Smart appliances and smart home tech

Smart home tech is a great way to show tenants that you care about the environmental impact of the property and also about giving them a greener home that’s cost-effective for them to run.

There are lots of different technologies out there that can help make your property more energy efficient, but it’s all-too easy to get carried away and end up buying smart tech simply for its own sake. So do your research and make sure you only invest in things that are going to provide real value for you and your tenants. 

There’s a lot of information here, but you can skip ahead using the menu below:

Smart eco friendly white goods

These days, you can find a huge range of smart appliances that will not only outlast their less intelligent counterparts, but also offer greater energy efficiency and a few other nifty features to boot.

  • Washing machines: Washing an average load at 60 degrees in a traditional washer/dryer will create a carbon footprint of around 3.3kg. But the latest machines will weigh your load of laundry, then adjust the water, time and energy required accordingly. Some will even wash clothes at just 15 degrees using bubbles to inject air into the wash, reducing the need for hot water
  • Fridge/freezers: Modern smart fridges and fridge/freezers (which account for around 17 per cent of domestic UK energy consumption) are 30 per cent more efficient than older models. Many now include smart panels that allow users to monitor energy consumption and order replacement goods
  • Dishwashers: The average dishwasher uses 15 litres of water for a cycle. Using the ‘eco’ option on a modern dishwasher will give the same results while using a fraction of the water. Just make sure you remind your tenants to hit the right button!
  • Kettles: Yes, even kettles are smart now. A recent study found that 40 per cent of people boil water at least five times a day, so supplying your tenants with an eco kettle could significantly reduce their electricity bill. The latest models will cut down the amount of electricity used to boil the water, then act like a thermal flask, keeping the water hot for up to four hours

When you’re shopping for white goods, look out for a brandmark that shows that they’re either verified or endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust.

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Smart bathroom fittings

Low-flush toilets

Did you know that flushing toilets accounts for a third of total water usage in UK households? Older style, traditional toilets can use as much as 14 litres per flush, however, more modern toilets with dual flush options only use between 2.6 and four litres per flush, while composting toilets don’t use any water at all.

Cost-wise, prices start at around £100 for a new dual flush toilet, but you may be able to retrofit a traditional toilet with a dual flush mechanism for as little as £15.

Water-saving shower heads

The average shower in the UK lasts eight minutes, using around 60 litres of water.  Water-saving shower heads restrict the amount of water that can flow through them and could reduce the amount used by around a third. Given that they only cost around £15, it might be worth installing them in your rental property.

And if you’re really keen to encourage your tenants to save water, you could provide them with a water saving monitor – a little gadget that keeps track of how much water you’re using in the shower and sounds an alarm when you’ve used your target amount!

Smart meters

Ultimate guide to having an eco friendly property

The Government has put its weight behind the introduction of smart meters, because they’ve been proven to have a big impact on energy consumption.

Quite simply, being able to see how much energy we’re using encourages us to reduce it. The aim is to ensure every home in the UK has been given the choice of installing a smart meter by 2024.

Smart gas and electricity meters offer a range of intelligent functions to help you and your tenants monitor and control energy usage, including:

  • Displaying near real-time information on energy use (expressed in pounds and pence)
  • Communicating directly with your energy supplier, remotely
  •  Allowing the property to be divided into ‘zones’ with different automated settings
  • Enabling remote control of energy usage

Not only will a smart meter dramatically reduce the energy that your properties could be wasting on poorly regulated heating, but they can also be controlled remotely, giving your tenants greater flexibility.

As at 31 March 2021, 45 per cent of all gas and electricity meters in Great Britain were smart meters, with a total of 17.8 million of those meters in smart mode.

When you’re trying to create an eco friendly rental property, a smart meter is a no-brainer option for quick and easy savings.


Could your tenant organise to fit a smart meter themselves?

You might not be aware that if a tenant is paying the utility bills, they have a legal right to ask for a smart meter and to have one fitted.

Of course, we would always recommend that they contact you before organising for a switch.

If you pay the bills yourself, you can organise to have one fitted. Having a smart meter is especially useful if you’re not local to the property, as you can ‘read’ the meter remotely, potentially saving a visit or two to a property.

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Smart thermostats

Installing smart thermostat technology (around £250) can give your tenants even more control options via an app on their smartphone or tablet.

Some devices can learn your daily routine and automatically adjust temperatures accordingly, while others even have geo-fencing installed that alters the heating automatically when residents have travelled a certain distance from home.

So, even if they forgot to turn the heating down when they left, the system is smart enough to sort itself out!

It’s estimated that smart heating saves around five per cent in energy consumption, which means they should pay for themselves within about five years.

For landlords, however, the real benefit is in giving their tenants more modern options when it comes to keeping themselves comfortable and environmentally secure.

smart appliances and smart home tech