Though some may debate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment, most scientists agree that the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the “greenhouse effect.”  As a small business owner, it’s easy to feel powerless to take action in the face of such seemingly irreversible changes to the planet. However, many of your customers and tenants are eager to support businesses that make environmentally-sensitive choices, and advertising your commitment to green business is good business. You can implement the following initiatives right now to qualify your business as “green:”


1. Green Cleaning

Ask your cleaning company to use green products whenever possible. A member of our cleaning staff noticed a marked improvement in her breathing after switching to green cleaning products. Such products may not work on the dirtiest of ovens, but we have found that green products work in the majority of cases. The cost difference is insignificant, and the products can be a blessing for both tenants and cleaning personnel with sensitivities to harsh chemicals.


2. Paperless Options

Many of us have already minimized paper waste by switching to DocuSign for leases and online alternatives for rent payments, work orders and email. But try using the two-sided print feature when possible to further reduce paper consumption. Going paperless saves time and money, in addition to paper and electricity.


3. Filter Replacement

We all know tenants are unlikely to purchase and replace A/C filters on their landlord’s behalf. Therefore, consider providing tenants with an annual supply of replacement filters each year, using a marker to write the month in which each filter should be installed. Doing so will save on electricity consumption for the tenant and extend the life of the HVAC system for the owner. You can charge a fee for this service, and many of the other items on this list, while also enhancing your service offering. As you can see, being “green” can also be profitable.


4. Recycle

Consider recycling your paper and aluminum cans. In our condominium leases, we provide renters with information about how to properly recycle at their rental properties. Our office supply company, Get Garvey’s, picks up our printer cartridges and used batteries for recycling. Other companies will accept old computers, printers and monitors for repair and resale.


5. LED Lighting

Provide LED lighting in the home to help your tenants cut their electric bill and help your owner reduce bulb replacement. If the tenant is responsible for bulb replacement it is still a good idea to limit your liability by putting in LED bulbs in high, hard-to-reach locations as it could save you litigation if they fall and hurt themselves when doing so. In their minds we are the deep pockets, so think of this as cheap insurance.


6. Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can not only save the cost of frequent replacement, they can save lives when tenants don’t replace them as needed. We like to mark the outside of the detectors with the install date and the date for replacement in 10 years.


7. Video Tours

Some prospective tenants will rent without visiting the property if they can view a floor plan and take a video tour of the property. This saves everyone time and travel expense.


8. Lock Boxes

Providing your tenants with lock boxes to give vendors access to the property will save either you driving to the property to do so or the vendor making an extra stop at your office to get the key.


9. Faucet Aerators

For only a couple of dollars per aerator, you can install faucet aerators in the bathroom and kitchen faucets to reduce water consumption. Note that doing so not only saves water, it reduces electricity/gas needed to heat the water as well.


10. Tankless Hot Water Heater

If the water heater needs replacing but the new and bigger energy-efficient tank does not fit in the space, consider installing a tankless hot water heater instead.  Though more expensive, it occupies almost no space compared to a standard water heater and consumes less energy, heating the water only when it is used.


11. Energy-Efficient Appliances

We encourage owners to purchase energy-efficient appliances when existing appliances need replacement or expensive repairs.


When looking for ways to differentiate your properties and company from the competition, consider being the “green-friendly” company.  In addition to winning the admiration and respect of your tenants and customers, you may increase your ROI. In short, these and many other creative ideas will help you to do well while also doing “good.”


  • Steven Gouletas

    Steven Gouletas is CEO and Owner of National Rental Services, Chicago, and a member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers® (NARPM). Members of NARPM receive information like this article every month through its news magazine, Residential Resource . To join, or learn more, visit

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