While many around the world commemorate St Patrick’s Day with parades, festivals and perhaps a pint of Irish Guinness, we thought we’d help property owners to celebrate the day by providing some tips and advice to go green around the home or within an investment property.
Plant native trees and flowers in the garden
The traditional symbol of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is the shamrock and while some of you might want to spend part of the day searching to find a four leaf clover in the garden for a little luck, it’s also a great time of year to take a look at what has been planted in the yard.
Carefully selecting what types of flowers, shrubs and trees you plant in the garden can be very beneficial for the environment. Choosing native options can help to protect local flora and fauna. As an added bonus, often native plants are hardier to the local climate, so they will need less water and help you to conserve this resource.
Install solar panels and a solar hot water system
Installing solar panels and a solar hot water system is one of the more obvious ways an investor or a home owner can make their property more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint.
These items can also go a long way to helping home owners, landlords and their tenants to save money. While there will an upfront cost to install the systems and they may require some maintenance, the electricity generated from solar panels is free and any surplus power will feed back into the grid to help offset bills.
With the cost of electricity expected to rise to $160 per megawatt hour in Australia according to recent research from The Climate Council, now could be a good time to purchase these assets.
For investors with properties which contain solar generating systems or solar hot water systems, there is an added bonus. These are depreciable assets. For a solar generating system which cost $5,500, an investor can claim $550 in depreciation deductions in the first full financial year. A solar hot water system which cost $3,995 will result in $533 in depreciation deductions in the first full financial year.
Separate your household waste and compost kitchen scraps
Many of us are guilty of being lazy when it comes to performing this task, but it can be as simple as allocating separate containers in which to put your kitchen scraps, plastics and other material.
A compost bin in the back yard can also turn kitchen waste such as eggshells, food scraps and spoiled vegetables into a great fertilizer for your garden. Remember, any waste you manage to avoid will help to ease the amount of household waste and landfill created.
Complete repairs to leaky taps and faucets quickly
Whether you’re a home owner or a landlord, try to arrange for leaky taps and faucets to be replaced quickly.
Before renting your property, it is also a good idea to ensure that any taps and showerheads are up to current standards. Most new homes are required to have a maximum flow rate of 9 litres per minute and meet at least a three star water efficiency rating so this is a good guide if you are unsure whether your taps and showerheads are up to scratch.
Hang washing outside to dry
Most of us love our household dryers as they make completing the washing easier and more time efficient. However, did you know that 2.3 kg of carbon emissions is produced for every hour a dryer is in use?
Hanging clothes outside to dry not only saves energy, but it also helps to promote a more active lifestyle. Just thirty minutes of hanging clothes on the line can burn up to 150 calories.
Update your insulation
Thermal wool ceiling and wall insulation helps to prevent heat from escaping from a property, so it can keep enclosed building areas warmer in the cooler months. For this reason it helps to reduce energy consumption, but it also helps to protect the construction elements of the building against thermal impact and moist related damage.
Like solar assets, when found in investment properties, thermal roof insulation can also be claimed as a deduction for the wear and tear which occurs over time. However it is considered a structural or fixed component of the building and should be claimed as a capital works deduction at a rate of 2.5 per cent per year over a maximum of forty years.
Property investors should speak with their specialist Quantity Surveyor if they are planning on removing or updating the insulation to see what impact this will have on depreciation deductions before completing this work.
Add plants to the decor
In addition to making your living environment a nice place to visit, some plants like lilies, spider plants and aloe vera help to remove formaldehyde found in the air whilst bamboo plants, ivy and asparagus ferns are also known to clean indoor air.
If you are installing plants, check they aren’t toxic if you have pets and remember to ensure they get an appropriate amount of sunlight and water to stay green.
For a bit of that Irish luck to rub off, consider some plants which are considered lucky around the home such as a money tree, a bamboo plant or even a shamrock plant to honour St Patrick himself.