How to be green in your apartment:
Everything has gone green these days and I’m hoping that this trend continues as we evolve toward environmentally conscious lifestyles. The great news about going “green” is that it’s so easy to make a few small changes to your personal habits that will have a huge impact on the environment. Apartment living is already a naturally green lifestyle; sharing space and common resources leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than if every person had their own single-family home. Apartment management companies have also made great strides in providing energy-efficient and earth-friendly communities. A great example of this is Princeton Properties’ new website dedicated to demonstrating how much electricity is actually being saved with their solar panels (check it out at http://princetonproperties.powerdash.com/home/). When I thought about making my apartment “greener,” I started with the obvious things like recycling and switching to energy-efficient bulbs. After a quick Google search, I turned up thousands of ways to go green.
Here are just a few simple ways to make your apartment a greener one:
Save Money & Energy:
Interesting Fact: Standby power in the average household consumes 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That’s enough energy to power an entire apartment for more than two months!
• Unplug the hidden energy eaters in your apartment: Look at TVs, VCRs, DVD players, cable TV boxes, computers and printers, microwave ovens, cell phone chargers, digital cameras, and anything else that is plugged in. Most electronic equipment, including anything that uses a remote control, is designed to consume energy when it is turned off; that “off” setting is actually a “standby” mode. Unplug everything that you can while it is not being used.
• Swap out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs. CFs use about 66% less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
• Turn down your thermostat by two degrees in the winter and up two degrees in the summer. You’ll save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide this year!
• Use cold-water washing, which saves 80% on laundry energy.
• Only run full loads in the dishwasher and the laundry machine. You use the same amount of energy to power these machines if you have a 1/2 load or a full one- so wait a couple of days to make sure you have a full load.
• Be careful not to leave the water running when you brush your teeth or wash the dishes.
• Scrape – don’t rinse! When using a dishwasher, pre-rinsing is no longer necessary with today’s technology and detergents. You may be using more water to pre-rinse than the dishwasher uses for a full wash cycle.
• Use less and Recycle more: Fun Fact: Recycling just one aluminum can saves the amount of energy required to run a TV for three hours!
• Seek out your apartment community’s recycling facilities. Even if they aren’t within the apartment community, there will be facilities nearby.
• When you go out for coffee, bring a reusable, insulated mug.
• Many computers, monitors, cell phones and other electronics include toxic materials that should not sit in landfills. There are a ton of companies that will take these items off of your hands. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency (link: http://www.epa.gov/) to find local electronics recyclers.
• Stop getting junk mail – 100 million trees’ worth are sent out each year. Visit http://www.dmachoice.org/MPS/ to opt out of the Direct Marketing Association’s member mailings.