AMLI Asked Thousands of Apartment Renters What They Think About Sustainable Living. Here’s What They Said

Chicago-based AMLI Residential—which owns 4,350 apartment units in the Dallas area alone—is committed to sustainable living, reflected by its many LEED Gold-certified properties. AMLI's 2022 Sustainable Living Index is based on a "massive" survey of its residents nationwide.

Here's what its renters across the U.S. said about "green living" and sustainable communities—and the key findings from North Texas.

Multifamily developers have been in an “amenity race” to attract renters, offering fancy gyms, green spaces, cafés, social areas, and more. But what about sustainability and green living? Do those nudge renters to sign on the dotted lease line?

AMLI set out to discover that and more in its 2022 Sustainable Living Index, based on a “massive survey” of its residents across the country. It got responses from 4,154 residents, who offered their opinions about environmentalism and how green initiatives impact their choice of where to live.

In the U.S. overall, 80% of respondents believe living in a sustainably built apartment is beneficial to their health. Residents chose fresh air initiatives, energy-efficiency savings on utilities, and smoke-free living as their top three “green features,” AMLI says. 43% said green features factor into their decision to live with AMLI, and at AMLI communities with LEED energy and environmental certification, 11% more residents agreed that the green features at their community impacted their decision to lease with AMLI versus residents at non-LEED communities.

Also in the U.S. overall, 55% of residents said AMLI’s green living features save them money on utility costs, and 56% think they’ll be driving an EV or a plug-in hybrid in five years. 88% are concerned about climate change, 

AMLI Buckhead in Atlanta is adjacent to Marie Simms Park. [Photo: AMLI]

Dallas differences

One striking finding of the 2022 Index was how Dallas-area AMLI residents responded, AMLI President Phil Tague told Dallas Innovates. The company’s Dallas office is based in Addison, and AMLI employs around 100 people in the Dallas area to run its 4,350 units in Dallas, Addison, Irving, Plano, Frisco, and Grapevine.

“While a majority of residents in Dallas believe that green features save them money and benefit their health, they value these features less than residents in other regions,” Tague said. “On every question, Dallas residents reported somewhat less interest in the environment.”

Tague said four key findings stood out from the Dallas-area surveys:

  • 36% say AMLI’s green features impacted their decision on where to live
  • 70% believe living in a community with green features benefits their health
  • 55% believe that AMLI’s green living features saves them money on utility costs
  • 47% think they will be driving an EV or a plug-in hybrid in five years.

“These results will be shared with each community so that community managers can learn more about our residents’ perspectives and consider their recommendations for creating a greener community,” Tague said. “National and regional trends will also be shared with our development and management company to guide and influence broader company decisions. Our people will read and discuss the recommendations at length. To help our residents prioritize sustainability, there’s no better tool than listening carefully to their opinions.”

Here are more Dallas-area results from AMLI’s survey:

  • 50% are willing to pay more to live in a green/sustainable community
  • 79% are concerned about climate change
  • 61% agree the importance they place on finding environmental solutions has increased over the last five years
  • 75% use a car as their primary form of transportation, 13% work from home, 4% walk and 1% use public transit
  • 47% regularly recycle

The “top green features” for Dallas residents were 1) fresh air initiatives, 2) smoke-free living, and 3) financial savings from efficient features.

AMLI Fountain Place exterior in downtown Dallas. [Photo: AMLI]

Dallas residents’ top green features

In Dallas, residents’ top five favorite AMLI green features were: 1) Recycling; 2) Smoke-Free Living; 3) General Energy Efficiency; 4) Energy Efficient Appliances; and 5) Greenery.

The top five green features residents would like to see added to their Dallas community are 1) Recycling Improvements; 2) Efficient Windows; 3) Composting; 4) Water Efficiency; and 5) Solar Panels.

AMLI residents are really into recycling

AMLI Spring District in Seattle. [Photo: AMLI]

“Recycling has been a key resident priority every year we’ve conducted this survey,” Tague said. “This has resulted in AMLI creating a robust toolkit of solutions for improving recycling services and many of our communities have made changes. Examples include adding specialty recycling options, increasing the convenience of recycling, and investing capital dollars to remake recycling areas into amenity-like spaces. Further feedback from residents this year will help us improve this toolkit with new ideas and solutions that will be implemented at our communities.”

EV chargers are in demand more and more

“There is also a dramatic increase in residents requesting solar energy and EV charging stations,” Tague said. “Expanding the number of EV chargers throughout our portfolio to meet resident demand for electric vehicle charging will be essential to meeting our residents’ constantly evolving needs.

Adding rooftop solar

More rooftop solar panels may be popping up on AMLI properties in coming years, Tague added:

“AMLI has also set a goal to source 15% of our energy use from renewable sources by 2030. Increasing the number of rooftop solar installations in our portfolio will help us meet this goal as well as meet the request for more solar from our residents.”

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