Living Green in an Apartment

There are many things residents can do who live in an apartments to be green and help the environment.

The one thing that makes renting better than home ownership is that it is easier to live close to your job. The closer you live to work, the less pollution is generated getting to and from your job. And with shorter commutes you get more time to be with your friends and family. Try to find an apartment that is located near transit stations (bus, train, light-rail, airport). You can also look for apartment that provide eco-friendly resources like extra recycling bins, native plant gardens, uses low VOC paint, is smoke-free, and other resources. Look for an apartment that is near local shops so you can walk to the store to get groceries, food, and other common items.

The most obvious things renters can do is to reduce, re-use and recycle. If your building does not have a recycling program, look into starting one or find the nearest recycling drop center. Get to know your neighbors so if you have items you no longer need you can see if they would want it. You can also do simple things like

  • utilizing reusable bags,
  • buying and using eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products,
  • remove yourself from junk mail lists
  • put recycling containers by your mail box
  • use Fen Shui in your apartment
  • start a building club so everyone can get to know each other

There are also many things you can do to impact your energy bill, including:

  • If you're not using a light, turn it off as you leave the room. Plus, try using energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs that help reduce your electric bill and provide light many times longer.
  • When using air conditioners in the summer, be sure to only keep the unit on when you're home or when absolutely necessary.
  • Another great way to lower your electric bill and save energy is to unplug your electrical appliances when you're not using them. Or, plug your appliances into a power strip and the turn the power strip off when the appliances aren't in use!
  • Refrigerators do use a lot of electricity. Be sure not to set the temperature in your refrigerator too cold.

Can you compost in your apartment? Yes, make a worm compost bin. You can even work with the owner and landlord of the building to install low flow water devices. Another important thing is to let your landlord know when there are water leaks, or if your apartment is too hot. They can then fix these items, helping our environment by not wasting its resources.