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Living Green: How to Choose an Eco-Friendly Home


By: Gabriel Patel


There are a number of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment and eco-friendly renting can be counted among the most significant. If you know what to look out for, it’s possible to find accommodation that’s both affordable and environmentally sound - here’s how to get started.


Location


The whereabouts of a property can have a significant effect on its inhabitants’ carbon footprint. If you’re working in an office or on-site, for example, the distance to work will correlate with the amount of fuel you use. To avoid high numbers, it’s often worth searching for homes that are within walking distance to your place of work. You can even factor in traffic congestion and alternative transport options. Interestingly, studies show that city-dwellers have up to a quarter of the carbon footprint of their suburban counterparts, as they walk for their groceries, as well as use less heating and water.

House Build


The foundational composition of a property is another factor to consider before renting. An eco-friendly home will be built to maximize energy efficiency, hopefully equipped with double-glazed windows, low-emission boilers and combustion equipment, smart thermostats, and perhaps even a self-sufficient solar panel energy system. Technology has come a long way in the past decade to help supplement a cleaner lifestyle and to save the occupant money on utility bills. If you’re unsure, ask the landlord about these features or request installation manuals & paperwork.

It’s also important to pay attention to the property’s building materials. Eco-friendly options could include salvaged or reclaimed wood and recycled items. You can also ask if the materials used for the home’s structure are certified from sustainable sources, such as precast concrete, recycled steel, straw bales, and bamboo. This might seem like going an extra mile but a switched-on landlord will likely have details of construction available on file.

Appliances


Less integral to the structure of the building but equally important in regards to your energy output, home appliances should also come into your consideration. These can be swapped and changed or installed in a matter of days. Always keep an eye out for Energy Star appliances (you can spot them from the iconic blue logo). Energy Star certified products are energy efficient and ultimately reduce household emissions - these might include refrigerators, water heaters, windows, and air conditioning units (among others).

Also high on your list should be water efficiency. Ideally, you want a property that uses low-flow toilets, faucets, and showerheads, as well as a water heater designed for minimized water usage. These might sound like unorthodox features but there is a growing demand for water-efficient products and you can often spot them from the WaterSense label. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tests all WaterSense products and their products guarantee improved efficiency.

If you’d like to improve the air quality in your kitchen and home, you can invest in a wall mount range hood. A range hood can be screwed into your kitchen wall and cleanse the air of unwanted odors.


Moving


Once you’ve found your ideal destination, you can begin the moving process. If possible, you should try to find an eco-friendly mover that aims to eliminate waste and take more efficient routes. As with any company, be sure to get a quote and discuss your needs, evaluating any online reviews and testimonials. Legitimate movers will aim to conduct an in-home inspection before proceeding to more accurately predict the cost.

Eco renting may require more effort from the outset, but it provides ample reward in terms of cost efficiency and environmental benefits. Take the time to ensure you’re living conscientiously.

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