There is a lot of talk out there about how to “green” your home, but what if you rent? For instance, you cannot replace your windows with more efficient ones without your landlord’s permission. However, there are still steps you can take as a tenant to reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
- The most basic thing you can do is reduce water usage. According to the EPA, we consume about 2 to 5 gallons per day when we brush with the water running continuously. Of course, it takes energy to pump and heat water, so conserving water makes a difference.
- For paper goods, minimize their use but also choose recycled paper. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, if every household in the nation swapped just one roll of traditional toilet paper for one made with recycled paper, the effort could save about 424,000 trees.
- Opt for energy-efficient alternatives to the traditional lightbulb, e.g. LED or compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs.
- Install faucet aerators and low-flow shower heads. Aerators break up streams of water with air. You get the same water pressure but reduce the actual volume of water.
- Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. “Vampire” energy loss accounts for approximately 5-10 percent of residential energy use in the U.S.
After you’ve done this, encourage your landlord or management company to make additional leaps. Ask them to replace old appliances with Energy Star rated ones, caulk or insulate, and install programmable thermostats that will end up saving energy and money.