RENT and SAVE: An Apartment Owner’s Guide for ‘Going Green’

By Liz Lavin, Contributing Writer for
Posted on Sunday 4th January 2009

Much of the ‘Going Green’ information we see today aims to inform homeowners and basically people who have the freedom to do whatever they want with their place of residence. That demographic does not exactly include renters.

Renters do not live in a space that can be easily transformed and/or renovated. People who rent their homes are not concerned with solar-paneling their roofs or replacing their windows, because they do not have those options.

However, just because you rent your living space does not mean you do not have the option to be environmentally conscious at home. Here are some eco-friendly apartment options that allow you to go green as a renter and keep your landlord happy.

  • Recycle - Recycling is one of the most important steps in going green. If your apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling options, do everything you can to try to implement a new policy. Team up with the fellow renters in the complex and go to your landlord with a recycling request.

  • Seal Doors and Windows - Not being able to replace these fixtures does not mean you have to leave them as-is. By letting warm and cool air seep out of your doorways and window fixtures, you are letting your money flow right out with them. Sealing your doors and windows is an extremely easy, inexpensive project and is a great option for an eco-friendly apartment.

  • Turn to Fluorescent and Solar Lighting - Changing your lighting is a great way to go green as a renter. Sure, fluorescent lighting doesn’t sound visually appealing; but don’t judge a book by its cover. There are many options for fluorescent lighting, and these lights last ten times as long as a conventional light bulb, while using just 1/3 the power. You can choose from different shapes, hues and dimmers, just to name a few. Solar lighting is great for outdoors, and also offers you numerous options.

  • Use a Ceiling Fan - Ceiling fans are great for all seasons. In the summer, they keep you cool, requiring less energy from the air conditioner, and in the winter they help circulate the air from your furnace, allowing you to rely less on the furnace itself. A ceiling fan is useful in all heating and cooling situations, and you can’t go wrong with an appliance that saves you money all year long.

  • Always Have a Clean Heater Filter - Changing your heater filter is an essential step for an eco-friendly apartment. It will make your heater run more efficiently, and you can replace the filter for less than $20. Not only will it go a long way in saving you money on bills, but it also does a better job of keeping your body healthy, as a clean filter removes all the junk and dirty particles that the old filter allowed into the air.

  • Make Saving Water a Priority - To go green as a renter, you have to pay attention to your water use! Invest in a low-flow showerhead and aerators for your faucets. When doing the dishes or your laundry, always make sure you’re washing a full load. Half-loads use the same amount of water as a full load, so if the sink or washer isn’t full, wait a day or so until it is and then, do as few loads as possible.

  • Clean Green - The conventional cleaning products that we’ve always used to clean our houses are very harmful for the environment, as well as ourselves, and many of them are known to cause cancer. If you’re looking to have an eco-friendly apartment, make sure you are buying cleaning products that contain as little toxins as possible. Some great companies that offer great “green” cleaning products are Seventh Generation and Begley’s Best. Some great natural cleaning products that can be found almost anywhere and have numerous uses are white vinegar, borax, baking soda, washing soda and pure soap.

  • Sweat the Small Stuff - There are so many free, almost mindless ways to go green as a renter or a homeowner. Concentrate on things like turning off the water while brushing your teeth, washing your hands or scrubbing the dishes, air-drying your clothing instead of tossing it right into the dryer and unplugging appliances when they’re not in use.

Renting the space you live in is no excuse for not going green. In every aspect of your home life, you can make small, inexpensive changes that go a long way toward saving you energy and money. Concentrate on these changes, and you can rest assured that you have a much more environmentally-healthy, and more financially comfortable, life ahead of you. To learn more about tips on a Green Lifestyle, has plenty to offer.

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