Some things to consider in choosing a rental property that will affect you financially and affect the your greenhouse gas emissions.
Is the location convenient? If far from family, work, shops and school, transport may be expensive.
Does it feel like a place you could live in? Comfort is important.
Is there ceiling insulation? Insulation helps keep a house warm in winter and cool in summer. Wall and floor insulation is also valuable.
Are there carpets? They help insulate the floor.
If the hot water system is electric, is there an off-peak meter (a separate meter) or a "time of use'" meter? Off peak or "controlled load" is the cheapest tariff. It heats water when demand for electricity is low.
Are there heaters? What kind? Heating is very expensive, particularly small electric heaters. Unflued gas heaters and most wood heaters give off gases that are a health hazard and contribute to global warming.
Does it have solar hot water? If so, does it have an automatic or a manual booster? A manual booster means you decide when and if you will pay to boost the temperature.
Are there energy efficient light bulbs throughout? LED bulbs use the least amount of electricity.
Is there cross-ventilation? This can be critical in cooling your house in summer if you open windows at night after the outside temperature has dropped.
Do windows open easily? Important for ventilation, and to reduce condensation and toxic mould.
Is there natural light, particularly north light? Unshaded north windows let in sunlight and heat in winter but check if there are eaves or shade for summer. West windows should be shaded in summer to minimise heat.
Are there curtains or blinds? They help moderate temperature if opened in daytime and closed at night in winter and the opposite in summer.
Are there pelmets? They prevent heat loss or gain from air passing over windows behind curtains or blinds.
Are there ceiling fans?
Are there any obvious drafts around doors and windows?
Does the oven door seal properly? Leaks increase the cost of running an oven.
If a fridge is provided, does the door seal properly? Test by closing the door onto a piece of paper. If you can pull out the paper easily, the seal is poor; the fridge will run unnecessarily.
Do taps leak? Leaks increase your water bill.
Do any of the toilets leak? Are the toilets dual flush? Again, important to minimise water use.
Patsy Asch, Sustainable Living Armidale