For many people, the idea of “going green” may cause you to think of tiny houses with little to almost no electricity, soaps and towels that you can’t find randomly on a trip to Wal-Mart, and smart thermostats. For others, it may conjure up thoughts of energy efficient vehicles or electric vehicles that need special chargers (think Tesla), solar panel roofing, recycling everything, and gadgets of the future.
Whatever ideas you have about green living, it is probably not as bad as you think. In fact, it could be quite useful for keeping the cost of living in your apartment low.
Whatever you think about green living, it is important to note that it often does require a little bit of a change from what you may have been doing before and/or from what you are used to doing now. Change, even in the simplest of things, is often thought of as being difficult. However, going green or at least implementing some green ideas in your daily living is actually quite simple.
If you are living in an apartment right now, you have taken the first step toward efficient and green living. Naturally, because houses are bigger, it takes more money, time, and resources to make a house run well. Smaller spaces are much easier to manage, take less time to clean and maintain, and are often more efficient in terms of eco-friendliness.
Most young people (including yours truly) and young couples choose to live in an apartment to begin with. And if your apartment is more like your special place, like mine is for me, you could possibly be living in your current apartment or perhaps a bigger apartment for a large part of your life.
If you would like to know how to make your apartment more eco-friendly by saving money and energy, here are some thoughts to consider.
My idea of energy efficiency is to turn off all the lights, keep the lights off most of the time, and unplug appliances when not in use. That is a pretty simplistic definition, but it covers the idea broadly. No matter where you live, it is important to save energy that is often used in heating and cooling as well as cooking, microwaving, oven cleaning, washing, drying, and dishwashing.
This can be done partly by replacing light bulbs with more compact bulbs that give less heat and use less energy when cooling. Another idea is to buy or have installed energy-efficient appliances and only run them when needed.
For example, an ENERGY STAR labeled washing machine can go a long way if you have seven outfits to wear in a week and only wash in two loads at the end or the beginning of each week as opposed to washing at the end of each day.
When not using appliances, be sure to unplug them. Constantly plugged in outlets use a good amount of energy that could instead be conserved. If you are the type of person who loves to keep everything plugged up even when you’re not using it, then consider getting a power strip to which you can plug everything and preserve energy.
Mind the bathroom
Most people use a lot of water, period. So, when it comes to the bathroom, there is no limit to the amount of water that can be used — the sink, the tub, the shower, and the Jacuzzi. To help limit water use and water waste, consider installing a low flow shower-head to reduce the amount of water that comes out of the shower.
Additionally, you can ask your landlord to install water-efficient faucets and toilets if you don’t already have such in your place. A retrofit dual-flush converter can be very useful and inexpensive to purchase and install.
Avoid buying bottled water. Drinking tap water from the sink or filtered water is quite easy to do, less expensive, and in no ways harmful to your body (providing there is no known warning for a contamination issue). Besides the fact that the costs add up when buying, bottled water takes a long time to decompose as well once it ends up in a landfill. If anything, buy a big reusable bottle and filter water through it with a pitcher.
There are a number of other ways you can go green in your apartment, some of which are mentioned above and some of which include using a ceiling fan, caulking or sealing cracks in the window, and even installing a programmable thermostat. Saving money and time as well as being eco-friendly is worth the minor changes.