Greening an apartment is a fun and easy project. Since you don’t have much space, you can create a very environmentally friendly space without much effort and without spending a bundle. Plus, going green will help you save money so there’s no reason to not do it. Here are some tips to help you get started!
Apartments are already a more environmentally friendly living situation than most others. They are small and therefore don’t take as much energy to heat up or cool down. However, you can make your apartment extra easy on the environment by using fans instead of the A/C on those hot summer days. Open windows in multiple rooms and use a fan to create cross breezes that will keep you cool. Then on those insufferable days you can let the A/C blow without the eco-guilt. For those colder times, use space heaters to heat only the area you’re in instead of heating up the entire apartment.
Since you usually don’t pay your own utility bills in an apartment, it can be easy to let your eco-friendly ways subside but it takes little effort to keep your carbon footprint lower. Be vigilant about your energy use and watch your water consumption. When you’re doing dishes, only use a dishwasher if you have a completely full load. When you’re brushing your teeth, turn the water off when you’re not using it. Take quick showers and for longer ones, turn the water off while you’re soaping up and shaving. Then turn the water on to rinse.
Though many apartments will come with a lot of amenities and décor already included, if you get to outfit your apartment, do it with a green eye. If you want wooden blinds, look for ones made from bamboo. They’re chic, attractive and bamboo is easily renewable and doesn’t require those dangerous pesticides and fertilizers to grow quickly so they’re safer. Other good materials to look for are reeds, grasses, and palms. Look for rugs, drapes, blankets, and throw pillows in organic cotton or recycled materials.
When shopping for furniture, shop local. If you can find products made locally, great. Another way to reduce the carbon footprint of your furniture is buying secondhand good from a thrift store, garage sale, or from Craigslist. You can give used pieces a new life and you’ll save enough money that you will be able to afford to refinish or repaint your pieces and create something completely unique for your space.
Replace all the light bulbs in the apartment with eco-friendly varieties. CFLs and fluorescent bulbs are easy and affordable. And they’ll use less energy as well which will help lower that electric bill if you do pay it and they last a really long time so you won’t be replacing them very often.
Clean yourself and your apartment using eco-friendly products to keep your air quality safer and to reduce the chemicals you send through our water system. The smell of clean doesn’t mean the smell of bleach. Using natural products can save you money, too. A simple concoction of vinegar and water does wonders and won’t leave the fake chemical smell of “lemon” behind. Living eco-consciously in an apartment complex might feel pointless when you look around at your Upper West Side NYC neighbors who aren’t paying any attention to their consumption and since you may not pay your bills. Set the precedent for others to follow. And never forget, one person can always make a difference.
Living eco-consciously in an apartment complex might feel pointless when you look around at your Upper West Side NYC neighbors who aren’t paying any attention to their consumption and since you may not pay your bills. Set the precedent for others to follow. And never forget, one person can always make a difference.