So, I rent. i wish I owned, but I don't. I'd like to help my landlord's become more eco-conscious without pissing them off. Any small scale things renters can do to help make their digs more sustainable? Growing food and herbs comes to mind. Maybe some small winterization projects, but can anyone think of anything else.
Also, are there some rental companies that are better then others at offering "green" rental options?
Yes! There are lots and lots of things you can do.
One big step is that when you seek a place to rent, have some questions you run by your new landlord when you are looking around. Garden space? Organiclawn with a few "weeds"? Clothes line? If you get favorable answers, be sure to reflect all of that in a friendly email: "I like that I can have a garden, so, yes, I would like to rent from you."
Eco comes in a lot of flavors. Some points are to save energy (thus build fewer nuke plants) and some points are to put less junk in the dump. Some points are for less toxic gick.
And .... this is something that a lot of people are going to not like .... this is strictly my obnoious opinion .... the number one thing you can do to be eco ... in my obnoxious opinion ... is .... don't have babies. A whole new person to consume resources will probably consume about the same amount of energy as the average american. So if you are living a light footprint life, this new person will most likely have a footprint ten times bigger than yours.
Not having babies is something that can be done by a renter.
And that was probably not the answer you were fishing for.
Next up on the list: Six people living in a six bedroom home use twice as much energy as two people living in a two bedroom home. In other words, we could say that six people living in three two bedroom homes use about 60 units of energy. But under one roof they use 40 units of energy. And they consume less. And the construction is smaller. And this is a space where renters can really shine.
Another: most landlords expect you to maintain a nice lawn. You can have an excellent lawn that is fully organic.
Drying those clothes: a drying rack inside is still way better than a clothes dryer. You will see huge savings on the power bill. And huge savings on the power bill is a huge cut in pollution and other environmental problems. And reduces the chances of building more nuke plants. And this can be done entirely indoors where it doesn't bug the landlord. A clothesline can be nice too.
Okay, so there's a start. Anybody have anything else to add?
Well, Those are great ideas, although I don't know how my wife will respond to the no babies idea, although for now, we're on board!!
The indoors clothesline is something we need to do, we dry outside all summer, but have never really set one up inside in the winter. I've heard that clothes will dry out side all winter even in sub-freezing temperatures. Sublimation...or something like that. Never tried, though, has anyone?
I guess, to answer my own question, paying attention to what you buy and how you use it is also renter appropriate. IE using low phosphorous detergents, and natural cleaning products is something renters can do too.
I rent also, and I have to say my landlord is very easy going. If I want to paint the apartment, I can paint it any color I want. He said I can plant anything anywhere in the yard, small as it is. I can make the whole yard into a garden if I want.
One thing I would LIKE to do next spring, is see if the zoning and my landlord would let me have a few chickens. I would like to turn my shed into a chicken coop. Or maybe part of it.
Another thing I think is a good idea if you have close neighbors or live in apartment buildings, get to know your neighbor and ride share when you can to the store or wherever.