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Millennials Care Most About Green Features In Their Apartments — Some Are Willing To Pay More For Them

Among U.S. demographic groups, millennials care the most about having sustainable features in the apartments they rent, and even say they are willing to pay more for such green features, according to a new report by multifamily developer AMLI Residential.


Millennials reported feeling particularly concerned about climate change and expressed a heightened desire to solve environmental problems, followed by Gen X, Gen Z and lastly baby boomers, according to the company's third annual Sustainable Living Index, a survey of more than 3,500 AMLI apartment residents. 

Also in that order: each demographic's willingness to pay more for green features, with more millennials expressing that willingness than any other group. Overall, more than 61% of AMLI residents, regardless of age, responded they would be willing to pay more to live in a sustainable community.

There is a limit to how much renters will pay for green features, however. According to a separate report by RENTCafé last year, which surveyed 2,631 U.S. renters, 69% of respondents were interested in living in an energy-efficient or green building. Even so, their willingness or ability to pay the cost of renting a green-certified apartment is well below the real price of green apartments.

The majority (52%) of those who expressed interest in renting green are willing to pay no more than $100/month extra rent for a green apartment, much less than the rent premium that new green apartments demand, according to RENTCafé.

Yardi Matrix rent data shows that green-certified apartments cost on average an extra $560/month, or 33% more than new non-green apartments. Such units are also smaller, offering 73 fewer square feet on average than standard new apartments. 

In other AMLI survey findings, nearly 89% of respondents were concerned about climate change, and more than 70% said their desire for solutions to environmental issues has increased over the last five years. More than 74% said they recycle.

Eighty percent of the AMLI respondents believe living in a green apartment is beneficial to their health, with younger residents more likely to say that than older residents. Financial savings from efficient features were reported by 71% of residents at communities with a LEED certification, while 55% of residents reported savings at non-LEED communities.

AMLI recently increased its LEED-certified portfolio to more than 50%. Thirty-six of its apartment communities have attained LEED certification at various levels, including eight that have earned LEED Platinum. 

AMLI conducted its survey in July at properties in its nine markets: Atlanta, Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Seattle, Southern California and southeast Florida. RENTCafé surveyed renters nationwide, not restricted to a particular landlord.