Editor’s Note: Apartments Power Up

Alternative energy is good for residents & operations.

Not too long ago our editorial team heard from an established multifamily developer that leasing agents aren’t using the green attributes of apartment properties to entice prospective renters. This seemed illogical and possibly ill-informed, since I know many commercial developers proudly display LEED and Energy Star plaques on their building facades. But, according to this industry insider, the judgment call being made by some on-site marketers is that the existence of green features implies higher rents because a green property costs more to build. So some leasing professionals simply don’t mention what are arguably the most important selling points of the apartment asset. Hopefully this isn’t the approach being taken by your leasing agents.

There’s no doubt that eco-friendly properties are growing in popularity among Millennials and Baby Boomers alike. And by the time Gen Z is old enough to rent, their criteria will be even more demanding. So if you have a LEED or Energy Star building (or any green attributes at all) make sure these qualities are front and center of all marketing messaging including walkthroughs. And if you have any involvement at all with alternative energy sources, let them know. Electric vehicle charging stations are a practical way to start. Some mainstream developers are finding they can get higher rents by installing a small number of wind turbines on the roof to convey, “I’m a green building.”

Meanwhile, Soaring Heights Communities, a 50-year partnership between the Department of the Air Force and Lend Lease (US) Public Partnerships, is one of the largest solar powered communities in the country. Lend Lease maintains approximately 28.5 megawatts of renewable power and has an additional 14 megawatts in development. At Soaring Heights, money that would have been spent on traditionally produced electricity is used for capital repair and replacement, development, reinvestment projects, and resident programs within the community. In this month’s MHN Digital Magazine we take a look at Lend Lease’s ground-breaking work with alternative energy sources (“Savoring the Sun: How Soaring Heights Communities Powers its Military Family Housing,”). What are your plans for incorporating alternative energy? Whether you see this as a short- or long-term objective, please stay in touch so we can share your story!

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