We tend to think of people who live in ecologically friendly spaces as home dwellers, people who plant gardens, install solar panels in their roofs and replace old windows with energy-saving ones. But you don’t have to be a homeowner to have an eco-friendly environment. Going green can also involve making little changes in your rental apartment that will have major impact on the planet.
Property management company CLV Group promotes green living among its residents at Stoney Creek Towers in Hamilton, Ontario. For example, apartments are outfitted with lighting that’s energy-efficient and appliances that don’t waste electricity. They also offer balconies that are perfect for accommodating small gardens. Plus, they’re located near a park, so there’s plenty of green space in the neighborhood.
Even though you don’t technically own your apartment, there are still ways that you can make changes to live greener.
Here are five suggestions from CLV Group on how you can turn your rental into an environmentally friendly living space.
Change your light bulbs.
Light up and save! Low-energy light bulbs are all the rage right now. Energy efficient light bulbs cost a little more than traditional incandescent bulbs, but because they use less energy, they last longer. In fact, Consumer Reports estimates that LED light bulbs can last up to five times longer than other bulbs. In addition to LEDs, there are also halogen incandescent, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Check with your local power company as some electricity suppliers offer a limited number of free LED bulbs to their customers.
Paint your walls green.
This doesn’t mean using the color green, but do buy paints that are safe if you’re planning to add a fresh coat. What many people don’t realize is that some house paints contain Volatile Organic Compounds, also known as VOCs, contain carbon and release harmful, volatile compounds into the air. You’ll know you have VOCs in your paint when you smell it. The problem is that VOCs can enter your lungs, then your bloodstream, leading to long-term health issues. By using VOC-free or “low-VOC paints, you’ll be brushing or rolling colors that create a much safer environment. Low-VOC paints are now available from the major paint companies and they come in a variety of colors. Ask your retailer to be certain.
What apartment wouldn’t benefit from a collection of environmentally friendly plants that look good while supporting healthy living? The good news is that you can take your green thumb further by using any available outdoor space. One way to grow vegetables or plants is by turning your balcony or porch into a garden. Sustainable gardening, even in a limited physical space, can put healthy, non-GMO produce on your table.
Use recycled materials.
Don’t throw it away; use it again. Recycled or salvaged wood, glass bottles and other items and materials offer a wonderful way to give your apartment a certain rustic character while also being excellent environmentally friendly decorating choices. Also, if your apartment is still under construction and you haven’t yet moved in, consider requesting that the developers use recycled materials in kitchen countertops, window panes, doors, and shelves.
Check your fabrics.
From clothing to curtains, to anything in your apartment that’s cloth-based, purchase only organic fabrics. While natural fibers might seem more eco-friendly than those that are synthetic, pesticides are often used in cotton production. Instead, buy organic cotton, which is grown chemical-free and colored with natural dyes. Also, wool from humanely-treated animals, as well as linen and hemp are some of the most eco-friendly natural items available. If you have to go synthetic when buying clothing, check the tags to see if recycled materials were used.
With today’s strong emphasis on environmentally friendly living, it’s easy for anyone, regardless of living quarters, to practice green living.
Image credit: Live Green via Vanatchanan/Shutterstock