There is a huge property boom in Australia at the moment and with the cost of houses versus the cost of renting, the choice for some is pretty clear for some people. But renting doesn’t mean you have to stop being green!You may feel as if you have no control over certain things in your rental property such as a water tank, solar panels and if you have space to plant a huge vegetable garden but here are our tips to keep you green while you rent.
- Location – consider the location of your rental. Will it be near your work – does this mean you can potentially bike, walk or use public transport to get there? The closer you are to the things you frequent the most will obviously cut down on the amount of driving you may do. Also keep in mind where you do your shopping and is it possible to walk or bus there?
- Size – is your home too large? The size of your home will also add to how much you spend (both carbon wise and financially) heating and cooling it. Try to find a rental property that fits your families needs, not necessarily wants! If you need help being convinced of this, just think of more rooms as more cleaning!
- Energy Offsets. Nowadays it is pretty normal to go into a rental and have to get your own gas/electricity/phone connections. When selecting your providers, remember to choose ones that offer the option to offset the carbon. There are plenty to choose from so just shop around.
- Weather Proofing – no more drafts! When moving into a new home it is always best to check for drafts or areas where the property will need a bit of weather proofing. If you find there are drafty doorways, consider speaking to the landlord if this can be properly repaired, if not than you should grab some draft snakes such as this one by Julielion or make your own!
- Insulation. Check there is insulation in the ceiling before moving in. This will help in keeping your home cooler and warmer through the changing seasons. If there is none, you should speak to the landlord about the possibility of it being installed.
- Being smart with heating and cooling. In some older rental places you may not have high star rated heating and cooling systems and in some cases, you may not have any! Make sure you always dress appropriately for the weather in your home. In winter I bundle up in warm jumpers and socks and in Summer it is always best to draw the curtains to keep the sun out. Simple things like this will make your rental property much greener. Try to only heat/cool the rooms you use and try to use them to a minimum.
- Water saving devices. If your property only has older shower heads, considering replacing this (with the landlord permission) with a new water saving shower head. These can easily be installed and when you move out, you can replace the old one back on again. Make sure that none of the taps leak and if so, make sure you get them fixed.
- Bathroom water saving - Take shorter showers (4 minutes is the norm now). Limit time spent in the shower to soap up, wash down, and rinse off. Shorter showers save on energy costs associated with heating water. Shave your legs before you hop in the shower and then rinse off when you are in. Lower the water heater temperature, stops you from burning yourself and you will make a difference in your heating bills.
- Recycling – make sure you use this in your area. If there are no options within your building for some reason, you could consider speaking to one of your neighbours who may have it and see if you can put yours in with their recycling. Be sure to ask before you start sneaking around at night to put your recycling out!
- Container gardening. If your renting an apartment or a property with no garden, make use of a container garden. There are so many tutorials and DIY ideas out there for container gardens but here are some I really liked:
Better Homes and Gardens – Container Gardens
My Green Australia Gardening Tips – Very Creative Planters
VERTICAL VEGETABLES: “Grow up” in a small garden and confound the cats!
Milk Crate “Air-Pot” Urban Container Gardening
Urban Organic Gardener
- Lighting. When you first move in, it is best to replace any of the old light bulbs with newer CFL light bulbs. These are much better environmentally and also have a far longer life span. Make sure you also switch off any lights in rooms you are not in.
- Reusing water – if you are not able to have a grey water system in your rental property, keep in mind you can still do what you can. Keep a bucket in the shower that you can then empty on the plants after, if you are rinsing vegetables or fruits, keep a bucket in the sink and then empty this onto the plants.
- The three R’s – Make sure you continue to buy products that come in recyclable packages or made from recycled materials, products that are reusable instead of disposable and to lastly and most importantly, reduce the amount of things that you buy!
Here are some great tutorials from SaveWater.com.au on some simple home DIY you can do! Make sure you speak to your landlord before doing any of these!
What are your ideas for renters who are trying to be green and environmentally friendly?