When some people think of going green, they think of replacing all their appliances, re-insulating their homes, and basically remodeling everything to be greener. For others, this is neither affordable nor realistic. Luckily, for the people who choose to go green in a simpler fashion, there are easy steps to take that won’t give your Landlord a headache, or make you lose your security deposit.
No More Plastic Bottles
Image via Flickr _sarchi
Eliminating plastic waste from your life is an easy step to both save you time and money, and preserve the environment. You no longer have to take trips to the grocery store just for cases of bottled water, which saves you time and money. Investing in a water filter is the best way to rid your life of plastic bottles. Having a few reusable water bottles to take with you for hot days or to the gym can replace all that plastic. Even if you recycle, eliminating waste is better than just recycling it. This concept applies to other disposable food and drinking products. The less you throw away (or even have to recycle), the less natural resources are being used to create those disposable products.
Even when appliances are turned off, if they’re still plugged into an electrical outlet, then they’re using energy. Many energy thieves include the stealthy cellphone charger, the sneaky coffee maker, the greedy television, and the insatiable gaming system. These appliances suck energy even when they are turned off, letting your energy bill skyrocket without you even realizing it. Try unplugging these items, or plugging them into a power surge protector that you can turn off when none of your appliances are in use. This habit could save you up to 40 percent of your energy bill.
Save on Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling systems suck up a lot of energy. Only change your thermostat by a few degrees, because it helps save you energy and money. During the winter, keep your thermostat at a moderate temperature, and try to find other ways of heating your room like lighting a fire if your apartment has a fireplace. During the summer, if it’s not too hot outside, crack some windows to let air flow. By not setting your thermostat to extreme temperatures, you’re helping save energy.
Use Your Machines Wisely
Even though dishwashers and laundry machines use a lot of energy, you don’t have to stop using them. Just be more aware of how you’re using these machines by only turning them on when your dishwasher is full, or when you have a full load of laundry. Also, only wash dishes through the dishwasher if they’re too dirty to clean by hand, or if they had raw meat or other bacteria-ridden food on them. These dishes need the heat your dishwasher creates to kill all the bacteria on them.
When you’re washing your clothes, be mindful of the heat-level of your water, the spin speed, and other energy-wasting characteristics. Often, washing clothes on a cold water cycle will get them just as clean, and keep their vibrant colors intact, while saving you up to 80 percent on laundry energy. Air dry what you can, and use your dryer only when completely necessary.
Embrace Your Green Thumb
Plants produce oxygen, filter carbon dioxide out of the room, and create a peaceful atmosphere in your home. Planting more flowers and trees around your apartment, and out on your balcony reduces the need for electric air cleaning devices, and helps you breathe fresh air more naturally. You can even grow fruits and vegetables from hanging planters, so you’re eating sustainably as well. Apartments in California can be the perfect setting for growing green vegetation year-round.
Shade Your Rooms
Covering your windows with drapes or shades cools your rooms. By shading your windows, your air-conditioning won’t have to work as hard to cool your living room or bedroom. Not only do shades help cool a room, but they also help keep heat during the colder months, so you use less energy trying to heat your apartment. Certain shades are specifically for regulating heat, so invest in them to reap the benefits of a comfortable room and a lower energy bill.
There are many ways to simplify your life while doing good for the environment. Conveniently enough, saving the environment also saves you money. Integrate these tips into your daily habits so you start seeing your wallet grow, and you can feel better about living sustainably. Your landlord will be happy you didn’t go to any extremes as well. What’s the hardest part of going green for you?