Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Green Trends in the Multifamily Industry

There has been a recent rise in the number of multifamily communities that are now introducing ‘green amenities’ to entice new residents. This follows an overall trend in the world that is focusing on caring for our planet and reducing our carbon footprint. This is also in response to a new generation, ‘Generation Y’ or ‘Millennials’ who are moving away from home and starting their careers. These people are the children of the Baby Boomer generation and have grown up with technology their entire lives. These Millennials care deeply about the environment, so to live in a green space is important to them. Many multifamily companies are renovating current properties or building new properties with the Millennials in mind.

Here are some recent ‘green’ trends that are growing in the current multifamily market:

Electric-vehicle charging stations – some communities are setting up specific parking stalls or charging stations on their properties. Some are choosing to charge their residents a separate fee each month for this service, while others are offering it for free.

Rooftop solar panels – this allows for some of the power to be generated from the sun. One apartment community in San Diego generates all its electricity from rooftop solar panels.

Rainwater collector and filter – rainwater can be collected in and filtered to be used by tenants or the property. This will reduce the reliance on water systems and will reduce the community’s water bill.

Energy-efficient appliances – appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, water heaters, and microwaves have energy-efficient choices. Some low-rise multifamily properties are eligible for an IRS tax credit on units with high-efficient appliances

Bike parking stations – these can be anything from a simple bike rack to covered, lighted bike station. A bike-friendly community encourages biking and reduces dependence on cars.

Community garden plots – these plots can be as big or as small as you can afford. Communities can choose to charge a small fee per plot or offer them on a first-come-first-serve basis. In most cases, the residents are in charge of maintaining their own plot.

Other ideas - Communities can start their own on-site recycling program, install water-efficient hardware (such as low-flow showerheads), install low-E windows (reduces noise and increases natural light) and consider water-efficient landscaping.

If you haven’t considered implementing green practices into your community, you should start thinking about it. Many in the Generation Y place a higher value on a community being eco-friendly than on rent price alone/

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