Rent.com suggests three areas in which you might be able to get a greener apartment:
• Upgrade the Appliances: "If you notice older appliances in an apartment you're interested in, ask the landlord to consider replacing them with newer energy efficient models before you sign the lease. The latest dishwashers on the market use significantly less water per load than washing dishes by hand, and replacing an older refrigerator with an Energy Star model could reduce your energy usage by up to 50 percent!" [See our list of Energy Star Dishwashers for ideas.]
• Paint Your Home Green: "Landlords will usually repaint the interior of the apartment before you sign the lease. If this is the case, ask your landlord if they're willing to let you choose the paint. This will allow you to choose both the color of the paint as well as a brand that is safe for the environment. If your landlord refuses to pay for the paint, ask if it’s possible for you to supply it if they pay for the painters."
• Batten Down the Hatches: "When viewing apartments, make sure to ask whether it is insulated. Many older buildings were not built with insulation, allowing heat to escape in the winter and cool air to escape in the summer. Find out if your landlord is willing to have it installed in the walls, which can help you save on electricity and on your heating and air conditioning costs."
Have any of you successfully (or unsuccessfully) tried to negotiate for green appliances, paint, or other features? Tell us what happened!