Saturday, January 29, 2011

Renting is not the end of the world

Despite being a renter all of my adult life, I have not let this hold me back from making changes around the home to reduce my environmental impact.
Most landlords are pretty accepting of minor changes, so long as you're paying. It pays off for the renter as it can reduce your service bills.
In most of the places I've rented I've used temporary measures to make my living quaters more comfortable.  For a north-facing living space without eaves I bought an umbrella to put up on hot days to block out the sun. Combined with a flyscreen "blind" over the double doors allowed the breeze into the house but not the insects.  The blind also allowed the cat to come and go as he pleased.
In our current abode I have put curtains up over all the north facing windows, with the landlords permission. This is additional to venetian blinds.  We've let the bush in front of the living room grow to cut out the sun and visibility from the street. 
In addition to the venetians & curtains in the spare room, which has north facing glass slidng door with no eave, I've added a bamboo blind externally for the hot days.  
Here the umbrella has come in handy to give additional shade on hot days to my worms and herbs (and the bbq chef!)
In every house I have taken with me removable filters that reduce the flow on your taps.  These are easy to install if you have a wrench to remove the existing tap head. Be careful not to scratch it though, use a cloth if necessary.  Often you can also find free new showerheads from your local council. Either way, not such a big outlay even if you leave them behind.
Having a bucket handy next to the shower, and next to the sink for washing vegetables/rising means I can either top up the toilet cistern or use on my herbs.  I also keep my watering tank under the overflow from the hot water heater.
We have a south facing courtyard with 2 storeys on 3 sides, so I don't have a lot of sun here to work with, but this suits most herbs, lettuce and my chillis have taken off. 
On the balcony I get sun, but sometimes too much, so I move the pots around on hot days.  I also forget to water out here during the week, so I set reminders on my computer diary.
There are more ways than one to adapt your temporary home.  Some may cost a little, but they can also be removable so you can take them with you when you go.  Each building is unique, so if you're stuck for ideas ou can yseek some advice from the Glass INUiT.

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