New website aims to give renters more energy-efficient options

4 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, February 18 2016 Feb 18, 2016 Thursday, February 18, 2016 9:19:00 PM CST February 18, 2016 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
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
56 minutes ago Wednesday, August 05 2020 Aug 5, 2020 Wednesday, August 05, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT August 05, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because your body absorbs the nutrient primarily through exposure to... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, August 05 2020 Aug 5, 2020 Wednesday, August 05, 2020 10:40:06 AM CDT August 05, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
( Missourian ) - The Columbia School Board is considering delaying the district’s start date to after Labor Day... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, August 05 2020 Aug 5, 2020 Wednesday, August 05, 2020 10:28:11 AM CDT August 05, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The registration process for students is changing while students also change their classes for the fall semester.... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, August 05 2020 Aug 5, 2020 Wednesday, August 05, 2020 10:00:00 AM CDT August 05, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Current Missouri Governor Mike Parson will be on the ballot in November after securing the Republican nomination... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 10:45:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA— Missourians voted to expand Medicaid eligibility, according to reporting from the Associated Press. The State Auditor’s Office estimated... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 10:22:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
PETTIS COUNTY — The Pettis County prosecutor has called for an independent special prosecutor to investigate the death of Hannah... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 10:06:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Current State Auditor Nicole Galloway has won the Missouri Democratic Primary for Governor. Galloway was projected to... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 9:36:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Teaching English at Hickman High School in Columbia is Bill Morgan's passion and metaphorically speaking his saving grace.... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 9:36:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Parents showed up to Tuesday afternoon to a special board meeting at the Columbia Public Schools Administration building over... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 9:26:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on the Missouri primary election (all times local): 11:30 Cori Bush,... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 8:06:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Today is Missouri's Primary Election - voters cast their ballots Tuesday to determine party candidates for governor, U.S.... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 7:00:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — A Columbia man pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday of attempting to purchase with Bitcoin on the... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 5:42:02 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- A massive explosion ripped through central Beirut on Tuesday, killing dozens of people, injuring thousands and blowing out... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 5:41:18 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
MISSOURI — As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout Missouri, state and local officials confirm new case counts daily. This... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 5:30:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
SEDALIA — The latest numbers from Pettis County show confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased over 88 percent in the last... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 4:15:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
COLE COUNTY- One woman was pronounced dead Tuesday morning after a serious two-vehicle crash. According to a Missouri State... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 3:58:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in News
The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as "a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the... More >>
21 hours ago Tuesday, August 04 2020 Aug 4, 2020 Tuesday, August 04, 2020 3:00:00 PM CDT August 04, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 73°
1pm 73°
2pm 75°
3pm 77°
4pm 78°