Green Renting: A Renter’s Sustainable Living Guide

By Rose Morrison, managing editor of Renovated

Tenants don’t have as many options to live sustainably as homeowners do. Renters aren’t entirely out of luck, though, since some green options are still available, like buying secondhand items, saving energy and water, and preparing meals.

You can make plenty of changes to be more sustainable and minimalistic, no matter your housing situation. Small steps can make a substantial impact on the environment.

5 Apsects of Green Renting

Green Renting: Inside a thrift store
Photo by Kaylin Pacheco on Unsplash

Shop Consignments

Buying secondhand clothing and home decor comes with a wealth of benefits. You can find almost everything you’re looking for at a much lower price than you would brand new. Gently used items are sustainable since they can be reused.

Home decor can come with a hefty price tag depending on where you purchase it. Thrifting saves money and is eco-friendly. You might even get lucky and find an antique for a fraction of what it’s worth. Utilizing secondhand decor in your home is an excellent way to start living more sustainably.

Buying consignment items also helps counteract fast fashion and its detrimental effects on society. Fast fashion focuses primarily on producing lesser-quality clothing items that are offered at a lower price. The desire to buy new things for cheap has begun to overshadow the concern about the quality of pieces.

You’re eliminating your contribution to the fast fashion industry when purchasing secondhand clothing. This wasteful sector is scheduled to produce 100 million tons of apparel annually by 2030 and is responsible for 10%-20% of global carbon emissions.

Meal Prep

Prepping your meals is also an excellent way to live a sustainable lifestyle. Preparing food ahead of time has many advantages, including reducing food waste, saving time and money, and promoting healthy living.

The chance of throwing out produce you didn’t use is slim when you prep since you will be incorporating them into your meals. It is similar to planning your menus, except you make everything for the rest of the week, so you can just heat and serve.

There are steps to efficient meal prepping that you can take if you’re just beginning. First, you want to plan by gathering recipes for the week, deciding on the portions you want to freeze and consolidating cooking methods to save time.

Make a grocery list so you don’t waste time or money in the store. The last step is just to get cooking. Organization and efficiency will get easier as you get used to the process. It seems like a lot of planning, but it will pay off financially and reduce your carbon footprint in the long run.

Conserve Water

There are multiple ways you can save water in your rental and daily life. Did you know the average person uses 140 liters of water a day? Conserving water saves energy since it is used to heat, filter and pump water into your home. Thus, you’re ultimately reducing your carbon footprint by cutting back your usage.

The biggest water saver you could implement would be to quit letting the water run while you shave and brush your teeth. You don’t need a steady stream of water to complete these tasks. Running your faucet while brushing your teeth can waste more than 6 liters of water in a minute. Turn it off when you don’t need it.

Take shorter showers and avoid taking baths. Baths can use up to 80 liters of water, while showers are closer to 45 liters. Avoid running your dishwasher and washing machine in the hottest part of the day, and wait until you have a full load to run the machines. This will prevent them from working overtime to combat the heat and waste water and energy.

Green Renting: wooden dining table with pendant light on
Photo by Reinaldo Kevin on Unsplash

Live a Sustainable Lifestyle

Make changes in your daily life that will boost your sustainability long term. You could become a minimalist and be environmentally friendly or start with baby steps to reduce your carbon footprint. Every step matters, no matter how minuscule it may seem.

Switch your lightbulbs to LEDs. They are much more energy-efficient than regular bulbs, don’t contain any mercury and last up to 20 years. Purchase some surge protectors that shut off electronics when they aren’t in use.

Opt for reusable shopping bags instead of using plastic at the store. Adjust your ceiling fans to rotate counterclockwise in the summertime to push cool air downward. Adjusting your fans could cut your air conditioning bill costs and save a ton of energy.

Ask Your Landlord

Many things are simply out of renters’ control. However, you can voice your concerns about sustainability. Your landlord should be willing to listen to you if it means lowering their expenses and helping the environment.

The least they can do is hear you out, and the worst they can do is say no. You can still work on living a more sustainable lifestyle if they do.

Here are some requests you can make that your landlord might agree to.

First, ask for a thermostat that you can manually adjust if the one in your rental is outdated. Older thermostats make saving energy more difficult when you can’t adequately adjust the temperatures. If solar panels aren’t an option, ask for blinds that help with renewable energy by allowing more sunlight into your space. Blinds are an expensive asset that should be provided by the owners of a home or building. Window treatments aren’t the tenants’ responsibility.

Ask for a recycling bin and service. Talk to the property manager about installing more efficient showerheads and faucets to help you save water and cut costs on utility bills. Even if your landlord refuses to make changes, at least you are bringing awareness to a more environmentally friendly way of life.

Takeaways on Green Living for Renters

Every step you take makes a difference, whether you choose to live a more minimalist lifestyle or are just trying to cut costs on your utility bills. You can take proper steps to become eco-friendly and behave more sustainably, even as a renter. Little things add up, and if you enlist the help of your landlord, even greater changes will be on the horizon.


Rose Morrison

About the Author

Rose is the managing editor of Renovated and has been writing in the construction industry for over five years. She’s most passionate about sustainable building and incorporating similar resourceful methods into our world. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.

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