Apartment Living: Where the Grass is Greener
Apartment living really is greener! I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” When you compare apartment living with a single family home lifestyle, which would you think is greener? By “green” we mean an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Something not commonly known is that an apartment lifestyle actually tends to be a greener lifestyle when compared to a single family home lifestyle. Consider the following statistics from Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario (FRPO):
- Apartments use 65% less energy than single family homes
- Renters consume half the energy of homeowners
- Single family dwellings use 67 percent more water than apartments
- Apartment owners and renters have shorter commutes
- Apartment owners and renters use greener transportation
Vince Brescia, President and CEO of FRPO says, “Choosing apartment living has significant – and positive – implications for energy efficiency, water conservation and sustainable public transit. As it turns out, our choice where to live matters”.
Sometimes what we think is green is not so green and careful research and thought is required. An example is the issue with CFL light bulbs. CFL light bulbs are hailed as saving energy costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and lasting longer. But the cost of a CFL bulb can be several times that of a standard incandescent bulb. Also, a MythBusters episode conducted an experiment where CFLs burned out at just 5.1% of their listed lifespan. So not only does a choice where to live matter but how you choose to live – which green choices you make – matters just as much.
Helpful Tips, Stats, and Resources
What follows are some very helpful tips, statistics, and resources to help you make those wise choices in your green, apartment living lifestyle.
Green Apartment Living Tips
- Put in a programmable thermostat.
- OR – Consider dressing warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer to avoid changing the thermostat constantly
- Use caulk or weather stripping around doors and windows.
- Use your window coverings to regulate temperature.
- Hang blackout curtains. (helps with insulation)
- Open windows and use fans, as weather permits, to increase airflow.
- Get an air purifier.
- Use power strips, especially for your computers — and turn them off when they’re not in use
- Seal over volatile organic compounds (VOCs)-containing paint.
- Install dimmers or sensors on light switches.
- Switch to LED bulbs.
- Install a dual-flush converter for your toilet.
- OR – Make a DIY water displacer for your toilet (a liter bottle filled with water inside the tank.)
- Switch to a low-flow showerhead.
- Make some space for recycling.
- Ask your landlord to lower the water heating temperature
- Lower your Kitchen’s carbon footprint by shopping for locally grown foods – this is healthier also. Buy organic, fair-trade food when possible. Shop at farmers’ markets and local suppliers.
- Use energy efficient appliances if you have the option.
Don’t get too obsessive with trying to make everything green. Do all in moderation! Try implementing improvements and changes one step at a time to increase the likelihood that you will actually follow through, be consistent, and make it a lifestyle change – not a fad.
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