9 Tips for Sustainable Apartment Living
- Reduce Your Energy Use
There are numerous ways to reduce your home’s energy consumption, like making sure to shut down your computer, unplugging idle electronics, and turning off lights when they’re not in use. Speaking of lights, make sure you’re using LEDs, which are eco-friendly, energy-efficient, and have a longer lifespan.
- Conserve Water
Did you know the average American uses an average of 82 gallons of water a day at home? What’s more, nearly 1 in 10 people around the world lack access to clean water. Do your part to reduce water consumption by turning off the water when it’s not in use (this includes while washing hands), taking shorter showers, only running your dishwasher when its full, and reporting all water leaks to your Leasing Office. Conserving water protects our ecosystem and can also save you money on your energy bills!
- Use Green Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are necessary for maintaining attractive and healthy conditions - the removal of dust, allergens, and infectious agents is crucial to maintaining a healthy indoor environment. However, certain cleaning products may contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues. Making the switch to green cleaning products can help to reduce the human health and environmental concerns that come along with cleaning.
To identify greener cleaning products, consult the EPA’s Safer Choice program, which certifies products that contain safer ingredients for human health and the environment.
- Opt for Energy Efficient Appliances
While you may not have a say in the type of larger appliances used in your apartment home, swapping your smaller appliances for eco-friendly alternatives can make a huge difference in your energy bill and carbon footprint. Though they can cost more up front, energy efficient appliances will save you enough in utility costs that they’ll often pay for themselves in a short time.
- Shop Sustainable Furniture
Often made of cheap single-use materials derived from questionable working conditions, fast furniture is manufactured quickly and en masse to keep up with passing trends. That kind of consumption is having real ramifications on the planet. The EPA estimates that over 9 million tons of furniture is tossed in landfill each year. What’s more, as furniture decomposes, it can emit harmful gases like methane and carbon dioxide.
When furnishing your apartment home, first opt for secondhand pieces to help keep them out of landfills. If secondhand isn’t an option, opt for pieces made from sustainable materials and by brands that are doing their part to reduce their environmental impact.
When it comes to floor coverings, choose rugs made with natural materials like organic cotton, seagrass, jute, and wool.
- Control Temperature Naturally
Besides adding a touch of design and personality to your apartment, window treatments provide shade against the sun in the summer and trap heat during winter. When choosing window attachments, look for products certified with the Attachments Energy Rating Council (AERC) Energy Improvement rating for increased energy savings and added comfort.
Control the temperature in your home more naturally by opting for an open window vs air conditioning or adding or removing layers of clothing. And when it is time to turn on the thermostat, make sure to schedule your programmable thermostat for optimal energy savings.
- Reduce Your Overall Consumption
Recycling items you’re no longer using is a great way to reduce your footprint, but reducing your consumption in the first place has an even bigger impact.
Buying less isn’t about purchasing only sustainable brands or shopping secondhand. It’s about being thoughtful with what you buy, thinking about the future, and spending your hard-earned cash on things you’ll actually use.
- Opt for Zero-Waste Consumables
Single-use plastics are a glaring example of the problems with throwaway culture and reflect our tendency to prioritize convenience over durability and consideration of long-term impacts. Of the 300 million tons of plastic waste produced each year worldwide, half of that is for single-use items.
Zero waste alternatives can be found for nearly every single use plastic consumable – like toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent and more!
When it comes to living a low waste lifestyle, perfection isn’t the prime objective. Simply swapping out one or a few of your “normal” items for these zero waste products is a significant move.
- Compost Food Waste
Tossing food waste into a garbage bin might seem like no big deal, but food waste sent to landfills can seriously impact climate change. When food waste is trapped in a landfill without air, it releases methane, which is a potent gas that contributes significantly to global warming.
One way to avoid this is to compost your food waste. Composting is a process of naturally recycling organic materials like leaves and food scraps into decomposed matter that enriches the soil. Composting simply speeds up the process of decomposition by creating the ideal environment for microorganisms to feed on them.
You can add compost to your window boxes or mix it with potting soil for indoor plants.
Creating an eco-friendly apartment has immense benefits, from ridding your space of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, improving your health by avoiding products and materials that contain toxic chemicals, and saving energy by using lights and electrical appliances that are power efficient. Practice the tips mentioned above and create an eco-friendly apartment. Not only will you save money, but you will be doing your part in saving our planet.