It’s one thing to say you’re a green community and another to actually show it. Showcasing the right green practices can make the difference between a resident signing a new lease and even renewing a lease. But what do you showcase and how do you share it? Follow these creative and effective ways to highlight your green community features today:
We Recycle, Do You?
One of the top amenities residents want is on-site recycling, but you would be surprised that the majority of residents do not know that their community offers recycling, even at properties they’ve lived in for many years. Take initiative by framing a flyer stating that your community recycles as well as bin location/program information. It can be as simple as saying, ‘We Recycle, Do You?’ or ‘Recycle Today! Recycling bins are located in front of buildings XYZ’. Place these around the leasing office and clubhouse, which will prove effective for both current and prospective residents.
If you have a small recycling bin, use it as a prop by filling it with recycling brochures or flyers, empty bottles/cans, blue recycling bags, etc. You can even use the bin as a “go to” station where residents can pick up information and resources.
It never hurts to educate and re-educate about recycling. Distribute information quarterly and you will see direct benefits with lower waste costs (due to higher waste diversion) and a decrease in contamination, especially if you live in a mandated city or state.
Attention Everyone, We Are Green!
Advertise you’re a green community with small and tasteful staked signs placed outside the leasing office and throughout your community. They can be as simple as, ‘Keep Our Community Green’ or ‘Continue our Efforts to Go Green’, and are an inexpensive way to get the word out. A large strategically placed banner is also helpful.
A big mistake properties make is not showing residents green features in both the community and individual units, or explaining how using them can save money and resources. Be sure to include and explain green features on all tours.
Remember that prospective renters need a way to compare the real costs of living to green costs of living. For example, if you submeter, show them the difference in their energy usage and cost savings. If units have CFL lightbulbs, explain how they will enable you to reduce carbon emissions and save X annually, etc.
People want to feel like they’re making a contribution. If your overall community decreased waste by 10% and you saved an extra $150 that month, let them know and thank them in newsletters, on the web, etc. Even set a tangible goal by saying something like, ‘Great job decreasing waste and increasing your recycling efforts. Help meet the community goal of 45% waste diversion by continuing to recycle more items than you throw away.”
Post green amenities on your website and on rental websites, down to the slightest eco detail like CFL light bulbs, non-toxic pesticides, motion sensor controls, low VOC paint, community garden, submetering, and proximity to public transportation. If you have energy-efficient appliances and windows, are LEED certified, and more, let the world know. Don’t forget to inform residents about green amenities on Facebook and Twitter, too.
Lastly, it never hurts to ask residents for their green ideas and input at community meetings or via a suggestion box.
The main takeaway is to show residents you care about the planet and you’re making their lives easier. By setting out accessible visuals and explaining green features you’re creating awareness, and by setting goals and sharing the results, you further a sense of community.