Creating a Sustainable Lifestyle in Your Apartment

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During your apartment search, keep green building tactics on your “to find” list.

Sustainable living is simply doing your best to conserve or reduce the use of natural resources in your day-to-day activities. This could be through reducing your carbon footprint, using public transport more often, reducing your daily energy consumption and eating local, organically grown food. One of the best ways to practice sustainable living is by creating an eco-friendly lifestyle at home. Here are seven ways to get started.

Use natural cleaners

One of the first things you can do is to replace your store-bought synthetic cleaning solutions with natural home-made cleaners. A few hours spent researching will reveal many proven formulas for making natural cleaners. For example, water and vinegar will clean most kitchen and bathroom surfaces. The saponin that you get from processing quinoa seeds can function as a sulfur-free shampoo or laundry detergent. Using natural cleaners reduces the use of plastic packaging and eliminates the harmful chemicals that flow into the groundwater and sewage system. Unfortunately, many chemicals used in many synthetic cleaners are non-biodegradable and they cause ecological damage to water and plants.

Practice sustainable gardening

Sustainable gardening is the practice of growing your own food without using pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Even if you live in an apartment you can do this at your balcony or work together with other like-minded people to create a community garden. Participating in sustainable gardening as a community saves time, creates splendid green spaces and allows you to conserve soil nutrients and water. This kind of gardening also promotes the careful use of water for irrigation especially in drier months with low rainfall. For the more tech-savvy, there is the option of installing a smart irrigation system. This has a unique irrigation controller that adapts its watering to the soil condition, the amount of light and the local weather condition. It also responds to the local weather forecast before it rains. If you choose to create a garden at your balcony, there are vegetables that grow well in pots like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and many others.

Replace your lighting

Go around your home and change all your incandescent light bulbs to CFL bulbs. It’s even better to replace them with LED bulbs that use just 10 to 20 percent of the energy that incandescent bulbs use to produce the same amount of illumination. LED bulbs cost more than CFL bulbs, but they can last for up to 20 years before you need to change them. Choose the most energy-efficient lighting you can afford and combine it with natural light during the daytime.

Unplug gadgets when you stop using them

Many electronic and mobile devices continue to draw energy from the socket even when you put them off or when they go into standby mode. You can save on your energy bills by unplugging these devices from the socket. Or better still, you can attach all your gadgets to a smart power strip. This device looks like a normal power strip, but it will cut off power from devices, like phone chargers, when they are no longer in use.

Use daylight as often as you can

It seems logical, but opening up your curtains to allow daylight to light up your rooms will reduce energy costs and electricity bills without you spending any money. It can also cut down on the cost of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). These energy savings on HVAC vary from 15 to 40 percent. Daylight also helps to reduce eyestrain and it improves concentration when you are working at home.

Adopt new washing habits

Avoid wasting water when you wash dishes, do your laundry or bathe. You can save water and reduce your electricity bills by making sure that you load your washing machine fully every time you do your laundry. Washing with two half loads will consume more energy than washing a single full load of clothes. Taking short, timed showers and reducing the frequency of your laundry will prevent water wastage. It’s also vital to note that getting obsessed with washing, especially with harsh synthetic soap, can limit our natural immune response to diseases. Our immune system needs to be exposed to a limited amount of bacteria to function well.

Use renewable energy

Instead of relying on energy sources that depend on fossil fuels, you can prevent climate change by choosing renewable energy. Even if you can’t install a wind turbine or huge solar panels in your apartment, you can still make a small difference. Solar chargers are great for smaller devices like phones, tablets and laptops. Another option is to purchase a Renewable Energy Certificate and buy renewable energy from someone who produces it.

Sustainable living helps to preserve the earth’s resources so we and the coming generation can live a healthier and happier life. We can use the tips and ideas provided here to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce water use and enjoy the savings from our daily energy-efficiency.