Wondering how to live greener in an apartment? Even when you might not have control over building-related decisions, there is still plenty you can do to green up your pad. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve rounded up our favorite ways to live your best life while also reducing your impact on the environment.
- Go with the Flow
Our planet will always have the same amount of water – it’s a replenishing resource. However, only 2.5% of this water is freshwater (the rest is salt water which takes enormous energy to convert, and even this is an emerging and expensive technology). As our populations grow, available freshwater is used up faster. At the same time, a warming planet means cities in dry climates are seeing their freshwater supplies dwindle. Add an aerator to your sinks and showers to reduce water usage with no reduction in pressure.
- Greening the Throne
Many old toilets use much more water than is really needed to flush waste – up to 7 gallons! With an average of five flushes a day per person, that’s a lot of clean, fresh water literally going down the toilet. Add a pint or quart jug to your toilet’s tank to reduce the amount of water used with each flush. And, if your household is on board, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow!”
- A Bright Idea
Less than 20% of America’s energy is produced from clean, renewable resources such as the sun or wind. Energy from fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) produce harmful air pollution. New lighting standards that went into effect in 2012 increased bulb efficiency by about 25%, but there are still a couple of options that use even less energy. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs cost a little bit more up front but are four times more efficient. LED bulbs use a whopping 75% less energy than incandescent and last 25% longer.
- Share the Road
Emissions standards today are better than they ever have been, but vehicles are still responsible for roughly a third of harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, anything we can do to reduce their use goes a long way. Did you know that electric cars are only sustainable if they are charged with electricity from renewable sources? Until the US produces a majority of its energy from renewable sources, swap driving alone for taking the train or bus, carpool or car sharing services. Even better, get your workout in and ride your bike!
- Your Dollar Counts
Finally, remember that what you choose to spend money on shows the market what consumers want. Choose products, services and even your apartment according to their impact on the environment and help be the change.