Going green is often seen as the privilege of homeowners, who are free to place as many solar panels or efficient water heaters about their homes as they’d like. But living eco-friendly for renters is actually easier — and less expensive — than many think. The Washington Post reports that there are many quick and easy things a renter can do to green his or her home.
Being an eco-friendly consumer isn’t about placing a giant solar panel on your roof. Paula Cino is the director of energy and environmental policy with the National Multi Housing Council. As she told the Post, "Our individual behavior has a huge impact on sustainability. The resident has a lot of opportunity to make big differences themselves without any input from the landlord whatsoever."
A renter can easily do things like weatherstrip doors and windows to efficiently regulate temperatures — or just swapping out light bulbs for ones that are more energy-efficient. A renter can go green by stocking his or her home with recycled items, thus lowering a carbon footprint. The Post refers to Leslie Grant, a young denizen of Los Angeles who filled her Westwood condo with reused and recycled furniture and items. She used Craigslist, garage sales and even recyclable bins as sources for her household needs.
Household items can be purchased eco-friendly. You can buy recycled toilet paper, (using this guide from the National Resources Defense Council,) and make sure your cleaning products are sustainable from places like Gaiam.com or Whole Foods. And as the Post points out, if you live in a building that doesn’t recycle, you can use Earth911.com to find a place to drop off your recyclables.
And when all else fails, talk to your landlord. Experts point out that the current economy has created a renter’s market, and landlords might be willing to concede to your requests in exchange for a signed lease. Annie Argento is the Southern California director for sustainability consulting firm Brightworks. As she told the Post, "There is economic payback here in the form of tenant retention, quicker lease-up rates, etc.”
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