When does “going green” help bring in the green?– J.T. HOUSTON

It’s not easy being green, but it sure can be profitable. Trendy, current and issue con-scious, going green is a powerful movement in our world. In the renovation world, going green — en- vironmentally speaking — brings in the green. How does the green environment impact on- going operations and ultimately your return on investment (ROI)? The obvious channels to decrease costs are in electricity, water, gas and carbon dioxide emissions.

The simplest and largest impact can be found in lighting alone. By changing everything to LED, you can save money, improve the aes- thetic appeal an increase security by allowing more lights on the same circuit. Then there is water. Do anything and everything to reduce water consumption. Select low-flow toilets and showerhead valves. Low-flow toilets can save over three gallons per flush, while low-flow showerheads reduce flow rates down to 1.5 gallons per minute or less, down from the old 5.5 gallons per minute. Reduce the amount of vegetation on property, or even transition to a “zeroscape” process: removing anything that requires an irrigation system. Go for a more modern, dramatic (and green) look, like a cac-tus growing out of crushed granite, requiring little to no irrigation. Don’t forget about the windows. Replace single pane windows and look for radiant protection options. Through higher SEER rated unites create a more efficient HVAC system.

Finally, there is social impact. All properties being equal, the green effect can drive higher occupancy levels by the perceived value of a decrease in costs. The tenant may even be willing to pay higher rent because of that per- ception, both internally and publicly, by con- tributing to a green environment. Give your tenant real cost savings and create a higher perceived value, helping them choose your property over another.

All of these green strategies create value to the tenant, the operator and the investor, pro- video opportunities for potential tax credits, and most importantly, an increase in ROI. And that you can definitely sell to your next buyer.

“There have been nemerous studies that have concluded that green multifamily housing properties can decrease overall energy use by 10 percent, decrease building operating costs by 11 percent and also reduce water consumption by 15 percent annually. Furthermore, buildings that have been certified to a LEED Gold certificate consume 25 percent less energy, 11 percent less water and have maintenance costs that are 19 percent lower than buildings without the gold certificate. The tenants in LEED Gold certified buildings are also 27 percent more satisfied than living in other buildings as a result of the sustainable features.”– November 2016 Fannie Mae Green Multifamily