We’re more conscious about our environment than we ever have been, and TV shows like Chernobyl help us to understand exactly how fragile our surroundings actually are. Whether you live in an affordable city like Minneapolis; or an expensive location like New York City, as individuals we all still need to know what we could do to help make our homes and apartments more eco-friendly.
Here are six great ideas to help you get started.
You may have struggled to save for a down payment (hint: you don’t always need one). With that, you definitely don’t need nor want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to put big-time panels on your roof to begin to utilize solar energy.
You can make your own personal dent in the grid by simply buying a portable solar panel unit. Some of these are made to sit on a windowsill, and they are able to provide enough electricity for a room. This will include enough power for a computer and room lighting, and while you will still have to pay the electric bill, your utility costs will be reduced.
Remember your parents’ house where a little circular thing on the wall controlled the heat and air conditioning? There was a little glass chamber in that thermostat that contained a blob of mercury and that mercury made an electrical connection that either turned your heat or AC on and off. A tightly wound spring expanded and contracted along with the room temperature and that moved the mercury blob in one direction or another.
Today, you can move well beyond this outdated system and get a smart thermostat that will pair with your mobile device and allow you not only to construct intricate heating and cooling settings, but control everything remotely.
First, get rid of those now old-fashioned fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs and switch to LEDs. LED lighting is affordable, and the units last much longer than conventional bulbs. In fact, some LED fixtures don’t even have anything in them that look like a “normal” light bulb, and these new units are made to last almost 40 years! When you have retooled your home with LEDs, pair them with a smart lighting app and you will be able to control hues, shades and light intensity from your phone or device.
We know you think it’s funny when you drive past an apartment where the sprinkler system is blasting away during a thunderstorm because someone forgot to adjust the sprinkler system settings, but if they would have installed a smart system, everything could have been controlled remotely—even from thousands of miles away.
Greywater—no matter how you spell it—is basically water you have used for washing yourself in a bath or shower, or water you have used to wash dishes. If you can save it—even manually—you can use it to water your plants and your lawn. That’s what you previously thought was wastewater, and now you can substitute it for the fresh water you are now using to irrigate your garden and lawn.
Finally, do try to recycle, even if your apartment management does not supply recycling containers. If that is the case, find out from your municipality where to bring recyclable materials.
Our point here is that going green need not be accomplished with a flourish and that small individual steps can definitely make a difference, so please do your part!