Contrary to what Kermit the frog says, being green is much easier than it used to be. While, they are not yet as universal as the hybrid car among the ecologically minded, “green” apartment buildings have begun to gain in popularity and some newer buildings are even being designed to meet the new standards for energy efficiency and for the use of environmentally friendly materials. Even if you don’t live in a “green” building, you can still learn to make adjustments to your own apartment and be more ecologically responsible.
Choosing paper instead of plastic grocery bags, recycling cans and newspaper and buying locally or organically grown food are certainly important ways to live a “green” lifestyle but the broader definition of green living is any action or activity that results in a positive impact on the environment. Because the goal of green living is to preserve and improve the health of the planet, if you know live a little greener, you can eliminate habits that are destructive.
Sustainable and Renewable
Sustainability refers to the practice of using resources in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. This is a practice commonly heard in respect to the energy needed to light your home or drive your car. There are finite amounts of oil resources on the planet which is a major source for energy production, therefore, it is not sustainable as a resource because once it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s very important to be conscious of the amounts of this resource we use so that it doesn’t disappear entirely leaving future generations without its benefits. On the other hand, a renewable resource is one that can be created again. Energy obtained from the sun and the wind though solar and wind powers are renewable sources of energy because they aren’t likely to run out.
Because of this, energy saving is a key factor to learning how to maintain a green apartment. Most green apartment buildings use at least 35 percent less energy than typical buildings; some have photovoltaic cells to generate electricity used in the lobbies and hallways and newer buildings have turbines powered by natural gas to generate electricity. But, even if you don’t live in a building with these green energy sources, you can use less energy by turning off lights and electric devices when you are not using them and by changing your appliances and light bulbs to more energy efficient ones. Plants and soil on the roof of a building provide insulation and reduce water runoff so green buildings frequently have roofs covered in soil and vegetation. As an added benefit, by adding tables and chairs and chaise lounges, tenants can enjoy the rooftop garden in warmer months. Therefore, a great way you can make your apartment greener is to put potted plants on the roof of your building or on your balcony or patio to help insulate and reduce runoff. And, if your neighbors follow suit, it can benefit all of you.
While people may not always be able to tell the difference between a green apartment and one that is not, they still like the idea of living in a building that treads a little more lightly on the planet so making a few simple changes in your lifestyle can help everyone learn how to maintain a green lifestyle and, in the process, help the environment and the planet.