5 Ways To Target Utilities To Drive Down Multifamily Operating Costs

Posted By: Karey Landers AACO Resources, Industry,

How can you get your tenants to use utilities more responsibly and reduce your property’s expenses? As a building owner or property manager, you can take steps to facilitate smarter utility use on your properties, and get your tenants involved in utility saving. Here’s how.

Replace old, inefficient appliances

There are simple changes you can make on your properties that will reduce utility bills. According to the Department of Energy, the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year just by using LED lighting. It’s reported by the EPA that the average family can save $130 in a year by replacing inefficient toilets at home with WaterSense labeled models.

Share conservation tips with your tenants

Education is a powerful tool in conservation. Let your tenants know about the everyday actions that they can take to save water and energy. As the EPA noted, just one person turning off the tap while they brush their teeth and shave (assuming they brush twice a day and shave 5 times a week) could save 5,700 gallons of water per year!

Allow tenants to track their utility use

When tenants are aware of monthly utility costs, they are better informed as they make decisions on their utility usage. As a result, they are further motivated to conserve utilities and they end up using water and electricity more carefully. This motivation extends to reporting faulty appliances that waste utilities like leaking toilets. This is no small feat since in a week alone, the average household wastes 180 gallons of water just through leaks.

Invest in smart technology

Don’t be scared off by the word ‘invest’, smart devices and systems are not always expensive and they can be incredibly quick and easy to implement. Take Livable’s Net Zero billing program for example. It’s a system that allows tenants to see the costs associated with their utility consumption, even when utilities are included in their rent. This system is able to detect and immediately notify clients of water usage spikes, and has helped identify numerous water leaks.

Billing is best. Offset your costs with RUBS.

Billing residents is perhaps the greatest incentive for tenants to conserve utilities. With a ratio utility billing system (RUBS), property owners can reduce tenant water use and energy consumption while passing the costs of utilities used by residents to the residents. Alliance for Water Efficiency reported that utilities who installed meters observed a 15 to 30% reduction in water consumption. Separately, a CBRE study found that an effective submetering program generates energy savings of up to 21%. At Livable, we’ve observed that housing providers that implement RUBS regain close to 90% of their water and energy costs. It’s important to work with billing experts to ensure that you comply with any and all guidelines in place, and get the most out of whatever billing system you choose. 


Livable is a full-service residential & commercial real estate billing partner. Focusing on bulk amenity/utility billing, our mission is to promote savings and conservation through education. Our suite of cloud services and end-to-end solutions helps to reduce monthly consumption, overall expenses and adds more money to your bottom line. To learn more, visit livable.com.