New website aims to give renters more energy-efficient options

1 year 4 months 1 week ago February 18, 2016 Feb 18, 2016 Thursday, February 18 2016 Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:19:00 PM CST in News
By: Emma Balkenbush, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA -Renters looking for a place usually have a list of requirements. Good location, comes with a garage, close to work or school.

Now, they can make sure their next home is more energy-efficient, thanks to a website.

Rent Rocket started in 2013 by Barbara Buffaloe, the city's sustainability manager, and several other city's staff members.

Buffaloe said she was at a meeting with other city staff when the idea for Rent Rocket came up. 

"We're university towns grappling with the same issue of 'how do we help renters choose to find a sustainable housing option?'" Buffaloe said. 

Buffaloe, along with sustainability managers from Ann Arbor, MI, Evanston, IL, and Bloomington, IN began to develop the site in 2013.

Of the 14 cities participating, Columbia is the only one that is automatically given electricity and water data because the city owns its utility company. Meaning, renters in Columbia automatically have utility data to compare when looking for a place to rent. 

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network and Global Philanthropy Partnership granted the 14 cities an innovation fund in 2013 to begin development on the site. Buffaloe said she hopes renters will be able to use the website to get a better idea of what they will be paying. 

"We're hoping that the website can help them make a decision between two similar places," Buffaloe said.

Scott Schnelle, Energylink Project Manager, said he thinks Rent Rocket will be useful for renters in Columbia. 

"They might have been able to trick new renters coming in every year into renting their property and now nobody wants to touch it because they see the utilities are higher than the rent," Schnelle said. 

Buffaloe said she hopes the website will create a market demand for energy-efficient rentals. 

"Right now we hear that students aren't interested in energy efficiency and we think that they are," Buffaloe said. 

She said the website is also a tool for landlords, who can upload pictures and their contact information. 

"If they wanted to advertise their spaces, they could upload the information on energy-use data or amentities like what their recycling options are or local access to transit," Buffaloe said. 

Schnelle said he thinks the website will help push landlords to invest more time in their properties, which will also help them keep tenants. 

"I think it's a win-win for them when they do these improvements even if they're not paying that utility bill," Schnelle said. 

Buffaloe said the website will be available to not only college-aged renters, but all renters in Columbia, which has a 51.7 percent rental population. 

"The hope is that it will help all people choose a smart place to rent," Buffaloe said. 

The group of developers finished the end of the grant in January and are now waiting for renters and landlords to add more information to the website. 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia tweeted in its page a reminder for Columbia residents that shooting fireworks is not... More >>
6 hours ago June 29, 2017 Jun 29, 2017 Thursday, June 29 2017 Thursday, June 29, 2017 1:15:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Regional Airport is almost fully equipped to handle to the increased traffic that comes with a... More >>
12 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 6:45:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The total solar eclipse is now less than two months away and people are beginning to plan. ... More >>
13 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 6:10:00 PM CDT in Eclipse Planning
BYRNES MILL (AP) — An eastern Missouri man is charged with forcing his daughter to sleep in a dog crate... More >>
13 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 5:35:10 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — University of Missouri System officials are no longer counting on state funding to help build an... More >>
14 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 5:23:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Two big questions still loom in the case involving a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper and a man... More >>
14 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 5:21:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Linn, St. Robert, and Ellington will close permanently on Saturday, July... More >>
14 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 5:18:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A special task force aimed at evaluating transportation in the state and addressing funding issues met Wednesday... More >>
15 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 3:58:00 PM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A jail inmate who escaped from a hospital has been arrested at a mobile home park in... More >>
16 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 3:20:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County is heading east. 75 county officials will travel to Maryland this fall to train with... More >>
16 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 3:08:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Boone County sheriff’s detectives arrested a second suspect Wednesday morning in connection with a shooting that wounded two... More >>
16 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 2:50:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Missouri man who spent nearly two decades in mental hospitals after entering a disputed plea... More >>
17 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 2:26:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON — A 16-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was hit by a car Wednesday morning. Fulton... More >>
17 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 2:00:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS — Ryan Ferguson has settled a portion of his lawsuit against police, nearly four years after his 40-year... More >>
18 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 12:44:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
COLUMBIA -Multiple funerals took place on Wednesday at Sen. Roy Blunt's Columbia office. CoMo for Progress, a liberal group,... More >>
20 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 11:30:00 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A Kansas City, Missouri , man is jailed on $150,000 bond after being accused of a... More >>
21 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:43:53 AM CDT in News
CHARLESTON (AP) — A judge has dismissed an assault charge against a southeastern Missouri sheriff being investigated in the death... More >>
22 hours ago June 28, 2017 Jun 28, 2017 Wednesday, June 28 2017 Wednesday, June 28, 2017 9:22:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As construction continues in the downtown area, workers are finding it difficult to be around. "It's making... More >>
1 day ago June 27, 2017 Jun 27, 2017 Tuesday, June 27 2017 Tuesday, June 27, 2017 7:57:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
8am 76°
9am 78°
10am 81°
11am 83°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
12:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Noon
7:00a
Cheaters
7:30a
Cops Reloaded
8:00a
The Steve Wilkos Show

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Hollywood Game Night
8:00p
The Wall
9:00p
The Night Shift
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Supernatural
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld