Homeowners, whether they’ve purchased via contract for deed or with cold, hard cash, can become involved in many initiatives to go green, but as an apartment dweller, how can you do your part?
Even if you can’t just install systems as quickly as a homeowner would, there are things you can accomplish.
Greywater is basically wash water; it’s clean enough to water plants with, but obviously, you don’t want to drink it. If your landlord is unable or unwilling to install a greywater reclamation system in your apartment, just save the water yourself and use to water your indoor or patio plants. An Austin, Texas radio show host told a caller that saving the shower water was very important. When the caller asked, “Why go to all that trouble,” the host said, “Because water is precious.” Even if you don’t have a fancy greywater recycling system, you can capture shower water in a five-gallon plastic bucket.
Incandescent lights may still serve some purposes, but the world is going to LEDs, and many standard light bulbs can now be replaced with LEDs. You’ll save energy, and LEDs throw much less heat than old-school light bulbs. And, you can now purchase LED fixtures that will last for 30 to 40 years, and they do not contain a standard bulb—only the LED circuitry.
If you demand one thing from your landlord, it should be a smart thermostat.
Whether you live in an apartment in Eugene, Oregon, where rent prices are fairly stable, or a Toronto rental where prices are on the rise, with a smart thermostat, you can control your apartment’s temperature from your phone and really keep your utilities bill down. This is a great way to cut costs, even if you do nothing else.
Keep it at 15 degrees in the winter while you are away at work, and then warm it up just before you return. You can to this manually, or you can program your system to do this.
Another great smart app is one that will turn your lights—now hopefully LEDs—off and on according to a preset schedule. No more coming home to a dark house or wasting energy because you left all of the lights on as you left in a hurry for work.
This is eco-friendly 101, but if your apartment complex does not have a recycling dumpster, find a location that does. Think about all the time, effort and energy it takes to make a beautiful glass bottle; then you take a couple of swigs and throw it in the trash. You know there is a better way.
Ditch the Bottle
Bottled water is a great convenience, but sometimes you are only getting tap water from a different city. Read the label on the more inexpensive waters and you may see language that says, “bottled from a public source”. That may mean the tap! Investigate a good water filtering system that you can add to your kitchen faucet. Better ones need installation under the sink but may be worth the extra money.
Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean that you can’t go green. If your landlord won’t take the initiative, just do what you can. Reducing your carbon footprint isn’t a one-time thing—it’s a continuous commitment, and if you live in an apartment, you can still do your part.
Written by Sam Radbil