7 Ways to Green Your NYC Rental Apartment Now

1. Don’t sniff the fresh paint.

Whether you’ve landed a great no fee New York apartment, Los Angeles apartments, your rental management company no doubt slapped a fresh coat of paint on the walls. If you discover that the maintenance team used regular or oil-based latex paint, it is likely off-gassing volatile oils into the air that are toxic to both you, your pets and the surrounding environment.

  • If you can increase ventilation throughout by turning on fans or opening windows, you’ll experience less exposure to off-gassing.
  • Better yet, If you don’t need to move in right away, consider staying with a friend for about a week. Get off to a good start with your NYC apartment with a fresh paint job and clean air in your new digs.
  • If it turns out the paint is old, you can spruce up your place while being green by choosing zero VOC paint.

The Green Home Guide offers advice on locating non-toxic paint sources.


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2. Look into de-regulated energy.

Today, we have the power to choose who supplies our utilities. Although electrical power in NYC is mostly delivered by Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) you can choose your electrical supplier. Opt for a supplier that uses solar or wind power to reduce pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency offers a handy guide to locate a green energy service provider in your area.

3. Seal window leaks.

Many old New York City apartments often have ill-fitting windows and waste energy and heat. Although you can request that your landlord repair the windows, you might not want to wait all winter long for him to send someone to fix it. With a quick trip to the home improvement store or your local hardware store, you can be caulking those windows in no time.

4. Dust the refrigerator fan.

Perhaps because it’s out of sight, your refrigerator fan doesn’t always make it to your housekeeping list. Dusting the fan regularly will allow it to “chill out” so it won’t have to work as hard. The electrical savings will be noticeable.

5. Control the direction of radiator air.

If your apartment is heated by a radiator, you may be sweltering on one side of the room while donning a parka on the other. Directing heat to flow toward your common spaces or where you’re spending the majority of your time can keep electric costs lower by not having to run it all day long. The low-power, heat-radiating Radfan is a cool tool to help direct air where you want it for less than $6 a year.

This fan is so good and efficient at what it does, that I’ve taken some images from their website so that you can get the idea. Most of you will instantly say, “Aha!” because the concept is so simple and logical. Take a look:

Notice the fan attached to the radiator. As warm air rises, the simple small fan blows in into the center of the room, where it does the most good. Your room will instantly feel warmer.

6. Wear warmer clothes in the cooler months.

Invest in lightweight, easy-to-layer clothes that you can comfortably wear around the house to stay warm and keep from clicking up the heat. Check out Uniqlo’s clothing line as a place the whole family can shop from for stay-warm, fashionable duds.

7. Green with living greenery.

According to NASA, the most sophisticated air cleaning “device” today is the common house plant. Because of the small spaces and potential circulating air between apartments, indoor air pollutants such as benzene, formaldehyde and carbon dioxide are commonly found. These chemicals can cause health-related issues if not monitored over time. The Golden Pothos and Philodendron are two house plants that can effectively take on indoor air pollution.

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By Laurence Rosenberg

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Written by Lorenzo

Lorenzo has been hanging around the RDNY.com office for the past 20 years, and, in the process, has become the president of RDNY.com, Rent-Direct.com, and Acmelistings.com. His mission is to build RDNY.com into New York's largest no fee apartment rental service. Before RDNY.com, Lorenzo was a Regional Sales Manager for Time Equities, Inc., one of New York's largest converters of rental buildings to coops and condos. Lorenzo was once a part owner of Swift & Watson Real Estate in NYC's Greenwich Village.

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