Sunday, February 12, 2017

How to Green your Rental

It can sometimes be a challenge to go green as a tenant.  When considering how to live in an environmentally responsible manner we tend to think of the larger initiatives reserved for property owners, like the use of energy efficient building materials in construction and renovation, or the installation of solar panels or low-flow plumbing.  However, there are numerous ways in which renters can live a greener life.  By remaining conscious of your energy use, taking advantage of your outdoor space, and making use of your urban density, you can do a lot to remain environmentally responsible while renting.

Use your Energy WiselyRemember when your parents yelled at you for leaving the lights on?  They were not wrong.  Small measures, like turning off lights in empty rooms, powering off computers and devices, and unplugging chargers when not in use, greatly improve your energy efficiency and save money in the process.  Also, by saving more energy-intensive tasks, such as doing laundry or running the dishwasher, for off-peak hours—generally from seven in the evening until seven the following morning—you can greatly diminish your household energy expenditure.

Enjoy your Outdoor SpaceIf your lease happens to come with a balcony, deck, yard, or outdoor space then you have some real opportunities to live a greener life.  Keeping a small garden, that lets you grow some of your own food, can go a long way towards offsetting your carbon footprint, and towards keeping your local bee population healthy.  Additionally, cooking outdoors on a barbecue is more energy-efficient then heating up an oven—especially during the summer when fans or air conditioners are needed to offset the heat generated by the oven.  Also, the simple enjoyment of your outdoor space lets you live greener.  Whether you are reading outside on a sunny afternoon, or sitting out for dinner with family and friends living outside keeps you engaged and entertained without having to resort to the more power-draining entertainments of television or computers.

Take Advantage of your Density Renting in more densely populated areas can grant you access to some wonderful and environmentally friendly services.  Community initiatives, like farmers markets, clothing and furniture exchanges, and community sales and barbecues offer local and sustainable food and shopping options with little or no environmental impact.   Also living in more densely populated areas can often allow you to walk, bike, or take public transit, rather than having to rely on the sizable carbon footprint that comes with owning your own vehicle.   

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