A Chinese proverb says, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the next best time is now. In the same way, we could say that the best time to save the planet was eons ago, but the next best opportunity is now. The scale or location does not matter. What matters is that you contribute; your bit counts.
These quick tips for eco-friendly apartment living (yes, even if you are in a rental!) will go a long way in tightening up your energy and water usage.
- Improve Energy Efficiency
- Conserve Water
- Reuse, Repair, and Recycle
- Lastly, Adopt New Habits and Influence Others
Since most of what we read and hear about eco-living are big moves (like installing solar systems), you may wonder how to be eco-friendly when living in a rental. We’ve checked with the experts and prepared seven practical steps to make a rental property more environmentally friendly.
Improve Energy Efficiency
One of the most significant ways homes contribute to environmental degradation and leave a carbon footprint is through energy consumption. According to the Energy Information Administration, the average American household consumes about 900KWh of electric energy every month. This is the approximate equivalent of 28 gallons of gasoline and is one of the highest in the world.
Energy consumption has a direct impact on the environment because only 12% of energy household energy supply in the US is renewable. You can make a difference in your rental property by taking up the following steps:
1 / Install energy-efficient equipment
If you own the property and rent it out, consider replacing old guzzlers with sleek, new energy-efficient equipment. Items like washing machines, heaters, and refrigerators consume more than 20% of household energy demands. However, replacing such with recent and more energy-efficient upgrades would cut your energy consumption by 50%. For example, you could save on apartment electric bills by replacing old machines with star-rated equipment.
2 / Replace old bulbs with LED lighting
If you don’t own the apartment, and equipment replacement is a tall order on your wallet, consider taking quick but effective steps. Replace all your old bulbs with LED lights. They last longer, cost a lot less (considering lifespan), and are trendy. You can replace the entire home’s lighting or go in stages. Whatever approach you use, you will reduce energy consumption significantly.
3 / Beware of “vampire power”
Each year, American households lose about $ 3 billion or 10% of power usage to idle equipment and appliances. Vampire power refers to the energy consumed by equipment plugged in but not in use – they are on standby. Research shows that it accounts for 10% of residential power usage.
How do you cut the fangs on vampire power? Simply unplug your appliances when not in use.
4 / Let the sunshine in
During the day, open the blinds (or curtains) and let natural sunshine light up and warm your home. It is great for aesthetics and perfect for your health. But most importantly, it takes away the need to switch on lights during the day, thus helping you live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.
Second to energy is water. Several pundits have opined that the next world war could be over fresh water reserves (not oil). This shows how precious this commodity is. You can help to conserve water in your rental property by doing the following:
1 / Turn off the faucets and report/fix leakages
As simple as it may sound, unattended open faucets and broken pipes account for the most significant water wastage. Simple moves like turning off the tap when brushing teeth, and reporting leakages can save large volumes of water.
2 / Take showers, use a dishwasher, and scrape your plate
These moves help us to significantly reduce water consumption compared to traditional practices like taking a bath in a tub, cleaning utensils by hand, and rinsing a plate with food crumbs.
Reuse, Repair, and Recycle
One of the best ways to reduce the production of plastics and the destruction of natural resources like forests for timber is by reusing and recycling. Consider furnishing your property with pre-used furniture. If new furniture is a large project, think likewise for fashion and other consumables. By simply opting to repair, re-use or recycle, you can significantly reduce waste generation, cut down on landfills, and limit deforestation.
Lastly, Adopt New Habits and Influence Others
To practice the above, one must have the correct values, beliefs, and attitude. Revamping your attitude is the first and most crucial step towards becoming eco-conscious. By reading this piece, you have already taken this step. You can only grow in awareness of what more you can do besides the steps above.
A new perspective will inspire you to be contagious and educate or inform others. For example, you could post notices reminding people to turn lights or taps off. You will be helping the entire community be more environmentally friendly.
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