Protecting the environment is an important task and you can do your part by upgrading your apartment. Unfortunately, some of the more major changes require permanent alterations to the building that you can’t hope to make and still keep your security deposit. However, there are a few smaller modifications you can make to go green. Here are a few of the improvements your landlord should allow:

Change Your Light Bulbs

​Trade your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). These use 30 percent less energy per bulb than incandescent and last 10 times as long! Though they cost slightly more upfront, you’ll make up for the loss in the energy you save and the use you get out of them. You’ll have to purchase more incandescent bulbs than CFLs, a cost which adds up.

You may be wary of going the CFL route because the light they produce feels cold. However, you can remedy the problem by using a warm-colored lampshade. Pick a hue in the cream to amber range to filter the light, producing a warm glow. Avoid white lampshades entirely.

Hang Curtains

Keep your apartment warm in winter and go green by hanging blackout curtains. The thick fabric helps insulate the window, preventing cold air from leaking in. Keep the curtains closed at night and whenever you aren’t in the apartment. Curtains will also keep the place cooler in summer by preventing light from heating the space through the window.

Ask your landlord if you can hang things on the wall before hammering or drilling, so you know you’ll get your security deposit back.

Install an Aerator

Head to your local hardware store to pick up an aerator or two. These devices shoot air into the stream of water that comes out of your faucet, thereby reducing the amount of water you use. The stream is still as strong as it was without the aerator, but you use less water. You can install these devices on your bathroom and kitchen faucets as well as on your shower head. They do not require any permanent alterations to the apartment, so you can take them with you when you move out.

Take notes on the style of faucet and shower head that you have and tell your hardware store clerk. He or she will ensure you get the right size and shape to fit your faucets. It may help to take a photograph of the hardware before you go.

Buy Reusable Furniture

Furnishing your apartment is an exciting process that makes the space your own. It’s an upgrade you’re expected to make and you can go green while shopping. Avoid buying new furniture and opt for used pieces instead. Resale prevents perfectly good items from ending up in landfills. Start by looking in thrift stores and consignment shops; then search for online ads. You may find that someone in your town is moving and doesn’t want their sofa. Visit and examine the piece before you take it off their hands so that you know it’s in good condition.

Ask your friends and family if they have used furniture they don’t want. Families can accumulate pieces over time and realize they never use them. It never hurts to ask.