How to Be a Green Renter

There is a lot of talk at the moment about how home owners can make their homes more environmentally sustainable, with governments and companies offering financial incentives for various green initiatives (such as the installation of solar panels and water heaters) that people are encouraged to take advantage of. 

But what about the renters who are environmentally conscious but cannot action such projects because they do not own the property they live in? With growing numbers of potential first home buyers who are choosing to put off making a property purchase and continue to rent, this is an issue that may grow in importance. 

In my search to provide an answer for the renters in our community, I came across a website called Green Renters which, according to the site, is a not-for-profit providing sustainable living advice specifically for those living in rental property.  The organisation runs workshops, hosts events and runs projects aimed at educating Australian renters on how they can be more environmentally friendly.    

Helpfully the website segments the home into rooms, providing green tips, product reviews and relevant pieces of news that relate to each area of a property.  These pieces of advice always keep the focus on the site’s rental audience, however can of course be implemented by home owners as well.The lounge room for instance has news about the Tricklestar – a master-slave simple powerboard designed to ensure that your television does not draw power when it is turned off, or even when it is on standby.  Meanwhile, over in the kitchen the site provides advice as to how people can make the best choices when shopping for food at the supermarket. 

Green Renters definitely has practical recommendations that renters can easily put into place to limit the environmental impact of their day to day activities.  But things can get a little bit tricker for those renters who wish to implement larger-scale projects such as solar panel installations.  Such ventures can be expensive and ultimately the owner of the property will have give their approval and bear the cost – unless you are willing to pay for the installation yourself and shoulder the loss when you move on. 

Such arrangements can be difficult to organise, but could be worth it if you know you are to be a long term tenant of a property.  One idea is to sit down with your property manager and explain the situation, even presenting a business case exhibiting the financial benefits of the project (seen through the property’s reduced operating costs), as well as the reduced environmental impact, that can be passed on to the owner.

There is no doubt that as a renter it can be difficult to maintain environmental vigilance when you have limited control over the property in which you reside.  However there are definitely practical, everyday actions that can be taken.  For larger green projects it may be a worthwhile exercise to approach the owner/manager of your property to suggest initiatives that could be applicable and cost effective for both of you.   

Posted by Charles Tarbey on 04/04/2011 at 9:24 AM | Categories: State of the Market -

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