YES, YOU CAN!
If you’re renting and paying your own utility bills, you may think that there’s no incentive for your landlord to switch to a system powered by clean energy. But, switching to solar photovoltaics, solar thermal, wind power, geothermal biomass or combined heat and power could be a win-win situation for you and your landlord. You already know you, as the tenant, would benefit by limiting future increases in your utility bills. But can you really convince your landlord that it’s in his or her best interest, too? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” All you need to do is present a compelling case. So, here’s how:
- Show your landlord the value of this investment. Your landlord knows that his or her rental property is an asset, and like any asset its value will increase with an investment. Recent studies have shown that clean energy systems actually increase property values. They also make the property more attractive to both buyers and renters. Renters are less likely to leave, but if they do, the amount of time it would take to sell or rent the property is reduced significantly.
- Show your landlord how this could work. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for any landlord will be the purchase price of the system. Let your landlord know that you are willing to help finance the system by paying him or her the amount of money you were previously sending to the utility company. By making a direct payment to your landlord equal to what you were already paying to heat or power your home, you can put a cap on the amount you pay for energy while providing your landlord with an income stream to pay debt service on the clean energy system.
- Address any other concerns your landlord may have. Your landlord might be worried that tenants who no longer have to pay to heat or power their home might crank up the thermostat or leave every light in the place on. Suggest a simple fix: If your landlord installs a clean energy system, agree to use exactly the same amount of energy you used before and, if you use more, agree to pay your landlord the difference. That’s only fair, right?
That is a win for you and a win for your landlord, and you both benefit by cutting out the middleman—your utility!