New website aims to give renters more energy-efficient options

3 years 1 month 4 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
BOONE COUNTY - Boone County Office of Emergency Management apologized Friday after accidentally sending out numerous severe weather alerts from... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 3:03:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Attorney Stephen Wyse wants Governor Mike Parson to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the relationship and alliance... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 2:39:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education approved a new compensation plan at Thursday's regular work session. The board voted... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 2:38:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - With April 20, or 4/20, falling on a weekend this year, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is preparing... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 1:56:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's House speaker said he doesn't plan on taking further action to discipline a House member... More >>
2 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 1:16:25 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
FARMINGTON (AP) — The wife of a Missouri Ku Klux Klan leader admitted Friday to fatally shooting her husband. ... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 12:48:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri and Chancellor Alexander Cartwright released the fiscal budget for 2020, including a reallocation of... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 12:43:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Police took two drivers into custody Thursday night after separate chases. One involved a woman accused... More >>
3 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 12:37:00 PM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — Police cited four businesses in the past two weeks for selling alcohol to an 18-year-old. The... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 10:45:00 AM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A trial date has been set for one of the men charged with murder in a November 2018... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 7:27:00 AM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A former St. Joseph Boy Scout leader has been sentenced to six years in prison without... More >>
9 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 6:39:00 AM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
LEARNED, Miss. (AP) — Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, killing two Mississippi drivers and a woman... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, April 19 2019 Apr 19, 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 4:30:50 AM CDT April 19, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri social services director is resigning to take a job with a faith-based nonprofit. ... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 8:33:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Parents and fans cheered from the bleachers as they watched students of all different abilities show off their... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:34:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - People packed the hearing room for a Senate hearing Thursday on a bill that would expand where... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:17:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
OSAGE BEACH - The Osage Beach Board of Alderman denied the passage of a new bill Thursday night that would... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:11:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
TANGLEWOOD - The Callaway County Ambulance District had plans to move into a new building by the end of... More >>
22 hours ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:11:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
COOPER COUNTY - It's been four months since someone shot and killed Sioux Falls mother Melissa Peskey while she was... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, April 18 2019 Apr 18, 2019 Thursday, April 18, 2019 5:06:00 PM CDT April 18, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 60°
5pm 60°
6pm 59°
7pm 57°
8pm 55°