GREEN TENANT BEHAVIORAL PLAN FOR RESIDENTS OF MULTI-FAMILY BUILDINGS

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1 GREEN TENANT BEHAVIORAL PLAN FOR RESIDENTS OF MULTI-FAMILY BUILDINGS AGPOM.org

2 Member Segment: Multi-Family Building Residents Apartments and Condominiums The number of apartment and condo buildings going green continues to grow as residents increase their interest in properties focused on environmental sustainability. Whether your dwelling is a leader in the green building movement or is just starting to make sustainable changes as a resident you can enjoy a greener lifestyle through your own behavior. Green living practices offer both environmental and financial benefits including: Lower utility expenses Conservation of energy and water Increased comfort, health and safety Industry data shows that behavior rather than technology has the greatest impact on utility costs and carbon footprints. Fortunately, behavioral improvements are available to anyone willing to engage them. Behavioral changes, rather than capital investment, make up the majority of this plan. While as a tenant or resident you can only make behavioral changes in the space for which you are responsible, those efforts have a direct effect on your individual living space, and do contribute to the greening of your building, and the greater good. AGPOM Lincoln Plaza SE 6th Street Suite 100 Bellevue, WA Contact: Eric Arthur, Executive Director Office: Cell: AGPOM AGPOM Green Green Property Multi-family Plan Retail Building Shopping TenantBuildings Plan

3 Member Segment: Multi-Family Building Residents Getting Started Improving sustainable behaviors often begins with a green living assessment. Accurate information about the condition of your appliances, electronic equipment, fixtures and existing behaviors forms the foundation for ensuring maximum benefit from your new green living initiatives. An assessment helps identify the best opportunities for enhancing the sustainability of living spaces and should contemplate: Energy Efficiency Water Conservation Indoor Air Quality Site sustainability If interested, AGPOM can recommend tools and/or third-party consultants for conducting effective assessments. The balance of this plan outlines practical behavioral initiatives available for reducing expenses and improving indoor living environments. For ease of use, this plan is segregated into the general topics listed above. 1

4 Energy Efficiency Multifamily and other habitational buildings account for 19% of the total energy consumed in the United States. Implementing energy efficiency measures helps reduce costs significantly, typically this savings is between 5% to 25% annually. The primary drivers of energy costs are lighting, heating and cooling. The chart below outlines the average energy use splits in the United States as of When focusing on energy efficiency start by targeting the top drivers of energy use. Refrigeration Commercial Facility Primary Energy Use Splits Water Heating 4% 7% Ventilation 7% 4% 2% 14% Electronics 8% 13% Space Heating 27% 14% Space Cooling Computers Cooking Other Lighting Source: 2008 EIA Buildings Energy Data Book Heating and Cooling For multi-family units, saving energy through heating and cooling behaviors requires participation from all residents within the living space. The following practices should be followed for your individual unit s heating/cooling systems. Adopt a preventative maintenance plan for your heating, venting and air conditioning equipment and systems. It should outline that you will regularly: Change or clean all air filters, preferably every month. Clean all heat exchanger surfaces, water and refrigerator coils. Control your heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to use only the heating and cooling necessary based on occupancy and temperature. 2

5 Energy Efficiency Effectively manage thermostats: The recommendation from the U.S. Department of Energy is to set temperature as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in the summer. In winter, set thermostats between 65 and 68 degrees when occupied, and 55 to 60 during unoccupied times and after bedtime. In summer, set thermostats between 74 and 77 degrees during occupied hours, and above 78 during unoccupied hours. Do not use portable heaters as they typically rank among the most expensive methods for heat space; also for the significant fire and shock hazards they represent. During cold weather, take advantage of the sun s warmth by keeping blinds (if present) open during daylight hours. To keep out the heat of the summer sun, close blinds in warm weather. Keep window coverings closed in unoccupied areas to combat extreme hot and cold temperatures. Keep air vents clear of paper, files and office supplies. It takes as much as 25% more energy to pump air into a room if the vents are blocked. Check weather stripping around doors and windows and replace any worn or missing pieces to stop air-infiltration. Lighting Simple behavioral changes can result in direct reductions to electricity expense. When possible, replace any traditional, incandescent light bulbs with high-efficiency, LED or compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) bulbs. Both LED and CFLs use 65-75% less energy than regular incandescent light bulbs. Although these bulbs cost more than regular incandescent bulbs, they last more than 10 times longer and can save you more than $77 off your energy bill during the life of the bulb. They also create 75% less heat, which reduces the risk of fire. Turn off lights when not in use. Ensure outdoor lighting, if any, is off during daytime. Encourage other residents to turn off the lights when not in use. 3

6 Energy Efficiency If present, open blinds and direct sunlight to the ceiling to make use of the resulting diffused lighting. Rely on natural daylight in areas for as much of each day as possible. Note: Most fluorescent lamps are considered Universal Waste under federal regulations and must be recycled or disposed of properly. Rules have been developed to streamline the environmental regulations for these wastes and reduce the regulatory burden for businesses that generate these wastes. For steps to managing your Universal Waste Lamps in an environmentally safe manner, please visit EPA s guide to establishing a recycling program for mercury-containing light bulbs. Electronic Equipment Use Train your fellow residents to conserve. Saving energy could be as simple as closing a refrigerator door or turning off the burner when not needed. These items add up and make a material difference. Regularly monitor and report on energy performance to other residents in order to maintain efficiency practices and raise awareness. Use computer equipment power management features to reduce electricity use (average savings: $50-$75 per year per machine). These features are now standard in Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Use the control panel to put computers into a low-power sleep mode after a period of inactivity. Simply touching the mouse or keyboard wakes the computer and monitor in seconds. AGPOM recommends setting for sleep mode or hibernate after 30 to 60 minutes of inactivity. To save even more, set monitors to enter sleep mode after 5 to 20 minutes of inactivity. The lower the setting, the more energy and money you save. Turn off computers, monitors, printers and home theatre systems off during non-use. Using a power strip makes it easy to turn off electronics all at once and doesn t allow phantom power from electronics on Standby. Use laptop computers where possible. They consume 90% less energy than desktop computers. Unplug cell phone and other battery chargers when fully charged or disconnected from the charger. 4

7 Water Conservation When you notice a water leak, be sure to repair it or call a professional right away to avoid an ocean of unnecessary water waste costs. Without repairs, water leaks can result in up to $700 in excessive water costs over the span of one year. Repair dripping faucets, showers and continuously running or leaking toilets. Reduce the water used in toilet flushing by either adjusting the vacuum flush mechanism or installing toilet tank displacement devices (dams, bottles, or bags, cistern volume adjusters (CVAs)). As appliances or fixtures wear out, replace or request they be replaced with water-saving models. Reduce the load on air conditioning units by shutting air conditioning off when and where it is not needed. Install high pressure/low flow faucet aerators on all sinks and shower heads these save about 50% of water than a conventional faucet or shower head. Post signs encouraging water conservation in your living space. Only run the dishwasher with full capacity loads. Discontinue and/or avoid use of bottled drinking water. There are over 14 million tons of plastic containers, such as those used for bottled water which are discarded into landfills every year and only a small fraction of which are recycled. Instead, use a water filter pitcher with washable cups. Minimize water flow when using faucets (washing dishes, brushing teeth, cleaning hands, etc.) 5

8 Indoor Air Quality The EPA ranks indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health. Indoor air pollution can come from many sources, including off-gassing from building materials, finishes and furnishings; cleaning products and solvents; cigarette smoke; combustion from fuel-fired appliances and equipment; water leaks and moisture intrusion or accumulation; outdoor air pollution; pests such as cockroaches; pesticides; and ironically even some types of air fresheners. Indoor pollution problems are also often caused by or exacerbated by inadequate ventilation. Indoor pollutants include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene and toluene; carbon monoxide; dust and particulates; and mold and mildew. Some pollutants produce noxious odors, whereas others have no odor. Preventing IAQ problems by proper source reduction (i.e., pollution prevention) is the best ways to protect your health and well-being. The following are some basic strategies for safeguarding indoor air quality: Selection of less-toxic materials and products: Use nontoxic or low-toxic cleaning products; zero-voc or low-voc paints, finishes, adhesives, caulks and carpet; and formaldehyde-free wood products. Moisture control: If conditions are very humid, run fans or dehumidifiers. Fix water leaks and intrusions, mop up standing water and immediately dry any building materials that get wet to prevent mold, mildew and bacterial growth. Mold control: If you see discoloration (mold can be white, orange, green, brown or black) on surfaces; observe cracked or discolored grout, drywall or other materials; and/or smell a musty odor, this may indicate a mold or mildew problem. Disinfect and dry all moldy areas immediately mold grows and spreads quickly. If porous building materials are moldy (e.g., drywall, carpeting), remove them or have them removed. Carpet cleaning: Carpet acts as a haven for dirt, bacteria and mold. Vacuum carpets regularly, preferably using a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. When cleaning carpets, use a non-chemical, low-water process, and use fans afterward to dry the carpeting quickly. 6

9 Indoor Air Quality Natural ventilation: Open windows from time to time to get some outside air flowing through the rooms. When doing repairs, cleaning or installations that might involve any noxious chemicals or off-gassing (including painting, gluing or applying finishes) or bringing new furniture into the dwelling, open nearby windows during the work and leave them open for at least several hours after the work is complete. Green Cleaning Utilize Eco friendly cleaning products and detergents for cleaning. Choosing less hazardous cleaning products that have positive environmental attributes and taking steps to reduce exposure can minimize harmful impacts to occupants, improves indoor air quality, and reduces water and ambient air pollution, while also ensuring the effectiveness of cleaning in removing biological and other contaminants. Use microfiber pads for cleaning rather than paper or other disposable products. Cloth cleaning rags can be laundered and reused. Paper towels usually just end up in a landfill. Purchasing Opportunities abound for making smart purchasing choices that can reduce the amount of toxins to which you are exposed. For example, switching to low VOC paint, purchasing furniture from third-party certified sustainable wood, or buying reusable drink glasses and purchasing napkins and toilet paper with post-consumer recycled paper content are small changes that can make a big difference. Buying products with recycled content ensures that recycling programs around the country are successful. 7

10 Purchasing When purchasing new equipment and appliances, purchase Energy Star-qualified products. In 2006, American saved almost 5% of the nation s annual electricity demand and $14 billion on their energy bills through the Energy Star program. Use the Energy Star store locator to find the nearest retailer: Purchase recycled napkins, toilet paper, facial tissues, and paper towels. Most stores offer a variety of paper products that use recycled materials. Skip the disposable paper products and use only reusable dishes, mugs and glasses. Recycling/Composting If your building offers recycling and composting be sure to set-up your kitchen so it is easy to collect recyclables for the property container. Also double check the list of approved items. Most local waste haulers have this information available online. If your property does not offer recycling or composting, encourage the management to consider it. Typically recycling and compost containers cost significantly less than garbage dumpsters from the local haulers and can reduce the need for a large garbage dumpster (saving the property money!). You can also donate these items through other sources: Clothing (look for containers in your area that take clothing donations or take them to a local thrift shop) Furniture (most thrift stores will take furniture that is still in useable condition) Donate unused electronics such as old computers, printers and copiers. Donation locations can be found at: Recycle used batteries. 8

11 Become a Sustainability Ambassador for your fellow residents! Educate your property management and fellow residents about your sustainability practices and urge them to participate in the AGPOM Green plan as well. More tips and information for property managers can be found on the AGPOM Website. 9

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