Regardless of where your multifamily property is located, you and your residents are probably becoming more and more aware of the harsh realities of climate change. And as the planet lives through the devastating effects of global warming and natural disasters, residents seek out sustainable amenities for a green living apartment experience.
Read on to discover the latest amenity trends that property managers are rolling out to promote green living among residents.
The top five amenities for green living apartments are:
- Community garden
- Building-wide buy, sell, & trade program
- Electric vehicle charging docks
- Energy-efficient smart building technology
- On-site composting stations
1. Community garden
Much of the produce we buy in grocery stores requires hefty amounts of fossil fuels to be transported from farms. As such, creating a community garden on your multifamily property is one of the best ways to empower residents to live sustainably, promoting an eco-friendly apartment lifestyle.
Additionally, when residents grow their own fruit and vegetables, they don’t use chemicals or pesticides harmful to their health and the environment.
Here are the steps to creating a community-based garden:
- Designate an outdoor space for the garden and ask a resident committee member or staff member to take the lead.
- Assign a specific plot location to each resident who wants to use the garden – perhaps make it first come, first serve.
- Then, encourage residents to share and trade their crops, making it a truly communal experience.
- Bonus: Organize a seasonal potluck where residents can make dishes out of the fruits of their labor!
Pro tip: Secure the community-based garden by installing a keypad access control system at its entrance. That way, only the residents who signed up for gardening will have access to that space.
2. Building-wide buy, sell, & trade program
You’ve probably heard some variation of the saying, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, at some point in life. As we as a society reckon with our enormous waste production, we must look for ways to minimize our carbon footprint. And for your multifamily residents, one solid solution is to start a building-wide buy, sell, & trade program.
Making second-hand purchases is naturally eco-friendly: You’re giving another chance of life to something that was destined for the landfill. And with so many residents at your property, there are bound to be overlaps in tastes and styles. As such, when one resident is finished with an item — clothing, furniture, appliances, etc. — they can sell or trade it to another resident.
Wait, it gets better:
Implementing a building-wide buy, sell, & trade program will facilitate an easy and convenient way for residents to recycle their items and buy second-hand. The biggest factor that often prevents people from selling or trading their items is the inconvenience of lugging them to a consignment or donation center.
Tips for organizing a buy, sell & trade program at your multifamily property:
- First, develop a platform where residents can post items they want to sell or trade. This can be easily set up on the resident app or online portal. For example, you can designate a section of the community posting forum to facilitate this. Or, set up a private Facebook group and only invite your residents to join.
- Set some basic guidelines. Residents participating in this program should adhere to community guidelines, such as setting fair pricing and cleaning all items before selling or trading.
- Partner with your local community donation center to pick up unclaimed items at the end of each month or quarter. Many donation centers provide pick-up services for residential communities. So, arrange for the closest venue to make regular trips to your property to gather the items residents want to donate. Implementing this service will further discourage residents from discarding unwanted items in the landfill.
3. Electric vehicle charging docks
Today, more and more drivers opt to buy electric vehicles to be more environmentally friendly. If your property is located outside a major walkable metropolitan area, you’ve probably seen a few residents trading in their gas-fueled cars for electric ones.
Consider installing electric vehicle charging stations inside your property’s parking lot or garage to accommodate this trend. Doing so might also encourage other residents to get an electric car, further helping the environment.
Plus, according to a Consumer Reports survey, 71% of U.S. drivers say they’d consider buying an EV at some point in the future, with a third saying an electric car will be their next vehicle purchase. All this is to say that electric vehicles are the future of car ownership and green living.
Guidelines for installing EV charging docks as a green living apartment amenity:
- Choose a charging dock model that’s compatible with most, if not all, EVs. There’s a wide array of rebates, grants, and tax credits available to offset the cost of installing such infrastructure.
- Set up a reservation system for residents to choose a time to charge their vehicles. This can be the same platform you use for other amenity reservations.
- Consider signing your property up for an apartment car-sharing service. This is a great option for properties in urban areas where residents might want to use a car from time to time — just not every day. And there are plenty of car-sharing vendors that offer EVs.
4. Energy-efficient smart building technology
Proptech can be your key to curating an eco-friendly apartment living environment.
Devices like smart sensors and smart HVAC systems help you monitor your property’s energy usage and implement ways to reduce it. For example, smart sensors can prevent the lights or the AC from turning on when the room is empty.
The best way to start creating an energy-efficient smart apartment is by installing an access control system. An access control system helps ensure resident safety while analyzing room occupancy data. This means that the access control system will integrate with smart lights and thermostats in individual amenity spaces and residences. This way, appliances will only be turned on when the room is occupied.
In addition, incorporating Passive House standards, such as installing thermal insulations, ensures your residents will always be in the optimal temperature setting while using the minimum amount of energy.
Find out what sustainable building is and how it can help the real estate industry:
5. On-site composting stations
By now, you probably have recycling stations at your multifamily property. But what about composting stations?
Unfortunately, apartments have been slow in adopting composting practices because property staff and residents simply don’t know how to do it.
Don’t worry: You’re not alone.
Although composting isn’t as mainstream as recycling, it’s just as easy to do!
Embrace the world of composting by taking these simple steps:
- Schedule weekly curbside composting. A quick Google search will show plenty of services that pick up your residents’ green waste. Even more, some services return the waste as fertilizers for you to use in your garden or greenhouses.
- Place compost collection bins alongside recycling. Make it easy for residents to compost by setting up composting bins in refuse rooms. However, since food waste can often leave a bad smell, ensure your composting bins have tightly sealed lids. You don’t want unwanted residents (e.g. rodents and bugs) moving into the building!
- Educate your residents and staff. At first, your community might be intimated by the idea of composting. You can calm their fears by distributing educational materials on composting via email or pamphlets. Soon, they’ll realize that composting is as easy as recycling — perhaps even easier.
Start your green living apartment transformation today!
As a property manager or staff, you have a lot of influence over residents when implementing a green living apartment environment. And the truth is that any building can earn a green building certification if you make lasting lifestyle changes for your apartment community.
You may be asking, how do apartments live green? The answer is by residents and building staff developing an eco-conscious mindset. You can start by incorporating the environmentally-friendly amenities discussed in this post.
Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start with small steps and build your way up. And even the smallest things go a long way when it comes to green living.