow warming sunlight in the winter and help with their heating bills.
Another idea, especially those of you that have multi-story rentals is to remind your tenants to shift their air vents over each season. For example, when it is summer time, to close off all basement and first floor level vents off in order to force air conditioned air all the way to the upper levels of the home in which the cooler air will weight more and travel downwards to the first floor and basement area. This alone has saved our tenants up to 40% off their air conditioning bills.
In the fall we remind them to change their vents to open wide in the downstairs and basement levels of the home and close off the 2 or 3rd floor levels vents completely to let the heat warm the lower sections of the home off in which warm air rises to the upper floors gradually. Many have thanked us for helping them remember to do this in order to save the money on heating (which has been nearly 55%).
Last, if at all possible, especially on older homes, re-insulate walls and attics again and purchase double paned energy efficient windows.
For when you lower your tenants energy bills they will be more likely to remain in the same rental units for years. In addition, it will enable you to give a legit reason for having higher than normal rental rates when you tell them to compare other rental units in the area.
JJ and Crissy