Editor’s note: The following article is excerpted with permission of houzz.com. See the full article: Take Ownership of Your Rental’s Green Factor.

From solar panels and reclaimed wood floors to recycled tile and low-emissivity windows, homeowners have plenty of options these days when it comes to green design. But what about renters? If you rent your apartment (or if you own or manage a rental), some of the larger-scale changes may not be an option, but there are still adjustments you can make on your own (or with your landlord’s permission) that will reduce your energy needs, save you money, and make for a healthier home and planet.

Check if your utility company offers a "green power" option. Some cities are now offering renewable energy. If it is available in your area, it would mean that part or all of your electricity could be purchased from wind farms and other renewable sources.

Check out these five great ways to begin.

Put in a programmable thermostat

modern family room by Danielle Wallinger

Photo credit: Danielle Wallinger

If you have access to your thermostat, replacing the regular controls with a programmable version (like this one) can save you a bundle in energy costs. See the Energy Star website for more info and tips on how to program your thermostat. Ask your landlord first and see if you can get reimbursed for the upgrade.


Lower the water heating temperature

eclectic kitchen by Gut Gut

Photo credit: Gut Gut

Changing the water heater to the "warm" setting with a maximum temp of 120 degrees will save energy and prevent accidental burns. This is especially important if you ever have little ones around the house!


Use caulk or weatherstripping around doors and windows

contemporary entry by Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design

Photo credit: Union Studio, Architecture & Community Design

Make your apartment warmer in winter and cooler in summer by filling gaps where air escapes. If you have a fireplace, be sure the flue is closed.


Install dimmers or sensors on light switches

modern living room by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

Photo credit: Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

Not only are dimmer switches helpful for creating a lovely ambiance, but they can also help save energy by allowing you to keep lights at the lowest level required. As an extra step, you could ask to install vacancy sensors, which automatically shut off lights when no one is in the room.


Switch to a low-flow showerhead

contemporary bathroom by DigitalProperties.ca

Photo credit: DigitalProperties.ca

It may seem a little intimidating, but replacing a showerhead is a fairly simple procedure, and you can even remove it and take it with you when you move.

More from houzz.com:

Copyright 2012 houzz.com

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