Meet Chris McKeel

January 17, 2012 at 8:11 am Leave a comment

Compared to renters, owners have the luxury of being able to invest in their properties and can reap the benefits long-term.  In practice though, owners don’t commonly invest in energy efficiency, even though it offers better returns on investment than just about any other home improvement.

“Most homeowners don’t think they can afford efficiency upgrades,” says Chris McKeel, owner of Durham-based Apple Realty.  “From a homeowner’s perspective, they are expenditures that compete with other financial demands.”

The rationale is different for investors, says McKeel, who manages 350 different rental homes around Duke University.

“When I make the case [for energy efficiency investments such as an energy-efficient heat pump], I have the numbers to back it up.”

McKeel has seen utility bills drop from over $200 a month to less than $100 as a result of investments in energy efficiency.

And when renters pay less for utilities, they rent for longer.  That means owners keep their properties rented more of the time. In some cases, they’re even able to increase the rent as a result of lower-than-average utility costs.

In the real estate business, builders tend to shy away from new processes and equipment.  But by making energy efficiency a priority in his business, McKeel has been able to develop a network of contractors comfortable with the latest methods and products.

As a man of faith, McKeel heeds the words of Genesis that call for human beings to be good stewards of the Earth.

“I can impact these owners and these tenants.  I can’t go from neighborhood to neighborhood and try to elevate the conversation like Clean Energy Durham does,” McKeel says.  He views his support for Clean Energy Durham’s neighborhood program as fitting in perfectly with his values.

2030 Society members have pledged multi-year support and recognize Clean Energy Durham as a community leader helping the city and county reach their goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by the year 2030.

–Profile by Clean Energy Durham Volunteer Thibault Worth

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Entry filed under: Fundraising.

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