At Invitation Homes, we are committed to creating a better way to live and to being a force for positive change, while at the same time advancing efforts that make our company more innovative and our processes more sustainable. Protecting the environment is critically important to us, and our corporate responsibility initiatives help limit the company’s carbon footprint and the environmental impact of our homes.
Unlike in many other real estate sectors, green building certifications are not applicable in the single-family rental sector. We focus on environmental sustainability, not for the purpose of awards, but because we truly care about sustainability and recognize that the operation of our assets can have a meaningful impact on the environment. While each resident is solely responsible for utilities that control energy and water usage, we seek to address environmental impacts within our control and to encourage our residents to do the same in their homes. To that end, Invitation Homes:
Uses energy-efficient ENERGY STAR® certified appliances when feasible.
Replaces deficient plumbing with low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Installs water-saving landscape designs in arid locations.
Replaces HVAC units with models that offer greater efficiency.
Reduces drive times for our repair technicians by optimizing routes and triaging maintenance issues.
Educates residents about energy-efficient practices.
Uses Smart Home technology to help residents manage their homes and save up to 15% on their energy bills.
Provides an HVAC air filter home delivery program for our residents. This program helps prolong the life of our HVAC systems, reduce expenses associated with repairs, minimize downtime associated with system failure, and provide better air quality in the home as well as for the environment.
Eliminates paper use among field technicians by utilizing software to electronically receive and process work orders.
Coordinates with our third-party utilities vendor to alert us when consumption is abnormally high. In these cases, we provide the residents with suggestions on how they can reduce their energy usage.
Maintains stocked vehicles to reduce trips to hardware stores and eliminate unnecessary travel.
Invests in the Fifth Wall Climate Technology Fund to support companies creating climate-friendly technologies for real estate
Runs a Green Spaces community initiative that brings residents, associates, and partners together to expand conservation efforts in our markets
Renovations offer an opportunity to install energy-efficient fixtures and appliances in our existing portfolio. As an example, we install a variety of low-flow plumbing fixtures to save on water consumption. We also use durable materials such as granite countertops and luxury vinyl plank flooring. The carpet products we use are manufactured using recyclable bottles as the primary material. In 2020, we saved approximately 28.1 million 12-ounce plastic bottles from landfills through the installation of this recycled flooring. Laid end-to-end, these 28.1 million bottles would stretch over 3,500 miles – more than the distance across the entire United States.
Our ProCare service helps us proactively identify home performance improvement opportunities that can prevent larger issues from occurring later. Through this program, we proactively engage with each home and each resident multiple times annually, ensuring that we can make any tune-ups needed to maintain the home to our standards.
Move-In Orientation – We perform a comprehensive multi-point inspection and updates to each home so it’s in top shape for our residents when they move in. We walk through the house with residents and explain its systems, from how to change the air filters to adjusting the thermostat for optimal use. This is an opportunity to show residents how to run their systems as efficiently as possible.
Post-Move-In Visit – Once our residents are settled in, we return about 45 days later to make sure everything is working just as it should. This allows us an opportunity to fix any issues before they result in bigger problems. We address any resident concerns, answer questions, and point out things to focus on to help proactively maintain the home in a resourceful manner.
Recurring Maintenance Visits – To get a jump on maintenance needs for our homes, we schedule a checkup every six months. We focus on catching small issues early to prevent bigger problems later. On each visit, one of our technicians will check the home’s plumbing, appliances, and cooling and heating system, as well as inspect the structure and safety of each home.
Our Smart Home technology is a service that helps our residents manage access to their homes and save up to 15% on their energy bills. With our Smart Home features, residents can remotely lock and unlock the front door, control the thermostat, and receive notifications about their home – all virtually.
Our Smart Home features also allow us to control thermostats in vacant homes, so we can keep the temperature at a more energy-efficient setting and reduce energy consumption in between leases. If a vendor lowers or raises the temperature while working in a vacant home, the thermostat will reset back to the default schedule every hour to maintain optimum energy efficiency.
Our long-term target is to have 100% of the homes in our Same Store portfolio equipped with Smart Home capability. To get there, we are installing Smart Home technology in all newly acquired homes and on all turns of existing homes if the technology is not already in place. As of December 31, 2020, Smart Home technology has been installed in 68% of our Same Store portfolio, up from 58% on December 31, 2019.
We recognize that the effects of climate change put some of our markets at risk for natural disasters, including but not limited to: tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. Our internal risk management team works with multiple third-party administrators to increase our bandwidth to respond quickly and efficiently to various natural disasters. Partnering with multiple vendors allows us to split claims geographically, optimizing how we respond to resident issues and resulting in quicker repairs so that our residents may continue to safely inhabit their home after the disaster.
As the climate continues to change, and with a portfolio located in a variety of US markets that include coastal areas, we recognize the increased likelihood of acute weather events and other climate-related impacts to our business, operations, and homes. We take a proactive approach to protect our properties against potential risks related to climate change and business interruptions, and we recognize that we must continue to adapt our policies, objectives, and processes to improve the resiliency of our physical properties and our business.
When evaluating properties for acquisition, we consider physical risks such as the potential for flooding, wildfires, and other natural disasters. We further improve the resilience of owned homes by evaluating durability and renovating homes to better equip them to withstand extreme weather when appropriate. We also carry insurance for all of our properties against natural hazards such as flood, wind, fire, earthquake, and other catastrophic weather events subject to deductibles and co-insurance.
Invitation Homes also takes a proactive approach to improving the environmental footprint of our portfolio. We recognize that one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions is the production of materials used in construction projects. We are not a new home developer. At Invitation Homes, our core business is acquiring existing homes and improving them for our future residents. Our improvements help reduce the emission of carbon from the use of the homes, as well as water consumption. Examples of these improvements include:
Upon acquisition, we ensure that homes have appropriate insulation and windows.
Where possible, we install new, energy-efficient appliances and use energy-efficient materials.
We install hard surface materials for flooring and countertops that last longer and are more aesthetically pleasing.
We equip our homes with remote programmable Smart Home thermostats that allow our residents to carefully monitor and run their heating and cooling more efficiently.
When a home is vacant, our Smart Home technology enables us to monitor and control home temperatures remotely to significantly lower energy usage.
We provide an HVAC filter delivery program to help residents improve the efficiency of their HVAC systems.
We install water-saving landscaping designs in arid locations.
We educate new residents on how to properly use their homes in an energy-efficient manner.
We take our responsibility around carbon emissions very seriously and continue to look for ways to lower the level of emissions from our homes.
Our portfolio resilience efforts are a critical component of Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), which includes business continuity, crisis response, and risk management. Invitation Homes’ Audit Committee of the Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the company’s ERM strategy and performance. Invitation Homes’ ESG Taskforce also helps coordinate climate-related portfolio resilience efforts. Our Risk Management team, in collaboration with other Company departments, runs business continuity planning and reports to the Chief Legal Officer and Chief Executive Officer on this matter on a regular basis. Additionally, our Operations and Rehab, Turn & Maintenance teams are responsible for executing the processes and procedures for disaster preparedness and response, including in cases of extreme weather events, public health crises, and security threats. Our processes and procedures for such events are documented and reviewed on a regular basis with teams in each of Invitation Homes’ markets. The Risk Management team is responsible for evaluating insurance-based risks and reports to our Chief Legal Officer. Invitation Homes appoints top executives as sponsors to promote the development and implementation of our Business Continuity Plans (BCPs).
In addition, Invitation Homes is an investor in Fifth Wall’s Climate Technology Fund. The Climate Technology Fund invests in technologies that address decarbonization across all stages of and asset classes within the global real estate ecosystem, including materials, construction, operations, and revitalization.
Invitation Homes also believes in the recommendations of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and we plan to seek opportunities to implement their recommendations into our reporting in the future.