The climate crisis is here and we all need to do what we can. Here are 10 suggestions. If you do just one, you will be helping.
This post is published on 1 January 2021 – so make it your New Years Resolution to try to do something. If not one of the suggestions here, something else.
1 Move your bank account to a green bank such as Triodos
If everyone did this the cumulative effect would be terrific. Triodos use their funds to support ethical and green projects – so by moving your bank account you are helping to support these too.
I moved my personal bank account to Triodos earlier in 2020 and have had no problems. As their business accounts do not support cards (unlike the personal accounts) I could not move all my business accounts over but I have a Triodos business account where I save up for tax and salary payments.
You can read about my experience here.
2. Consider moving your pension fund to an ethical provider
While you are at it – why not consider moving your pension fund to an ethical pension provider too?
This can also have a terrific effect. Some pension funds are moving towards investing only in ethical funds but not all.
This should also improve the value of your pension fund as fossil fuels are due to nosedive in value over time and funds which invest heavily in them will lose value. For example, see this article from Forbes which confirms that you get better returns when investing in renewable energy investments.
See this website on making your money matter.
3 Sign up all your properties to a Green Electricity provider
I have used Ecotricity for the past 10 years. I like them as they actually build solar farms and wind turbines rather than just using green electricity provided by other companies. However, they are not the cheapest.
There are other green electricity providers but make sure you check out their credentials first.
4. If installing a new gas boiler – consider using a ‘hydrogen ready’ model
One of the problems we have in this country is that most homes use gas for heating – and gas is a fossil fuel. It is going to have to be phased out over the next 10 years which means expense for landlords (hopefully there will be subsidies).
One solution to the gas problem is to use hydrogen instead. Apparently, modern boilers can accommodate up to 20% hydrogen but if the amount of hydrogen in the gas supply is increased, new boilers will be necessary. Hydrogen boilers are becoming available – find out more by doing a search on the internet on ‘hydrogen ready gas boiler’.
For example, a hydrogen boiler is already available from Worcester Bosch, and no doubt others will come on board later. Buying one of these now may be more expensive but you could be saving yourself the cost of replacement further on down the line. Or maybe hold off replacement in the short term to see what other models become available, and indeed what steps are going to be taken by the government to deal with the problem of gas in homes. We should know by the end of the year.
5. Make sure your properties are well insulated
This will mean warmer homes for your tenants and a better EPC rating for the property. Proper insulation is the first step you need to take towards ‘greening’ your properties.
Thermal imaging can often reveal where properties are leaking heat. You can find out more by doing a search on the internet, or if you can get to Cambridge, Cambridge Carbon Footprint run courses.
6. Make sure all the light bulbs in your properties are energy efficient
As explained here, these lower your carbon footprint and reduce lighting bills. So landlords whose properties are bills included should, in particular, be sure to have these.
They should also improve your energy efficiency rating. Hopefully, however, you will already have done this.
7. Encourage your tenants to use green transport
Petrol engines in cars are due to be phased out and electric cars are the future.
However often the biggest problem is easy access to a charging point to charge it up and lack of easy access to a charging point will put people off. Why not offer to instal a charging point for your tenants, assuming your property is suitable. Find out more in our post here.
You can also encourage people to use cycles more by providing secure storage. This will be particularly important for tenants who have electric bikes as they are expensive.
8. Plant trees in property gardens
If your property has a garden – why not plant a tree in it? The more trees we have the better as they reduce carbon and improve the environment.
Not all gardens will be suitable for trees, although in most cases a small fruit tree will be possible. This could also help your tenants save money on food. Or if they just ignore it, it will help local wildlife. See our article here.
9. Use the Ecosia search engine
Talking about trees, if you use Ecosia as your search engine they use 80% of their profits to support tree planting in vulnerable areas.
It costs you absolutely nothing and the search experience is as good as Google. Why not make Ecosia your computers default search engine?
Find out more in our article here.
10. Make an active decision to learn more and do more in the coming year
Saving the planet is not just down to governments, it also involves all of us. We all need to do what we can.
Much of our carbon comes from domestic properties and as landlords, you have a big part to play. Watch out for training courses – we are hoping to do something in 2021, maybe in association with the NRLA, but in the meantime, you can find courses elsewhere, for example from environmental organisations such as the Centre for Alternative Technology.
You will probably be helping yourself too as greener properties will be more attractive for tenants and you may be able to charge a higher rent – to reflect the lower running costs.
Also – talk to your tenants and see what suggestions they have. What are their needs? For example, do they need secure storage for an electric bike?
Do what you can. Let us have YOUR suggestions in the comment box below.
And Happy New Year!