Want To Live In A Eco-Friendly Apartment? Here Are 5 Things To Look For

Finding the right eco-friendly apartment

If you’re living in a city, it’s hard to feel like the eco-friendly changes you make will impact the greater environment around you. The streets are jam-pact with cars, busses, and trains. The light pollution blocks the star-filled sky with street lamps, buildings, and bright signs. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the operation, maintenance, and construction of urban buildings and skyscrapers in US cities account for around half of the country’s energy consumption. On a global scale, that number jumps up to nearly 75%. 

It’s safe to say that our lifestyles in a city environment are built around consuming carbon. It’s an addiction that seems impossible to shake. We need innovation in all energy-consuming sectors in the next couple of decades to reverse the trajectory of the climate crisis. Although some of the innovations in transportation and building practices aren’t financially viable at the moment, there are several things you can do and be aware of when looking for a new place to live that will genuinely impact and influence companies and developers to move more efficiently towards greener solutions. 

The most effective place in your life where you can have the greatest impact on the environment is where you relax, sleep and eat – your home. Everything from the food you eat, how to cool or heat your unit, or how you dispose of your waste can really affect the environment around the city. The more you create greener habits in your life, there is hope that you can influence and educate others in your network and community to do the same. Building a community of environmentally aware people can create influence throughout an entire neighborhood. 

Grow Awareness

The first step to creating this is to grow your awareness and educate yourself on where you are living. Maintaining and constructing residential buildings is a huge energy consumer. It may be challenging to have the building owner change their building to be more sustainable and energy-efficient, but when your lease is up and you’re on the hunt for a new apartment; there are several things you can look for to live in a greener environment. 


1. Smarter Design

Many architecture firms and developers are finding innovative ways to make their apartment buildings more energy efficient. There are several things you can look for when touring apartments. 

  • Do the walls have good insulation? The more you can keep your ideal temperature in your unit, the less you’ll have to use more heating or air conditioning.
  • Does the apartment have large windows or skylights? And are they newer windows? Windows are a fantastic solution when using less electricity. They can be the primary light source during the day, cutting down the need to light your space with electricity. However, if these windows are old and outdated, it can cause leaking of your heat or air conditioning and cause you to need these systems more often. If you need to use lights, look to see if they are using more energy-efficient light installations.
  • Is the building using new HVAC systems? Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems or HVAC systems that are old and inefficient can be a huge problem when living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Simply put, they can be energy leakers. If you live in a very cold or sweltering environment, please ask about these systems and how recently they’ve been updated. It could save you hundreds of dollars a year on your energy bill and massively help cut the amount of energy that a building requires. 

2. Refurbished and Renovated Buildings

Building new foundations and structures require vast amounts of energy, especially in larger apartment buildings. Generally, smaller apartment buildings don’t need as much energy to construct or maintain. However, the best route is to find apartment buildings that are renovated, refurbished, and repurposed. This cuts down the required emissions nearly in half, primarily if the building is constructed of heavy steel or concrete. When we show interest in building green practices, development companies begin to take note of this and adapt their interest towards the market’s interest. Rather than look for those cool, newly built modern buildings, look for those smaller refurbished buildings with updated interiors. 


Recently, we refurbished our newest co-living apartment building on Capitol Hill rather than knocking down the old building and replacing it. This cut down our environmental footprint immensely during construction and gave us the opportunity to give life to a historic building near our nation’s capital. 

3. Appliances

You’d be surprised at how much of your electric bill is because of your refrigerator, stove, and microwave. When searching for an apartment, you want these appliances to be energy efficient. Most of the newer appliances will likely be optimized for energy efficiency, but you should always check. Make sure the refrigerator has a tight seal and that the compressor coils are cleaned. This alone will ensure your biggest appliance is using as little energy as possible. 

solar panels on rooftop

4. Renewable Energy Sources

Although it’s still uncommon in most cities, if the apartment is powered partially or totally on renewable energy like solar, that would be a considerable advantage to combat your carbon footprint. This should be something that changes in the next few years, with the price of solar energy dropping substantially.

plastic bottles in recycling plant

5. Explore Better Waste Options

Waste is often overlooked when finding places that are more environmentally friendly. It’s not as sexy as talking about modern design and solar energy, but it is imperative. There is an immense amount of waste produced from constructing a new apartment building to maintaining that building. Frequently apartment buildings will offer to recycle if it’s available in that city. However, currently, the US recycling infrastructure is insufficient, to say the least. According to National Geographic, only 9% of our recycling actually gets recycled. The other 91% gets disposed of like regular waste, or even worse, incinerated. That’s why if you want to get more thoughtful about recycling and waste, you should look into your own options. 


Composting: Rather than just throwing your banana peel in the garbage can, you can send your compost out to be used as fertilizer for crops, forests, etc. For Washington, DC. You can use Compost Cab to find great composting solutions for your food waste. They make it simple, offering both drop-off locations and pickup options for a small monthly fee. In most cities, there has been a rise in independent composting options. Don’t forget, you can also do your own composting at home if you have the space. 


Recycling: Several local and national recycling companies will actually utilize your recycling waste and repurpose your recycling. One, in particular, is the Independent Recycling Service. It’s essential to be aware of your trash and create a waste management system that works for you and the environment.


Finally, here at OSLO, we are always looking to strive for better at what we do. Becoming greener for our environment in the Washington, DC area is one way we can do that. We don’t want to strive to just be sustainable. Sustainability isn’t enough to solve this climate problem. We are striving to be regenerative. 

sustainability definition and Regenerative development definition

Sustainability is not enough; we need to be regenerative

Often, you’ll hear companies market their products as becoming more sustainable. Yes, that is a significant first step in helping our planet heal from the damage we’ve been inflicting on it. However, a new concept and building standard has started to pick up steam in the development community – Regenerative Development. Regenerative development essentially boils down to creating and designing buildings and communities that take sustainability to the next level. Regenerative Development’s core concept is to create environments and lifestyles that help maintain and grow a fractured relationship between people and our natural environment. 

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Thank you for your interest in becoming a part of the OSLO community! We place emphasis on the fair and respectful treatment of all residents. We are an equal opportunity housing provider and comply with all national and local fair housing laws.


Before any applicant information or the application fee is collected, we hereby disclose the eligibility criteria which we use in determining whether to rent a rental unit to you.


Please review the following eligibility criteria upon which we rely upon in making rental determinations.

Application and

Application Fee All individuals 18 years of age and over who will reside in the rental unit must submit an application. A $75 non-refundable application fee is required for each applicant. Application fees can be paid by credit card, cashier’s checks and personal checks.  No cash is accepted for the payment of application fees.  The application fee(s) are due at time of application and is/are required before the application(s) can be processed.  No application is processed until all applications are complete, including, without limitation, all information provided, submission of all necessary supporting documentation, and payment of all non-refundable application fees paid.  We rely on the information provided in the application and any false or misleading information provided by any applicant is justifiable basis for our immediate denial of the application(s) for the rental unit.

Consumer Credit

Reports Each applicant’s consumer credit report history is reviewed, including, but not limited to, number and frequency of non-payments and/or late payments, account balances (current and past due), charge-offs/write-offs, collection activity, defaults, lender/creditor closure of accounts, bankruptcy history, debt-to-income ratio and debt-to-available credit ratio.  An applicant’s credit score is reviewed and considered, but no adverse action shall be taken solely on the basis of applicant’s credit score.  

Rental History Each applicant’s rental history is reviewed and satisfactory rental history required, including, but not limited to, applicant’s payment history (e.g., frequency and number of non-payments and/or late payments, outstanding account balances, collection activity), complaints about applicant’s prior tenancy (e.g., frequency and nature of complaints either by other residents or discovered by landlord, frequency and number of informal lease violation notices and/or 30-Day Notices to Correct or Vacate), whether applicant’s provided proper notice of intention to vacate, and applicant’s eviction and Landlord & Tenant Court history, as permitted by applicable law.   


Verification Income from all sources is considered and we shall not refuse to rent a rental unit to an individual because the individual will provide the rental payment, in whole or in part, through a voucher for rental housing assistance provided by the District or federal government.  Gross monthly income (or, in the case of multiple applications, combined gross monthly income) must equal at least 3 times the monthly rent amount and be supported by two (2) most recent month’s documentation.  Examples of acceptable documentation (this is not an all-inclusive list) include, but are not limited to, two (2) most recent paystubs, housing choice vouchers and any other form of government rent subsidy or assistance, supplemental security/supplemental security disability income, alimony, veteran’s benefits, unemployment insurance, signed offer letter from employer stating annual salary and a confirmation of start of employment with a start date that is no more than 30 days after date of application and states applicant’s salary and/or by direct supervisor or HR verification to us.  Cash assets such as bank account/investment/brokerage account statements can be used as a source of income provided the average balance of the account for the six (6) months immediately prior to the application is greater than or equal to the amount of 2 times the total value of the rent for the initial lease term and all funds must be held within the United States.  


Guarantor Applicant’s not meeting our minimum eligibility requirements related to consumer credit report history and/or income/employment verification will be afforded an opportunity to provide a qualified Guarantor for our review and approval.  The Guarantor is subject to the same application process (including payment of the applicable application fee) and must meet our eligibility criteria as to consumer credit report history and income/employment verification. 

Criminal Background Criminal background reports will be reviewed but such report will only be requested, obtained, reviewed and considered after applicant is provided a conditional offer of housing.

We consider the pending criminal accusations or criminal conviction history of all individuals 18 years of age and older who will reside in the rental unit but on for those offenses listed in the Fair Criminal Record Screening for Housing Act of 2016 which occurred within the seven (7) years prior to date of the application.

The applicant may provide evidence demonstrating inaccuracies within the applicant’s criminal record or evidence of rehabilitation or other mitigating factors. This means the applicant has the right to provide, among other things, evidence of errors in applicant’s criminal background report, evidence of applicant’s good conduct since the conviction or pending accusation occurred, or other information applicant would like a housing provider to use when evaluating applicant’s criminal background.  Please do not provide this information until after applicant has received a conditional offer of housing, as we do not request, obtain, review and consider any applicant’s criminal background until after we have made a conditional offer of housing to applicant.

Credit Report Fee and Credit Investigation:  I agree to pay when I submit this Application a credit report fee of $35.00, WHICH SHALL BE NON-REFUNDABLE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THIS APPLICATION IS APPROVED OR REJECTED.  I/WE hereby authorize the owner or owner’s agent to whom this Application is made and any credit bureau or other investigative agency used by such owner or owner’s agent to investigate and to report and disclose to the owner and the owner’s agent the results of the references herein listed, statements and other data obtained from me or from any other person pertaining to my credit, employment, rent history, and financial responsibility.

If you need to request a reasonable accommodation at any time during the application process, please inform OSLO Management, by contacting: hello@oslo-dc.com or (202)919-9129.

Housing opportunities are available to all persons in the conformance with all applicable Federal and Local Fair Housing and Human Rights Laws.

By signing below, applicant acknowledges that they have read and agreed to the aforementioned.