Educating tenants about using water wisely can be a fun way for tenants to build community with their neighbors and help keep the facility’s utility costs down.
By improving efficiency, tenants have a direct impact on future rental rates if utility bills are included in the rent or, if they pay their own utilities, this service provides an even more direct benefit.
Tenant education suggestions:
- Hold monthly meetings at the clubhouse or other gathering location. Invite a speaker from your local water or energy utility to talk about conservation, or show a video or slide show on the water system or on conservation (available from the Portland Water Bureau). Have refreshments and door prizes to encourage tenant participation.
- Send out "tips of the month" as part of your site’s monthly newsletter, or create a quarterly or monthly utility conservation newsletter specifically filled with conservation ideas. Distribute conservation brochures available through the Portland Water Bureau by filling out the web request form.
- Post tips on a community bulletin board or web page for your facility.
- Post a consumption history comparing use per occupant per month showing each month of the year in the prior year next to the same month in the current year, just like power companies do on a typical residential power bill, on a community bulletin board. For help generating this graphic, contact the Conservation Assistance Line.
- Post information about what your company has done to improve water efficiency at this property (i.e. purchased new showerheads or toilets or water efficient appliances, reduced irrigation use by improved irrigation management, etc), and at other properties the company owns/manages. Make sure tenants know how to use water efficient equipment like tumble action washers properly.
- Hold a contest to see which tenants can come up with the longest list of conservation actions and provide prizes to the winners.
- Share financial savings from conservation by holding a family fun night or picnic, or by purchasing new equipment (i.e. ping pong table, pool table, work out room equipment, community center television or DVD player) and make sure tenants know that it was their conservation efforts that made the purchase of the equipment possible.
- Give away free pizza, movie tickets or ice cream cones if water uses decreases by a preset goal from the prior year, same month (i.e. 10% reduction per occupant comparing October of 2002 with October 2003).
Whatever you decide to do, be creative and have fun. If your tenants enjoy living at your property and believe that you have their best interests at heart, chances are that they will stay longer, maintain their apartment better and tell others about their positive experience living there.