We hear all the time about construction or design choices homeowners can make to go green and be more environmentally conscious. These are usually big-ticket items — like efficient windows, certain types of floors, solar panels, etc.
While apartment dwellers may not have any control over those aspects, they do have plenty of options in terms of being more energy efficient and eco-friendly. What’s best? Most of these ideas are really simple to carry out.
Here are five easy ways to go green while living in an apartment:
Install a low-flow shower head
One structural change you can make in your apartment is to replace the showerhead. You have several options when it comes to low-flow showerheads that will help reduce the amount of wasted water. The Department of Energy recommends you do something called the “bucket test” to see if you need a new showerhead.
First, get a bucket that is marked in gallon increments and place it under your showerhead. Then turn on the water at the level you normally use during your showers. Keep note of how many seconds it takes for the bucket to fill to the 1-gallon mark. If it takes 20 seconds or less to reach one gallon, you could benefit from a new efficient showerhead.
Switch to LED lights
Switching out your lightbulbs can also make a big difference in your apartment’s energy efficiency. Consider Energy Star-rated LED lights, which use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
Energy Star estimates we could, together, save $30 billion in energy costs if there was mainstream acceptance of LED lights by 2027.
Kill energy vampires
Speaking of energy savings, it’s time to get rid of those energy vampires in your apartment. These are appliances that continue to suck energy, even when they’re not in use. We’re talking about things like your coffee maker, phone charger, DVR and TV.
You have a couple of options here. If you don’t frequently use a particular item, unplug it after each use. (A TV in a second bedroom is the perfect example here.) If you do use the appliances every day, make sure they’re plugged into a power strip. That makes turning everything on and off as easy as flipping a switch.
Ditch plastic bags
Those plastic grocery bags cause considerable harm to our environment. Not only do we commonly see them floating around as litter on the roads and highways, many of the bags eventually make their way to the water.
Experts say 80 percent of marine litter is that bag you get for one item you only use for a few minutes when walking to and from the car.
Switch to reusable bags! Not only are they more durable and won’t clutter up your apartment like plastic bags, but many stores will give you a small discount when you bring your own totes.
Recycle everything possible
More and more apartment communities are providing resources so residents can recycle. This is great! Even if you live in a community that doesn’t have recycling bins, you can still take part.
Just collect all those cans, paper and everything else you used to thrown away, and take it to a recycling canter. Sure, it’s a little more work, but it’s worth it in the end. You can also declutter and recycle things you no longer need every time you sign a new lease.
What do you do to conserve energy or live eco-friendly? Tell us in the comments section below.