Photo: How to find a

Find out how walkable your neighbourhood is before you buy or rent. (Credit: urbaneapts via Flickr)

I'm not familiar with a database designed specifically for renters—or buyers for that matter—to locate "green" homes in a given Canadian city. Of course Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) certified apartment buildings are easier to find.

The Canadian Green Building Council maintains a searchable list of projects currently registered on its website. You can search by city and province or by project type; e.g., low-rise, high-rise, bank, daycare and more. Keep in mind this will only tell you the name and location of the building and nothing about rental suites available.

While searching for that apartment of your dreams, ask the landlord a few questions to find out how "green" the building is. For example:

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• Is the suite painted with no- or low-VOC paints?
• Can you compost your food waste?
• Is there a programmable thermostat?
• Are the appliances Energy Star?

Of course, living in a neighbourhood where you can work and play is the key to lowering your environmental footprint (and staying active and saving money). Using a street address, you can identify how a residence is ranked among the best or worst in terms of walkability. Check out Walkscore, enter the street address and see what an area offers in terms of public transportation, libraries, community centres, grocery stores and movie theatres.

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