How to Find an Eco-Friendly Apartment

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How to Find an Eco-Friendly Apartment

Lisa Wright · Jan 4, 2022
Happy couple relaxes on the couch in their eco-friendly home.

Over the past year, trends in apartment living have been reflecting renters’ needs in response to the pandemic. As more and more apartment hunters look for spaces with offerings like access to shared common areas, managed Wi-Fi, and other community-driven features like gardens, rooftop areas, pools, and fire pits.

One of the top trends in apartment living right now is less a response to the pandemic and more an eco-conscious decision to live more sustainably, thus leading a vast number of renters to seek out eco-friendly apartments. But just because this trend is gaining in popularity (especially among younger and first-time renters) doesn’t mean that it’s easy to find such spaces, especially if you’re not sure where to look.

Below are some of our best tips for finding an eco-friendly apartment that will help you get started on the path to greener living:

What is an Eco-Friendly Apartment?

The simplest way to describe an eco-friendly apartment is one that keeps certain important phrases in mind: “high-efficiency,” “sustainable,” “eco-friendly,” and “smart technology” aren’t just buzzwords — they’re important indicators of how green an apartment building or living space actually is. In a more general sense, these words usually mean that a building will most likely have lower energy costs (resulting in a reduced carbon footprint) due to things like the use of smart technology, higher-quality building materials, and a commitment to features that create more long-term sustainable spaces built with both the present and the future in mind.

Appliance Acumen

Woman controlling smart kitchen appliance using mobile phone at home.

To be honest, most apartment dwellers probably don’t think about their appliances much as long as they’re working — especially when it comes to energy output and efficiency. But energy-saving appliances are one of the easiest ways to reduce waste and lower energy output, and many rental companies and landlords are starting to take notice. Not only can these appliances help save the both of you money on energy costs, they’re also a great way to go green.

Tip: Look for appliances that are “Energy Star certified” or have settings for “energy-saving.” This includes refrigerators, washer/dryers, and dishwashers. When on the hunt for an apartment, be sure to search words like “efficient” and “eco-friendly” when looking at listings.

Sustainability Savvy

When you’re looking for an apartment, you’re probably not thinking about what materials were used in its construction, and that’s okay. But the use of “green building” options may have an impact on how environmentally friendly your apartment actually is, and it may also impact how affordable your rent is.

Choosing a building made from recycled materials or even decorated using upcycled or reclaimed furniture means you’re living in a more environmentally-conscious space — one that was built from the ground up with sustainability in mind. Additionally, added features like updated HVAC systems, onsite recycling or composting programs, and the implementation of renewable energy resources create a greener space that reduces waste and saves energy, leading to lower costs for both landlords and would-be tenants.

Tip: Look for buildings that focus on both energy efficiency and waste reduction strategies. Efficient and updated HVAC systems, low-flow toilets, showers, and sinks, and recycling programs designed to reduce waste are all important amenities available in green buildings. Be on the lookout for LEED-certified buildings, too, as this is an important indicator of sustainability with regard to greener, more eco-friendly structures.

Smart Technology = More Sustainable Living

Smartphone shows exactly how much power each smart device in the apartment is using.

Smart technology is an intrinsic part of the sustainable apartment hunting trend. With more and more people opting for smart alternatives for everything from light controls to thermostats, many landlords and rental companies are starting to get on board as a way to entice a new generation of renters with eco-friendly living in mind. Of course, energy-saving appliances are just one part of the green puzzle—it’s also necessary for smart technology to work hand-in-hand with these appliances in order to make them extra efficient.

The good news is that smart tech is pretty easy to look for when apartment hunting. Simply keep an eye out for amenities like smart thermostats, smart locks, Wi-Fi connected light controls, smart plugs, and built-in Bluetooth speakers.

Tip: The little things always matter when it comes to choosing a more environmentally-friendly living space. Even if you can’t find a building with tons of built-in smart technology, it’s possible you may be able to find one with features like LED bulbs and more efficient light fixtures, newer or recently replaced windows, or an upgraded HVAC system. All of these make for great ways to live greener even without smart technology.

The eco-friendly apartment living trend will only continue to increase in popularity as more and more renters seek out sustainable living spaces. Rental companies and landlords are getting in on the trend, too, with newer spaces being built with sustainability in mind regarding materials and construction, and older buildings being updated with energy-saving appliances and smart technology features. And while finding a green apartment may not be easy, it’s definitely worth it. How else can we build a better world if we don’t start at home?

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