A couple of days back, Los Angeles Times writer Tiffany Hsu published an extensive article (and accompanying video embedded below) detailing how lease-bound folks can go green at home titled “A renter’s guide to eco-friendly living.” As someone who is an urban apartment renter trying to make as many ecologically sound decisions at home as possible, I found Hsu relies on too many “well, duh” suggestions (stocking your loo with recycled content toilet paper, unplugging appliances when not using them, buying nontoxic cleaning products) and one rather extreme example of a green renter (Colin Beaven, aka No Impact Man).

However, the final section of the article that discusses how to approach/deal with your landlord when it comes to more drastic, building infrastructure-related fixes is pretty helpful … and also quite optimistic. Essentially, the message is: don’t fear your landlord. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to give it a shot as long as you mention these five key words: “this will save you money.”

I’ve had my own recycling-crazy landlord send the super over to fix a couple of leaky windows in my apartment. I've also requested that a wall be repainted with low-VOC paint. It was no sweat although I'm not quite ready to broach the topic of putting a solar water heater on the roof (where I frequently line-dry my clothing as evidenced in the photo up top).

Have you approached your landlord to make any eco-friendly improvements around your rental home/apartment? How’d they respond? And how have you made green fixes around your rented living space aside from the basics like installing CFL bulbs and being mindful of your water use? 

 
 
 
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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.