Living Green

As a renter, there are many ways to implement green initiatives within your apartment. It’s important to consult your landlord before making any changes to your apartment that could impact the physical structure of your apartment.

Below are a few simple and cost-effective initiatives the tenant or landlord can take to create a green living experience:

Energy Efficiency

  • Install a programmable thermostat in your apartment. Landlords or tenants can save close to $200 a year by using such a thermostat.
  • Provide yearly maintenance to the furnace and service the water heater and the a/c units. If the units have filters, they must be changed every couple of months to save energy and ensure better indoor air quality.
  • Check windows for air leakage and insulation.
  • Make sure the basement and the attic (if you live in a house) are insulated.
  • While you may not be able to have the landlord replace existing appliances in the unit, if an old appliance needs replacing, suggest that the landlord install an Energy Star rated appliance.
  • If the landlord is responsible for providing light bulbs to the unit, suggest that the landlord use compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. They may cost more to purchase, but use only one-fourth the energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent light bulbs.

Water Conservation

  • Install low-flow toilets and energy efficient shower heads. Maintain bathroom fixtures, including faucets, in good working order and promptly fix any leaking faucets and running toilets, when reported.
  • Turn water off when you brush your teeth or when you shave.
  • Do full loads of laundry and dishes.
  • Take a shorter shower: an average 5-minute shower takes about 20 gallons of water, so about 40 gallons are used in 10 minutes.
  • Promptly report leaky faucets, running toilets or any other water waste to your landlord.


Recycling is the law in Philadelphia, and landlords are responsible for providing their tenants with information about City trash and recycling regulations. If you live in a building with six or fewer units, the City collects recycling at curbside every week on the same day that trash is picked up. Make sure the landlord provides clear instructions regarding storage and curbside placement of your recycling. In buildings of more than six apartments, landlords are responsible for providing recycling services to their tenants.

Buying Local Produce

While living off-campus, you can support local growers by buying farm- fresh produce at local markets.

For a complete list of farmers’ markets, as well as locations and days of operation, in Philadelphia, visit

Penn Green Campus Partnership
City of Philadelphia Sustainability Initiatives
Recycling in Philadelphia