7 Tips to Improve your Rental if you’re aiming for ‘Green Apartment Living’
By Lilly Miller
When you aren’t a property owner and live in a rented apartment, what you can change in it is often limited by the contract you sign with the landlord.
This can prove to be a bit tricky, especially if you consider that the place isn’t as sustainable as you’d like it to be, and the landlord doesn’t really care about that. However, you should know that there are always some actions you can take and some slight adjustments you can make to boost the eco-friendliness of your apartment rental.
In case you lack ideas on how to achieve this, here are some excellent ones to put you on the right track.
7 Best Ways to Practice Green Apartment Living
Upgrade Your Bulbs
One of the simplest things you can do is remove the old-school lightbulbs and replace them with some energy-efficient ones.
This is something you can do as soon as you move in. Just take a look around and if the lightbulbs in your rented apartment are incandescent or halogen ones, remove them and invest in some high-efficiency LED bulbs, that won’t require nearly as much energy to brighten your place up.
Although LED bulbs may seem somewhat expensive, this is actually a low-cost way to lower your home’s carbon footprint, as they’ll decrease your electricity bills significantly. Plus, if at any point you decide to move out, you can take your LEDs with you to your next home.
Lower Your Energy Usage Further
Lightbulbs aren’t the only measure you can take for scaling down your energy consumption.
In fact, adopting some good habits can be of great help here. One of them is to turn your lights off when you leave the room and not to turn them on at all unless you really need to. Similarly, if you aren’t watching your TV at the moment, or you’ve stopped using your laptop, switch them off without delay, being that the standby functions on your devices also consume some energy.
Another thing you may not have known is that leaving your phone charger plugged in also squanders energy, which you can avoid by simply unplugging the charger once your phone battery is fully charged. And if you want fairy lights for your balcony, only get the solar-powered ones.
They’ll look just as amazing, without the energy waste.
Choose Your Apartment Wisely
Being ecologically conscious isn’t a matter of fashion or status, it’s something we all have to take seriously so that we have a healthy planet to live on. Therefore, if you truly want your rented apartment to be an eco-friendly one, keep that in mind when choosing it in the first place.
For example, if you opt for an apartment that’s near your work, perhaps you’ll be able to ride your bike to your office, instead of driving. And even if you have to drive, a shorter drive is better than a long one. Similarly, some apartments come with phenomenal amenities, such as dishwashers, which can reduce water and energy waste.
This type of thinking is especially important in those states where ecology isn’t really a priority for people yet. For instance, Texas barely made it into top 40 of the American states when it comes to being green. That’s why it’s important to find the best possible apartments for rent in Odessa, San Antonio, Livingstone or any other city in Texas and contribute to protecting the environment.
When picking an apartment, make sure you have access to public transportation or that you have ceiling fans so that you don’t have to turn on the air conditioning too often.
Another way to make your home environmentally friendly is to cut down on water usage.
There are several ways to do this, without any real plumbing work actually involved. First of all, there are some top-rated low-flow shower heads on the market, that anybody can install, which will allow you to take a shower without worrying about the amount of water that goes down the drain unnecessarily.
Of course, these don’t actually reduce the water pressure to the point that you can’t even take a proper shower, but they will make the best of the water that runs through them, making your water bill smaller and benefiting the world’s water supplies. Still, if you want to do more for Mother Nature, you should know that dual-flush toilets also save plenty of water with every flush.
While the apartment you rented may be equipped with a regular toilet, which isn’t something you can change, you can purchase a dual-flush converter kit for a reasonable price and do your duty to the environment and your wallet, being that these will lessen your bills as well.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
Some everyday tasks you perform can either promote a healthy environment and your good well-being or harm them. This is why you should approach such chores as cleaning your home mindfully.
No matter who owns the apartment you live in, it’s important that you use sustainable cleaning products. The standard, commercial cleaning products create waste, pollute water and air, and are a serious health hazard.
If you go green with your cleaning products, you’ll still be able to clean your home well, but with far less air pollution and without the negative impact on the well-being of anybody that comes into your home, especially yourself and your family. These usually come in biodegradable or recyclable packaging and their level of toxicity is minimal. Plus, such products tend to be produced with decreased energy usage, which is another way to minimize their footprint.
The best thing is that you can make your own cleaning products from various natural ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon, or even cornstarch, so that you know for sure precisely what you’re using for maintaining the cleanliness of your home.
Air-dry Your Laundry
Doing your laundry may seem easier if you simply load the dryer after you’ve done the washing, but if you want to be eco-friendlier, you should switch to air-drying your laundry whenever the circumstances allow it.
Investing in a drying rack could be an ideal solution, especially if you have an outdoor space, such as a secluded balcony, where you can use it. They can even be used indoors from time to time, but this is also something you may want to avoid, as that might increase the humidity in your home.
In addition, most of them are foldable, so they don’t require too much storage space when they aren’t in use. If you have to use your electrical dryer, it would be ideal if it were an energy-efficient one. In any case, after loading it and turning it on, check for the dryness of your laundry regularly, so that you can take it out of the dryer as soon as possible.
The automatic programs often take unnecessarily long to finish, wasting energy in the process. Plus, for higher efficiency, don’t forget to clean the lint trap and check if the dryer vent doesn’t get blocked.
Insulate Your Home
Inadequate insulation can be harmful to the environment since cooling or heating your home will take longer and require more electric energy.
Although living in a rented apartment means that you can’t just go and start replacing the old, drafty windows with new ones, there are still some things you can do to lower your energy bill and stay green.
For instance, hanging curtains on your windows can help retain heat during the winter months and block some of the draft. Furthermore, there are some other low-cost solutions you can rely on, such as indoor window insulation kits or a weighed under-door draft stopper that you can get online for next to nothing. Finally, you can get a large area rug, since rugs can deflect the heat that your floors would otherwise absorb. Once you decide to move, you can take your rug with you and use it again somewhere else.
It truly doesn’t matter who owns the apartment you live in. With some environmental awareness and good will, you can do your share in preserving nature, starting with your own home. With these phenomenal tips, you’ll find that doing so isn’t complicated at all.
About the author: Lilly Miller is a freelance writer, who focuses on interior design, well-being and sustainable living. She loves to experiment on daring new home decor trends and write about it as a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator. Settled in Sydney for the time being, Lilly shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney. You can find her hanging out on Twitter.