Living green can be easy as a homeowner, but tenants often find it tougher to live sustainably. Tenancy agreement constraints, fear of rocking the landlord’s boat, and worrying about their deposit can all be seen as obstacles, but they shouldn’t stop renters from living in an eco-friendly fashion if sustainability is important to them.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a post packed with tips and advice for those who wish to live a more sustainable life as a tenant.

Let’s get to it!

Location, location, location


At the risk of sounding cliché, cliché, cliché, location really is important, even for renters...and especially for those who like to live sustainably. Why? Well, the reasons are slightly different from those that affect homeowners, but they are nonetheless crucial for anyone looking to dramatically lessen their environmental impact.

Choosing a location that will afford you the luxury of being able to walk to work may not be on the cards for everyone, but you may be able to rent somewhere close to good transport links, bike routes, or footpaths that will remove the need for a car. Check out TfL’s website for more on walking in the capital. 

Same goes for local amenities. Will you be able to access shops, bars, restaurants, gyms, etc. on foot? Consider these things before you set your heart on a given area.

Reuse, recycle, or rent

This sounds eye-rollingly obvious for the eco-conscious, but we mean going beyond the usual recycling of common objects such as paper and glass. How about much bigger, yet equally essential, items such as furniture, for example? Yep, everything can be eco these days, if you’re willing to put the effort in.

This is especially true in London and its surrounding areas where we operate. There are now dozens of companies offering domestic furniture hire locally, and the increased competition has led to significant price drops and improved customer service. Renting furniture helps reduce an individual’s carbon footprint considerably, lessening waste whilst maximising resources.

Even items that may not be found for hire can be acquired more mindfully. Take items such as curtains as a prime example. Buying curtains that can fit in any room and aren’t reliant on standard window sizes means they can be taken with you and reused. Opting for heavy, blackout materials also has the added bonus of increasing your insulation, lowering your energy consumption in the process.

Same rules apply if you really must buy your own furniture. Always have an eye on durability and potential to repurpose wherever possible. Modular furniture is great for this, as it can be tailored to any room in a variety of combinations. If you can add a multifunctional element, too, even better. Dual purpose pieces means less furniture to buy and, therefore, less resources used and wasted.

Communicate with your landlord

communicate with landlord

While adding solar panels and ground source heat pumps may not be on the agenda any time soon, you can (and should) talk to your landlord about smaller jobs that can potentially have a huge impact. Be shrewd about how you handle this and you could be pleasantly surprised at just how amenable your landlord will be, especially if it’ll save them money long term.

Things like inefficient heating, bad insulation, and leaky taps, are easy sells if you frame them correctly. Explain your concerns to your landlord, point out the money being lost as much as the environmental cost being made and you might find your landlord to be more receptive than you initially imagined.

Make greener energy choices

If the energy bills are your responsibility, you have the right to choose the supplier. Thankfully, the old monopolies are a thing of the past and there’s now a stack of choices out there for eco-conscious consumers. 

Take London-based energy company, Bulb, for instance. All of their energy comes from renewable electricity and their gas supply is 100% carbon neutral as well. This means, according to Bulb, that the average user can lower their carbon footprint by around 3.2 tonnes of CO2 each year, which roughly equates to around 1,590 trees!

Obviously, Bulb are just one of many, so do check out competitors such as Octopus, GEUK, Ecotricity, Good Energy, and the rest to ensure you’re getting the best deal for you and the planet.

Be water wise

As with energy, so with water. Although there are nowhere near as many water companies, and choice is restricted by location, there are still things we can do on an individual level to reduce water wastage and improve our relationship with this life-giving compound.

Simple measures such as turning the tap off when brushing your teeth, filling up your washing machine or dishwasher before turning it on, and taking showers instead of running baths can make a huge difference. If you think they won’t, consider this: only 4% of the pristine water you use each and every day is actually used for drinking!

Many water companies will provide their customers with free tools to help cut their water consumption, but you need to ask for them. The quickest way to see what you can get is to open up Google, then type in your provider’s name + ‘save water’. This should take you directly to the right page.

Grow your own

eco tenants sustainably grown veg

Granted, if you’re renting an apartment your options will be limited, but you can still grow some foodstuffs, even if it’s a tiny herb garden on your windowsill. The satisfaction that one gets from growing their own food cannot be overstated, and you’ll do away with all that unnecessary packaging, too.

For those who may be renting larger properties with access to their own garden, it’s obviously wise to consult your landlord before you get too happy with the shovel and shears. Explain what you would like to do and why. That way, you will be keeping up the all-important communication channels with your landlord and protecting your deposit at the same time. Win win!

Live it

To finish up, the most important thing all of us can do is ‘live it’. Creating sustainable habits that last a lifetime is far more important than one-off ‘fixes’, regardless of whether we’re tenants or homeowners. 

Buying locally, keeping it ethical, and limiting waste should be on everyone’s agenda. Never underestimate the impact you can have as an individual. If you don’t believe us, take a wander through this playlist of talks compiled by TED to see just what can be achieved by a single voice with passion.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” 

– Mahatma Gandhi

If you are looking to rent in East London or West Essex, we can help. Check out our recently added homes or give us a call to find out how we can make your next tenancy a long and happy one. Our friendly lettings team are always here to help and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have.

eco tenants guide to renting sustainably