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How To Make Your Rental Property More Sustainable

At Rentwest, we’re passionate about sustainable living.

That’s why we’ve drawn up our list of the easiest ways for landlords and tenants to make sure their property is eco-friendly.

So, why does it matter if our rental properties are green?

Our homes are responsible for 11% of Australia’s carbon emissions and 23% of energy use, according to the CSIRO. Given around one-third of Australians now live in rented homes, making investment properties greener means we can make a significant difference.

Making your investment property more environmentally friendly obviously benefits the planet and helps future-proof your property, but did you know it can also help you attract and retain well-paying tenants?

As we’ve previously written, tenants care about sustainability. A 2022 Ipsos study found that the majority of Australians (eight out of 10) are concerned about climate change.

A 2021 global study found that more than a third of consumers will pay more for eco-friendly goods and services, including rental properties.

Meanwhile, a study revealed that three-quarters of tenants would pay more rent for a home with solar energy.

Sustainability features can also boost your property’s capital growth, with the same study finding that 85% of Australians agree that solar panels add to a home’s value. Water saving features and energy efficient appliances also ranked highly.

Green features not only save on running costs (including electricity, gas and water bills) they also make the property more comfortable to live in, which obviously increases tenant-appeal.

How to make your investment property more sustainable and eco-friendly

Here are some of our tips:

  • Get some help. The government is encouraging the ‘greenification’ of rental homes, with low-cost loans for energy improvements.
  • Insulate. This is at the core of sustainable housing. Well-insulated homes stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter, reducing the need for air conditioning and heating. If your budget doesn’t stretch to double glazing, simple things like sealing gaps around doors and windows and installing transparent glazing film on windows go a long way. Choose thermal blinds and curtains which can trap heat and offer insulation. You can also retrofit additional ceiling or wall insulation and, if you do this, it’s important to do it right. RIEWA recommends a minimum total R-Value of R4.1 for a roof/ceiling (depending on roof colour), plus a minimum of R2.8 for external walls.
  • Go solar. A 5kW solar system (sufficient to power an average Perth home) could save a tenant about $2,000 a year (which is very appealing) and the environment around six tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year. An average outlay would be $4,200 here in Perth.
  • Choose energy efficient appliances and lighting. A simple switch to LED lights uses about 75% less energy than halogen, and they last around five to 10 times longer. Check labelled Energy Ratings to select efficient electrical appliances, from air conditioners to washing machines, dryers, fridges, dishwashers, and even pool pumps. If you’ve got solar, make sure you go fully electric with appliances, including an electric hot-water system. REIWA suggests a Heat Pump water heater with a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of 4.0 and lower than 10 GWP Refrigerants.
  • Save water. Here in WA, taps, any shower heads or toilets installed in new homes must meet minimum water efficiency standards. WA is one of Australia’s driest states, so it makes sense to investigate rainwater tanks for your investment property, too, if possible.
  • Get smart. Using smart energy metres and automation on some appliances (eg: watering systems) can also lower your property’s energy usage.
  • Don’t forget the garden. Having greenery is good for the environment (and our native animals and insects, including bees), but ensure you choose low-maintenance plants that don’t need a lot of water. Native Australian (and even better: West Australian) plants are a great solution. Some local councils offer free native plants to residents. A drip irrigation system can save on water bills and keep your garden green and healthy all year round.

Sustainability leadership

At RentWest, we don’t just pay lip service to sustainability; we practice what we preach.

In 2023, Rentwest won three REIWA Awards for Excellence, one of which was the Sustainable Leadership Award for an Agency.

We’re incredibly proud to have won this particular category for our “three pillars” approach to sustainability. This means we focus on environmental stewardship, social well-being, and economic vitality.

Not only do we run programs encouraging our Team to Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Reuse and Recycle, but as property managers, we also have contact with a lot of landlords and tenants and encourage them to live sustainable lives.

We provide our tenants with ways they can reduce waste and live more sustainably while also reducing their cost of living.

We also encourage our owners to provide sustainable houses by providing information on green energy solutions and upgrades.

Want more?

Looking for more advice about how to make your Perth investment property more sustainable? Get in touch with our friendly local team today.

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