As a homeowner there are plenty of steps you can take if you choose to live a greener life, but living in rental accommodation automatically slashes your available options for sustainable living. After all you can’t install solar panels or change the old, clunky boiler for a new eco-friendly one because it isn’t your home. So what are your options if you live in a rented property?
Whilst you have less control over your environment living in rental homes, there is still plenty you can do to ensure you are living a more sustainable existence – even swapping old light bulbs for low energy ones is a start! But if you want to take things further, here are a few tips to get you started.
Find the Right Property
Transport links are very important when looking for a rental home, so where possible look for a property that is close to public transport links or within easy reach of a safe cycle network. The more you are able to go places without using a car, the better.
Forge a Good Relationship with Your Landlord
It is always better to have a good relationship with your landlord. It isn’t easy making positive changes to a rental property without the landlord’s permission, so if you can get them on side and persuade them it is in their interests to make environmentally friendly home improvements, you can both benefit. Be prepared to make a case for upgrading a central heating system or installing loft insulation, but if you can prove the improvement is viable, they will hopefully pay for the improvements.
Stay Warm in the Winter
There are lots of small things you can do to cut down your heating bills and energy expenditure over winter. Try placing reflective foil behind radiators to reflect heat back into the room, or install plastic film over draughty windows to keep the cold out and heat in. Even pulling on an extra sweater or two will help – and if they are hand-knitted from recycled wool, so much the better!
Watch Water Consumption
Some rental homes come kitted out with water meters, so you know exactly how much water you are using, but if yours doesn’t ask your landlord if you can have one installed by your water company. Modern toilets and showers are generally more efficient than older styles fixtures and fittings, but nevertheless, try and limit the amount of time you spend in the shower and don’t flush the toilet unnecessarily.
The bigger the house, the more energy it uses, so try and look for a smaller property or consider sharing with other tenants. Sharing is always greener than living alone in a larger property because you can share things. It is also cheaper, which will give you more money to spend on organic veggies.
Landlords have a lot to think about, including preparing a property inventory, but if you can make yours see the benefits of a few green home improvements, you will both reap the rewards. And if all else fails stock up on energy efficient light bulbs and thick hand-knitted sweaters.