Feature

How to live green while renting

G Magazine

Being green in someone else's house

'For rent' sign

Credit: iStockphoto

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Let's be honest, for most of us, renting your home is not the great Australian dream.

Most of us view renting as a temporary arrangement while we're saving money for a house deposit, or as the perfect antidote to living with our parents while completing that degree.

It's a short-term solution that can mean sustainable living gets put on hold. After all, if you can't even hammer a nail into the wall or give the place a fresh coat of paint, what hope do you have of achieving a carbon neutral home?

The 2006 Census reported that 27 per cent of households are renting. That's 2.2 millions homes that are potentially the great untapped resource in our quest for sustainable living.

The good news is that living environment-friendly while you rent is not nearly as difficult or as costly as you might imagine.

Location, location

One of the great advantages of renting is increased flexibility.

While the high cost of buying property in many inner city suburbs may price-out even the most dedicated of savers, renting in these areas can be a more affordable option.

And, whether you like it or not, short tenancies are a feature of the rental market, so moving house in keeping with where you work and play is certainly a viable option.

Before beginning your search for a rental property, grab a street directory and map out your movements - where you work, shop, socialise, play sport and so on. Take into consideration where your family and friends live, and choose a location that will allow for short, easy travel to all the places you frequent.

Put particular emphasis on the places you travel to daily and weekly, and also consider the public transport services in the area. Can you travel to work on the train or even walk or ride your bike?

If the only feasible way to get to work is by car, can you garage it on weekends and rely on other modes of transport for play?

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