Rental home in apartment building most sustainable housing form – Survey on renters’ views on sustainable housing

16 December 2022

SATO Corporation
Press release 16 December 2022 at 10:00 am

Renting a home in an apartment building is perceived as the most sustainable housing form according to responses to a survey commissioned by SATO. The central location of a home enables a more sustainable lifestyle. A total of 55% of the respondents hope to receive guidance from the rental housing provider in issues relating to sustainable housing.

According to a survey commissioned in November by housing investment company SATO, a rental home in an apartment building is the most sustainable form of housing. Conducted through an online panel, the survey had 1,005 respondents who live in a rental home or are considering moving into a rental home within the next 12 months.

One in four respondents regard a rental home in an apartment building as the most sustainable form of housing. When living in a rented home in an apartment building, it is easy to make sustainable choices in your everyday life: the location is often close to good public transport connections and recycling is easy in an apartment block. The respondents found that a rental housing provider has better resources for investing in sustainability than an individual resident.

The survey shows that many people would like to receive guidance from the rental housing provider in issues related to sustainable housing: 55% of all respondents and as many as 72% of young respondents aged 18–24 agreed with this statement.

“We aim to be a forerunner in sustainable rental housing. As a large player, we have the opportunity to have a significant impact on sustainable housing solutions throughout the lifecycle of our properties, and sustainability is indeed a built-in feature of our operations. We want to enable a sustainable way of living for our residents and seek to make their everyday lives easier also by providing them with guidance in issues relating to sustainable everyday choices through actions such as our waste sorting and recycling events and guidance from our housing advisers,” says Elina Vaurasalo, Executive Vice President for Housing Business at SATO.

More sustainable lifestyle enabled by the location of the home

The importance of the central location rental homes stands out in the responses. Altogether 80% of the respondents regard the location of the home as an important aspect enabling a more sustainable lifestyle.

Good public transport connections and closeness of services are the most important selection criteria when it comes to the location of the home. Other aspects regarded as important are being close to nature and having a short journey to work, school or daycare centre.

The majority (83%) of the respondents have changed their mobility in a more sustainable direction over the past 12 months. The most common changes made are walking more and taking care of multiple errands at the same time instead of making multiple journeys. Good access to services from the current home is likely to enable increased walking.

Rental housing provider’s responsibility and sustainability aspects not yet known

The survey respondents were asked which aspects make a rental housing provider responsible and sustainable. According to the results, renters associate the rental housing provider’s responsibility and sustainability very strongly with issues closest to their everyday lives, such as good opportunities for recycling and waste sorting. Use of renewable energy forms and sustainable materials as well as saving energy were also brought up by respondents.

“The responses indicate that, in addition to environmentally friendly actions, responsibility and sustainability is regarded as consisting of caring about residents’ wellbeing and comfort. And this is exactly what we at SATO are determined to do together with our residents: to create healthy and safe living environments, promote diversity and reduce inequalities in society,” says SATO Sustainability Manager Susanna Kari González.

More than a fifth (22%) of the respondents were not, however, at all able to assess the rental housing provider’s responsibility and sustainability in their own words.

“This is understandable, as there is no established, all-encompassing way of assessing responsibility and sustainability. Rental housing providers report on their responsibility and sustainability in different ways, with different priorities and indicators, which makes assessments difficult. Ideas of responsibility and sustainability vary, and it may be difficult to form an understanding,” Kari González points out.

Renters’ responsibility and sustainability expectations are going to increase

Rental housing is a choice most commonly made based on financial situation, convenience, freedom, flexibility and location, with responsibility and sustainability not reported as the most important criteria when selecting the housing form. It is not entirely insignificant, however. For young respondents aged 18–24, responsibility and sustainability is proportionally more important compared with the entire target group: 14% of young respondents regard responsibility and sustainability as a reason for choosing rental housing.

The three most important criteria when choosing a rental housing provider were good value for money in housing and a rental housing provider that is easy to approach and has a good reputation. Issues relating to sustainability − sustainable construction, recycling opportunities and energy-related solutions − were, perhaps even somewhat surprisingly according to the respondents, among the top six selection criteria.

As many as 57% reported energy efficiency an important criterion when choosing a rental home.

“The survey shows that renters are − surely in part also due to the energy crisis − more aware of energy-related issues and want to reduce energy consumption with concrete measures. I believe that the significance of the rental housing provider’s sustainability will increase in the expectations of those renting a home, especially among the younger age groups. The heating form, use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and even the long lifecycle of the building may be genuine selection criteria for some renters in addition to good value for money, the location and a reliable rental housing provider,” Vaurasalo concludes.

The survey was conducted in co-operation with Nepa Insight Oy in November through an online panel that had 1,005 respondents who live in a rental home or are considering moving into a rental home within the next 12 months. The respondents were Finnish-speakers aged 18–74 from the Uusimaa, Tampere and Turku urban regions. The survey studied respondents’ expectations regarding the rental housing provider’s responsibility and sustainability and respondents’ own choices relating to sustainable everyday housing aspects.

For media enquiries please contact:

SATO Corporation
Elina Vaurasalo, EVP, Housing Business, phone +358 40 131 4010,
Susanna Kari González, Sustainability Manager,, phone +358 201 34 4194
Jenni Rantanen, Communications Manager,, phone +358 50 386 4381