Residents in Build to Rent communities are concerned more than ever about sustainability and their roles as consumers of stainable development. There are more extreme weather patterns occurring in the past few years, which are caused by the planet’s average surface temperature rising 1.18 degrees Celsius in the past 200 years. Increased carbon dioxide emissions, largely from fossil fuels, contribute to most of the warming happening in about the past 40 years.
By Hamish Neale, Realpage
Experiencing these changes and seeing troublesome information like this about climate change often bring people to think, ‘How can I do my part to make things better?’ Build to Rent residents are no exception, as a majority of residents are concerned about climate change and want to be part of the solution. The Office for National Statistics surveyed UK households and found that around three-quarters (75%) of adults in the UK were concerned to some degree about climate change.
How are residents thinking about sustainability?
Build to Rent residents view sustainability as a whole, from how a sustainability-oriented apartment could benefit their quality of life as an individual to the broader impact of a sustainable Build to Rent community on the environment. Sustainable development generally includes community green initiatives (like robust recycling programs), energy-efficient infrastructure (like smart thermostats, leak sensors, HVAC, and more), and water waste prevention measures, but the possibilities continue to grow.
What does sustainable multifamily development look like with IoT?
Smart apartment technology in Build to Rent brings advantages for all stakeholders by reducing utility usage, ensuring residents’ comfort, and slashing costs. A property-wide network that connects to smart devices enables water, energy, and waste management and control. These infrastructures and features support a larger sustainable Build to Rent ecosystem that many residents seek.
Smart water management prevents water leaks and related damages through smart leak sensing and submetering information. According to a report by the Environment Agency, just under 3 billion litres (660 million gallons) of water is lost to leaks every day – According to new figures released by HomeServe Labs, 43% of domestic properties in the UK have suffered water leaks. It was found that the average flow rate for a domestic property with an active leak is 20.63ml per minute, which amounts to 30 litres of water wastage per day if left unrectified. So imagine what this could look like in the worst-case scenario in Build to Rent housing, where leaks can easily spread to other units or common areas. Smart leak sensors can detect leaks and freezes early enough to alert property staff before escalating to extensive damages. In addition, the property staff can maintain the ideal temperature of common areas and vacant units to protect appliances and pipes without manually adjusting the thermostat in each unit.
Smart energy management eliminates wasteful energy consumption and costs with whole-building insights. In the UK, roughly 15% of greenhouse gas emissions come from residential and commercial buildings, but there are optimistic trends of emissions reductions with energy efficiency improvements. Smart Energy can continue to decrease energy usage through a combination of smart devices and powerful analysis so property managers and owners can identify any system issues in real-time.
Smart thermostats can sense and regulate temperature to deliver maximum comfort and energy efficiency settings for residents (with their in-unit thermostats) or property managers (for thermostats in vacant units and common areas). Also, residents can turn on geofencing features through their smartphones, so that smart thermostats can automatically adjust temperatures based on the resident’s proximity to the apartment unit. Leaving the virtual perimeter of the unit triggers the smart thermostat to adjust to a more energy-saving temperature when the resident is away, and changes to the resident’s set optimal temperature once they approach the unit.
Sustainability isn’t a passing trend, but rather a powerful commitment that residents across the country are speaking up about. Aligning with what they are seeking through investing in green infrastructure and processes will allow communities to flourish for all stakeholders.