Renters who want to go green usually have to work around their apartment’s limitations. These 10 green-friendly lifestyle changes will help you save money without an initial investment that’ll break your bank.
1. Find a walkable, transit-friendly apartment
If you have an apartment anywhere in New York City, you won’t have this problem, but for everyone else, take your apartment’s location into consideration before you sign your lease.
By finding a complex close to shops, restaurants and public transportation, you’ll save money in fuel and you’ll live a healthier, longer life.
2. Weatherstrip your doors and windows
Take a good look at your doors and windows – look for gaps that let the elements in. Even the slimmest of spaces are altering the temperature in your apartment and letting in potentially noxious fumes. Lowes has weatherstripping options that start at $4 and don’t even require screws.
3. Get rid of your light bulbs and switch to LEDs or CFLs
According to Energy.com, 90 percent of an incandescent light bulb’s energy is given off as heat and only 10 percent of its energy used results in light. In terms of savings, a single LED bulb used for 5 hours a day for two years will cost you approximately $12, whereas an incandescent bulb used for the same time frame will cost around $32.
4. Use power strips to reduce vampire electricity
You know all those chargers around your apartment that you leave plugged in all day? They’re sucking energy even when they’re not in use – they call it vampire electricity. Instead, get a power strip with an on/off switch and surge protection. Amazon has an inexpensive two-pack for less than $10.
5. Install a low-flow shower head
Low-flow shower heads sound dicey, we know. First generation low-flow units had poor water pressure and left a lot to be desired, but manufacturers are responding to the green demand by offering spa-quality hardware for next to nothing.
Home Depot offers a chrome Niagara Conversion shower head for $15! Just remember to save the old unit you’re switching out just in case you have to reinstall it when you move.
6. Attach a water filter system to your kitchen faucet
Bottled water isn’t cheap and can add up depending on how much you drink, not to mention how bad plastic water bottles are for the environment. Save loads of money on your drinkable water with a Brita “On Tap” water filtration system. Then take your water to-go and eliminate toxic plastic bottles forever by opting for a reusable, eco-friendly bottle – Kor Water has some beautiful options.
7. Dry your clothes on a folding drying rack
Clothes dryers aren’t cheap to buy and they aren’t cheap to use – they draw a lot of energy. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, you’ll spend more than $100 annually to run a clothes dryer.
Eliminate that bill with a drying rack – Target has racks that start at $15. They fold away for easy storage and by avoiding a rough-and-tumble dryer, your clothes will last longer.
8. Hang blackout drapes over your windows
There was a time when Venetian blinds were the high standard when it came to window treatments. The problem is, these blinds are completely inefficient and account for 25 to 30 percent of your apartment’s heating and cooling energy use.
You can leave your Venetian blinds in, but hang blackout curtains over them. They seal in cool air during the summer and preserve heat during winters. Wontex has designer blackout drapes – they’re insulated, simple to install and start at $26 per pair.
9. Stop using paper towels
Paper towels are a complete waste of resources. According to Better Planet Paper, 544,000 trees could be saved annually if each U.S. household used just one less roll every year. Instead, use dishcloths and sponges for clean ups.
10. Mix your own cleaning products
Avoid synthetic cleaning products like the plague. Besides being highly toxic, they’re expensive. You can find non-toxic cleaning supplies, but to be honest, they’re just as pricey. Instead, make your own.
Care2 shows you how to make your own eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning kit with a tile scrub that eliminates mold, a streak-less window cleaner, an oven cleaner, furniture polish and several other common cleaning agents – all effective, all affordable and all green.