As the noise around climate change continues to grow, many homeowners and investors across Australia are looking at how energy efficient their properties are and where there's room to make some smart improvements. For landlords in particular though, making these changes isn't just about doing your bit for the planet and help tenants save money, it's also an opportunity to improve the value of your investment.
So, as Western Australia looks forward to another hot summer where the air conditioning will be blasting, why should landlords of Bunbury rental properties take another look at their energy footprint?
According to research by the University of Melbourne, there are good reasons for property owners to invest in energy efficient appliances and features. According to the research, properties that have strong energy efficiency ratings at the five or six-star level (out of 10) were able to command a rental premium of between 2-2.4 per cent.
While that in itself is impressive, the benefits grow as the energy footprint shrinks. Once properties moved up to a seven-star rating, they saw a boost of up to 9.4 per cent in rental yields.
As the University of Melbourne's Dr Georgia Warren-Myers put it: "The data shows people are valuing energy efficiency and making decisions based on the energy efficiency portrayed in these ratings. It has become one of the factors that people consider when they're looking. They see the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, car parks, and they see the energy star rating."
While the research was limited to the ACT, where energy efficiency is mandatory in rental listings, it contains an interesting lesson for landlords here in WA looking for that secret sauce to make their property stand out.
For any landlord, there's a few easy ways to improve energy efficiency, without undertaking a massive project. When you're upgrading equipment like washing machines, driers and kitchen equipment, use it as a chance to invest in an energy efficient option.
As well as upgrading equipment, you'll need to make sure what you have already installed is being serviced regularly. Air conditioning and heating units, for example, will need regular maintenance if they're going to operate at their most efficient.
Of course, the time when you can make the greatest impact to a property's energy efficiency is when you come to do any major repair works. When you're renovating a room or whole property, this is the time to invest in insulation, lighting and appliances like hot water cupboards.
While energy efficiency can come with an upfront cost, the research shows that renters are willing to pay a premium to keep their energy bills down.
If you want to know more about renting out a property in the Bunbury area, get in touch with your local Ray White team.