We hear a lot about climate change, and something so big can feel overwhelming. Most people wonder what they can do to make an impact. According to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, living in an eco-friendly apartment building can be one of the best ways to combat climate change. 

Read on to learn more about how you can find an eco-friendly apartment building, and how to transform your current apartment into a sustainable home. 

What is an Eco-Friendly Apartment Building? 

An eco-friendly apartment or “green housing” is built with environmentally-friendly building materials. The building also uses resources more efficiently, or has features that help lower waste and emissions. Many of these environmentally-conscious homes will save the landlord and the renter money by lowering energy bills. Builders will often pursue certifications like the USGBC LEED certification or the GreenStar certification to establish their properties as certifiably sustainable. 

Image of rows of building roofs with plants along the middle row

When you’re searching for a new apartment, here are some eco-friendly features and appliances to look for: 

Energy efficiency appliances 

The Energy Star Program was created by the US. Dept of Energy in 1992 to help us track and understand how different appliances use energy. Today, you can look up almost any appliance on the Energy Star website. If it’s Energy Star approved, then you know it’s an efficient appliance model. 

Proper insulation and temperature control 

Energy efficient and UV reducing windows improve the light and temperature in your apartment year round, and you can back that up by having individually controlled temperature in the rooms so you can properly manage it.  

Offset of carbon emissions

Sometimes your apartment building won’t give you the choice of what kind of energy to use. In that case, you could consider off-setting your carbon emissions. To do that, you can either pay a company like myclimate to calculate and offset your carbon emissions for you, or you can do it yourself by planting some trees. 

Flow rate

When looking for an apartment, check out the flow rate on the water fixtures. Have they been updated recently? If not, but you really want the apartment, consider buying some low-flow fixtures and replacing them yourself (just remember to keep the old ones so you can put them back on when you leave).

Community initiatives 

In Philadelphia, one of our Rhino partners Verde has an open forum to discuss what they are doing to create a sustainable living space for tenants. Eco-friendly property managers will invite feedback from renters as well as update them on eco-friendly initiatives and changes happening to the apartment building routinely. 

How can I find an eco-friendly apartment near me? 

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly apartment in a major city, look out for the LEED certification badge. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) created the LEED program to rate the sustainability and efficiency of buildings. The LEED certification provides different tiers of sustainability goals, that include Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Most major cities, like NYC, Boston, and San Francisco, have updated their building codes in the last 10 years to require new buildings to be built to LEED Silver standards. 

One such LEED-certified building to consider is the Emerald Green located in midtown west. Glenwood Properties offers both Rhino and eco-friendly rentals.

How can you maximize your current sustainability? 

Look at your energy supplier

Using a company like Clean Choice Energy will help ensure the energy you’re supplied is replenished with 100% wind and solar energy. In addition to changing your supplier, you can unplug chargers and appliances when they aren’t being used. 

Use LED bulbs 

Check and change your light bulbs from incandescent bulbs to LEDs which are cheap, cool to the touch, and will last you much longer than their predecessors! 

Switch to water-saving fixtures 

Want to snazz up your apartment while also saving water? You can swap out your shower head or faucet for water saving fixtures. Just make sure to save the originals so you can swap them back in when you leave. 


In 2017, the United States generated 35.37 million tons of plastic waste, but unfortunately, only 8% (2.96 million tons) was recycled. Take an extra minute to learn about your local recycling program, check with your building and city providers to see how they separate plastic, mixed paper, food materials, and more to ensure you are doing your part. Does your city or apartment building offer composting? Even better!

Image of renter and child sorting recycling in the kitchen
Pick out some plants 

While humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon-dioxide, plants do just the opposite. Having more plants in your space can act as a natural air purifier. Researchers say that it may take a large number of plants working together to truly purify your whole space. The perfect excuse to purchase more than one ficus.

Image of renter sitting with a dog in their apartment surrounded by plants

As a citizen of the world, it's good to know there are things we can do to help our health, help our planet, and also help our bottom line. Becoming more conscious about the environment will help build better communities and lifestyles for the future. Choosing an eco-friendly apartment is a great way to start sustainable living.

Lucky for you, you can save money and be conscious at the same time. Rhino partners with properties who prioritize the environment. Found the perfect eco-friendly place? Just ask them about Rhino security deposit insurance to save more money when you move.

a headshot image featuring kt heins-nagamoto
KT Heins-Nagamoto

KT Heins-Nagamoto is a senior brand writer at Rhino. They advocate for security deposit alternatives and renter rights in everything they write.