A recent study by Rent.com found that a staggering 86 percent of Americans prefer an apartment with sustainable features, and more than half are willing the shell out the extra cash for the upgrade.
According to the survey, 42 percent of respondents were willing to pay up to $100 extra to live in a green apartment, and 13 percent would pay even more than that.
Renters were almost three times as likely as non-renters (11 percent versus 4 percent) to say living in an environmentally friendly home an absolute necessity.
But while the respondents are willing to pay more in rent to live in a green apartment, two-thirds say money is the biggest barrier to making more eco-friendly choices.
But this isn't a new revelation. A 2009 Earth911 reader poll found that 35 percent of respondents feel that their main challenge for adopting more green practices is money.
While the upfront cost may be higher for some eco upgrades, the overall savings make those extra dollars seem like pennies. Read more about Green Luxe on a Budget.
If you're on the hunt for your next apartment, Rent.com suggests some simple eco-friendly things to look for during your search that provide sustainable elements without the inflated price tag.
1. Upgraded appliances: Ask the landlord to consider replacing older appliances 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.
2. VOC-free paint: 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 offers VOC-free or low-VOC paint.
3. Weatherizing features: When viewing apartments, make sure to ask about its insulation. Older buildings without insulation allows 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.
If that’s not an option, make sure any gaps around your windows are sealed with foam that you can buy from a hardware store and consider shrink-wrapping your windows in the winter to keep cold air out.