Green Updates for Renters

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  • Green Updates for Renters
    Posted by Kimberly Cadena | 6 replies |  Last reply about 5 years ago by Taylor Royle

    I’m renting a 1-bedroom shotgun in the Bywater neighborhood. I love the charm and location of my little, old house, but it hasn’t been updated in decades (optimistically…) and has all the typical challenges of an old home (drafts, leaks a lot of air, etc.). I’m sure there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to energy efficiency. However, I am a renter and don’t want to spend a ton of money on updates. What green or energy efficient updates can I make that will make a difference but won’t break the bank?

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  • Some of the things I’ve considered are below. Any thoughts on what’s worth it?

    Dual-flush toilet conversion (It looks like kits run between $20-50)
    Installing window insulation film (do you recommend any particular kits?)
    Change to LED lightbulbs
    Adding weather stripping to the doors and windows (this is a must do, I can see through some of the gaps)

    I already repainted my space with no-VOC paint.

    Kimberly Cadena posted on November 9, 2012
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  • These are all really good ideas for renters. I’d add that if your landlord needs to do any work or maintenance on the home, you could use the opportunity to tip them off to green, energy-saving, cost-saving measures. For instance, if the dishwasher needs to be replaced, suggest the homeowner upgrades to an ENERGY STAR appliance.

    Taylor Royle posted on November 9, 2012
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  • How about using a rain barrel to water plants and wash your car? No landlord permission needed for that! Also some landlords would probably be happy for you to install a low-flow showerhead and other low-flow plumbing fixtures as long as you ask permission first.

    Martin posted on November 10, 2012
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  • If you have access to the attic check for areas missing insulation as well as for large gaps. You can find insulation made of recycled content at your local home improvement store at very reasonable prices. For the large gaps buy some low expanding foam to fill them.

    Cesar Rodriguez posted on November 10, 2012
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  • Thermal drapes or shades. Keep them closed during the heat of the summer days and cold of winter nights.
    If you have access to your water heater, check the temperature and turn it down if you can. Insulate it if you can.
    If you use a window air conditioner be sure to put it in a window that is shaded from the direct sun if possible. You can also put it in an appliance timer and set it to come on just before you come home rather than leaving it in all day.
    You can install a programmable thermostat. Just keep the old one and reinstall that before you leave while taking the programmable one with you.
    Planting annual vines on an inexpensive trellis on the south and west sides of the house can help cut the heat if you are in full sun. Many grow from just a pack of seeds.
    Reduce your chemical footprint by switching to baking soda and white vinegar. Most household cleaners, weed killer, and even some personal care items can be replaced with those and a few other low toxicity ingredients.

    Suzan Matos posted on November 10, 2012
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  • Thanks for the tips, Suzan! They’re great.

    Taylor Royle posted on November 11, 2012
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