As the New Year kicks into full swing, it’s time to take stock of old habits and often resolve to start anew–fresher, brighter, and more productive than before. Giving back to the environment is an admirable New Year’s Resolution, if not daily pastime, that’s never too late to start. While renting an apartment may not allow for wholesale changes, like installing solar panels, there are still small, powerful steps that you can take to help lighten your footprint on the environment.
Below, we go over three tips to help you go green in 2016. While these may seem insignificant, building these habits can help save massive amounts of energy, bringing down both your bill and your environmental impact!
Audit the Outlets: Stop the Power
When electronic devices are plugged in, the electricity goes through the plug to the device whether it’s off or on. If the device is off, it technically registers in electrical terms as if it’s on standby. Some of these silent energy consumers include TVs, DVD players, cable TV boxes, computers, printers, video game consoles, microwaves, and phone chargers, and they all consume electricity when they’re not in use. The standby power that each of these devices uses could potentially add up to 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year–an amount that can power an entire home for two months or more!
Try taking steps to ensure that electronics that aren’t in use are unplugged. While this may not be necessary for every device in your home (we’re not asking you to unplug your TV after every show!) it may make small changes that can incrementally help you save more energy. Audit the outlets in your apartment and see what can be unplugged. Perhaps there’s a flat iron or hair dryer waiting for you each morning, a coffee grinder that’s infrequently used, or a phone charger that waits for you each night that can help your unit save on its power usage.
Set Timers on Thermostats
Many thermostats give you the option to set timers and automate the temperature control. Take advantage of using your thermostat’s timer to ensure that you’re making small adjustments that can have a massive pay off. Turning your heat down by only two degrees or putting the temperature up by two degrees in the summer can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions! Smart thermostats are increasingly popular for their design and ease of use, but can also be operated and set using your mobile device in case you forget to turn off the heat!
In addition to thermostats, look into getting curtains for large windows. By keeping the sun away using curtains or cloth, it can help apartments stay cool in the summer and reduce the loss of heat in your apartment in the winter without draining extra energy.
Ditch Disposable Water Bottles
Without a doubt, one of the single most common items in landfills around the world is the plastic water bottle. A ubiquitous, casual sin, the plastic water bottle can often be a pathway to excess waste. Instead, use a filtered water faucet or a water filter pitcher in your refrigerator in order to avoid using disposable plastics. Get a couple of heavy-duty plastic or stainless steel water bottles for use on the go. While it may seem insignificant, this is a can result in huge benefits for the environment, as disposable plastics fall further and further out of your daily routine in favor of reusable glasses or water bottles.
In addition to reducing on disposable plastics, ensure that you are aware of and using your apartment community’s recycling program. If one is not in place yet, take the initiative to speak to the property manager, and get started on reducing the waste throughout your community.
These small changes can have big pay-off for the environment. Work on building these habits, and you can rest assured that you’re making a difference in your environmental footprint. For more energy-saving ideas, download our Green Living Guide or contact us today!