Everyone needs to play a part in combatting climate change and landlords are no exception. Understanding the environmental impact of your building portfolio as things currently stand and taking steps to make improvements will form part of the UK’s target of net zero by 2050. In the past, requirements for residential properties only really went as far as Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) being provided, with minimum efficiency standards being achieved. While whole-building energy efficiency is important, there is so much more that can be achieved with a proactive approach, and the data and insights that can be facilitated by new technology can play a huge role in this, bringing multiple benefits to landlords/property managers and tenants, as well as the environmental considerations.
According to UKGBC, the UK’s built environment and the energy used in running these buildings is directly linked to around 25% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, so decarbonising existing housing is essential, as well as ensuring that newly developed properties meet strict standards.
We’ve taken a look at how using the data collected by a tenant engagement platform can help landlords and property managers to gain insights from their existing portfolios that could enable them to make huge strides in this area, informing their decisions and helping make efficiencies that not only help environmentally but can also save money and other resources.
Tracking tenant energy usage smartly
There’s nothing particularly new about tracking energy usage; energy suppliers have been doing it for some time, with smart meters and display devices fairly commonplace in many residential and some commercial properties. However, building managers that have access to this usage data, especially when segmented into individual tenancies, can use it for much more than billing purposes. Understanding when and how much energy is being used by tenants, especially in an era when more people work from home consistently when they perhaps wouldn’t have in the past, can help inform decisions about things like the most efficient heating systems to use and whether tenant lifestyles support a more efficient energy strategy for the building.
Monitoring building occupancy
Building on the ways in which tenants use energy in their own homes, it’s also essential to track how and when communal areas of the building and services are being used so that this data can be used to help minimise the building’s environmental impact. For large apartment buildings that incorporate facilities like gyms, meeting rooms and more, tracking how these are being used can also help highlight times and ways in which energy is being wasted, or where demand is low, potentially operational changes can be made to increase efficiency. Smart lighting and heating can be implemented, to ensure energy isn’t being used when it’s not needed in these spaces.
This kind of data can also help you make efficiencies with things such as the cleaning and maintenance of communal spaces, ensuring that the cleaning schedule is synced with when the spaces are being used most and will need more maintenance.
EV charger use
For residential buildings with parking provided on-site, charging facilities for electric vehicles (EVs) is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ facility for tenants, it’s becoming a necessity, which will only see more demand as we draw closer to the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles being sold in the UK.
Ensuring that EV charger usage is tracked by landlords and building managers will help inform decisions such as when to increase the number of chargers available, whether a booking system is needed to provide the tenants driving EVs with a better service and the impact that it’s having on the building’s overall energy use.
Smarter waste facilities
Providing the right facilities for tenants to dispose of their household waste and making recycling as straightforward as possible can have a big impact on a building’s ongoing carbon footprint. Tracking how tenants are using current facilities can help highlight any processes or services that need to be changed e.g. the frequency of collection/disposal services, which can save money in the long term, as well as delivering a better service to tenants and improving the building’s green credentials.
Monitoring tenant activity within the building
Seeing how and when tenants use the building can help landlords and building managers make decisions on things such as when to make improvements to the physical buildings, such as by upgrading insulation, windows and lighting (to LED alternatives) and even potentially looking at installing solar PV and storage batteries to make the most of renewable energy, when appropriate for the specific building.
Taking tenant feedback on board
The best source of data for any landlord or property management company on a building and its eco-targets is always the tenants themselves. By ensuring that you have open dialogue with tenants about environmental concerns such as energy usage, recycling facilities, energy efficiency of the building itself, you can gather meaningful data at its source and use this to help shape your future strategy to make your property more efficient and lower emissions, as well as keeping tenants happier and reducing tenant turnover, which has its own inherent cost savings.
Understanding how these kinds of data can help landlords and property managers is one thing, but how is the information gathered in the first place?
Our tenant engagement and building management platform is a way of not only communicating effectively with tenants and providing digital features that make their life easier and build a better sense of community, but can also include a wide range of functionality to help you manage the building more efficiently and collect the data you need to make informed decisions that can help reduce carbon emissions.
With the capability to tailor the platform functionality to your specific requirements, at a fraction of the timescale and cost of traditional app development, Padoq’s solution offers a suite of tools and features that make your property business simply work better.
Get in touch for more information on our property management and tenant engagement platform.