Property owners and managers should be proactive with their maintenance plan. Its primary purpose is to prevent minor repairs from growing into expensive major repairs, so developing a plan is important. Preventive maintenance can range from cleaning the coils of your air conditioner to sealing parking lot cracks. Whatever is on your list of repairs, the benefits of property maintenance include:
- Preventing repairs from becoming worse
- Maintaining or raising property value
- Increasing resident / tenant/ guest satisfaction and keeping the property attractive
- Saving on utility costs and resources
Consider that last point. When you approach property maintenance from a green perspective, you reap additional savings. Following environmentally preferable practices can help you to realize long-term savings and conserve resources. Many of them are easy to implement, affordable, and will provide a return on investment in a short period of time. Be sure your checklist includes green maintenance from the list below:
Add weatherstripping to your building before inclement weather (also known as “weatherization”). According to ENERGY STAR®, sealing and insulating the walls, ceiling, and windows of your building can save more than $200 a year in heating and cooling—up to 10% on total annual energy bills.
Fix leaky toilets. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons of water per day. Install a fill valve that shuts off if the flapper is stuck open or replace flappers if they are leaking. In addition, leaky toilets sometimes damage flooring, walls, and other areas. Preventing leaks can help you avoid costly bathroom repair.
Seal air ducts. According to the EPA, about 20 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost because of leaks and poorly sealed connections. Inspecting ductwork yearly and making minor repairs when necessary can really help you save.
Increase curb appeal by removing unwanted “art” from the walls of your building. When choosing the right product for this job, opt for a nontoxic and biodegradable paint stripper or graffiti remover.
Insulate your water heater. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that adding insulation to your water heater can reduce standby heat loss by 25 to 45%, if it doesn’t already have a high R-value insulation. Not sure what R-value your water heater is? An easy test is if you touch it and it is warm—you need more insulation. By simply adding a water heater insulation blanket, you can save around 4 to 9% in costs.
Patch cracks in exterior walls and apply a fresh coat of paint. Typical paint contains up to 10,000 chemicals, including volatile organic compounds, or “VOCs,” that cause air pollution and are linked to various health issues, including cancer. By using low VOC paint you minimize the risks for your maintenance staff, guests, and residents.
Having a green maintenance plan in place not only helps to keep your property in working order when bad weather hits, but will help save you money.
What common maintenance repair problem do you encounter? Tell us about your challenge so we can help provide a more “green” solution!