Residential dwellings are a little behind the commercial scene when it comes to going green. The reason is probably due to the fact that many residential landlords may not be able to afford the initial costs it takes to green up their property. Retrofitting an old house or apartment building can be expensive, and there aren't as many financial incentives in place on the residential side of the tracks right now. There are some examples, though. In the United Kingdom, residential landlords can take advantage of tax credits if they install new insulation in their rental units. And as of October 2008, landlords in England and Wales are required to show prospective tenants an energy performance certificate that indicates the heating costs and their relative environmental impact.
In the United States, most residential incentives come at the state and local level. Chicago has the Cook County Energy Savers Project, a program that provides information on green practices to multi-family building owners. But if you want to encourage your landlord to go green, you'll probably have to do it yourself, because most tenant advocacy groups deal with common problems like deadbeat landlords, safety issues and evictions. Especially in big cities, there's so much going on that tenant rights groups simply don't have the time to bite into the green movement. This leaves you, the tenant, to be your own advocate.