Depending on the size of the property, there are different steps you can take.
The most effective in my experience is replacing incandescent lighting in common areas with long life compact florescent lights. I originally made the change because I wanted a longer life bulb, so that our maintenance guys only had to go up and down the ladder once a year rather than once every few months.
Surprisingly, the energy savings was major. The bulbs paid for themselves in labor and energy savings right away.
The next best thing I've had good luck with is low flow shower heads and low flow toilets. Check with your local water utility, sometimes they offer rebates or free toilets if you make this change.
Swapping out the old toilets saved tons of water. Even if you don't change your toilets, you should inspect your apartments every now and then to look for things like drippy faucets and running toilets. These are things that tenants may never bother to report, but will cost you tons of money.
Personally, when it comes to income property, I tend to shy away from what I call "bleeding edge" or unproven green appliances. For example, tankless hot water heaters. When the technology is new, there are only a handful of people that can service them... and they will charge accordingly.
Stick to simple, proven, no nonsense energy savings items: Low flow water faucets, low flow toilets, eliminate incandescent lighting in common areas, and switch your laundry rooms to front loading high efficiency machines.
Oct 20, 2008