Increasing Number of Renters are Taking Energy Conservation Measures, Study Finds

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorChicago–The availability of on-site recycling programs at multifamily communities has increased by 16 percent and that of energy-efficient windows by nine percent since 2007, according to a recent study conducted by Apartments.com.Simultaneously, it seems that renters are becoming more conscious of the environmentally friendly measures they can take in their homes. For example, to conserve energy, 52 percent of renters are turning off lights and computers when not in use, setting air conditioners and heaters on timers and using energy-efficient light bulbs, according to the latest national survey conducted by Apartments.com. An additional twenty-two percent are recycling paper, plastics and electronics.The survey also found that more than 65 percent of renters say that practicing an environmentally friendly lifestyle is a high priority. Those who are not actively seeking out ways to conserve and maintain the environment indicated the number one reason as not having access to an on-site recycling program at their apartment. Renters are also going “green” during their apartment searches. More than 60 percent of renters said they search for apartments that offer environmentally friendly amenities and 25 percent are willing to pay more rent to live at an apartment community that considers the environment in its day-to-day community operations. This level of environmental consciousness reflects not only how renters live, but could also translate into where they choose to live. Apartment communities that offer environmentally friendly amenities are more likely to turn undecided renters into residents, according to Apartments.com. Seventeen percent of renters said they would not rent an apartment without environmentally friendly amenities. Additionally, more than half of renters surveyed indicated they would take an apartment community’s commitment to environmental issues into consideration. Fifty-seven percent of renters said their apartment community does not currently provide environmentally friendly amenities. When asked to choose all that apply, renters identified the five most popular amenities offered at their apartment communities as:On-site recycling programs (59%) Energy-efficient light bulbs (32%) Low water-flow devices (31%) Energy-efficient windows (26%) Automated and/or paperless processes for online transactions (24%) As part of its monthly “What Renters Want” research series, Apartments.com surveys renters on various topics. Apartments.com has a proprietary database with opt-in emails from renters.  For this survey, company we received just over 600 responses from renters around the country. An invitation to participate in the survey is sent to renters’ email addresses and the survey is conducted online.