How to ensure your rental property is part of the solution.
Households are responsible for about 40% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Of these household emissions, about 40% are from petrol and diesel cars, 30% are from electricity use, 20% are from food consumption, and 10% are from gas used in the home.
These numbers vary from household to household. Households that don’t own petrol or diesel cars have much lower transport emissions. Households that have rooftop solar, are well insulated (or ‘weatherised’) and have energy efficient appliances have much lower electricity emissions. Households that don’t use gas for cooking, hot water or heating have lower gas emissions.
Unfortunately, renters are often locked out of key upgrades that reduce household emissions while also make houses more comfortable and cheaperto live in. In Newtown, where two thirds of households are renting, too many people are stuck living in poorly insulated homes with no solar power, nowhere to charge an electric vehicle, and no ability to install more efficient appliances for cooking, heating and cooling.
Many of these improvements are inexpensive, make properties more comfortable and cheaper to live in, and can help your property stand out to potential tenants.
Rooftop solar is the best and most cost-effective way to reduce household electricity emissions. Uptake of rooftop solar in the City of Sydney and Inner West Council is lower than the national average, in part because of the high proportion of rental properties.
Installing rooftop solar is one of the cheapest and easiest ways for landlords to reduce the emissions of their rental properties. Rental properties with rooftop solar are rare and in high demand from tenants who want to access the benefits of local renewable energy. When coupled with an electric vehicle charger, rooftop solar also allows tenants to drastically reduce their transport emissions and slash transport costs. Inner West Community Energy is a local non-profit that can answer all your solar questions and connect you to trusted installers who can put solar panels on rental properties across the Inner West. You can contact IWCE via email, Facebook, or attend one of their regular info nights.
Improved insulation or ‘weatherisation’ takes the edge off cold winters and hot summers. It can also drastically reduce household emissions and the need for heating and cooling.The Healthy Homes for Renters campaign has shown that heat in rental properties routinely hits unsafe levels, forcing tenants to suffer the health effects or run up huge energy bills to cool down their houses.
Energy efficient appliances reduce living expenses and greenhouse emissions. When replacing an appliance (e.g. a dishwasher or hot water heater) opt for a modern energy efficient model to lock in lower greenhouse gas emissions. Your tenants will thank you for it!
Clothes dryers are inefficient and a waste of energy on hot days. Make sure your rental properties have functional, easy-to-use clotheslines instead.
Simple changes can make it easier for tenants to choose zero emissions transport options, especially for local trips. Think about how your tenants are likely to get around and whether your property makes it possible for them to travel in low-emissions ways.
Is there room for each resident to store a bicycle? Is there a convenient place to charge electric bikes or scooters? If the tenants upgraded to an electric cargo bike for local trips would there be somewhere safe and easy for them to keep it, e.g. without having to carry it up stairs?
If your house has off-street parking adding solar panels and a type 2 electric vehicle charger could make the world of difference to your tenant’s lives, while also putting a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.
Natural gas is responsible for around 10% of household emissions, and the only way to eliminate these emissions (and the cost associated with them) is to stop using gas. Gas is also increasingly being recognised as an indoor air pollutant. Electric hot water and heat pumps (reverse cycle AC) are cleaner and cheaper to run than gas models, even using electricity from the grid. Induction cooktops are highly responsive and incredibly efficient, while standard electric cooktops have also improved. Tenants are typically excluded from important decisions about which appliances run on gas. Consider discussing this with your tenants, or using your next renovation as an opportunity to reduce your property’s reliance on gas.