Conservation has become a pretty big buzzword in the last decade, especially in fast-growing, highly-populated cities like the big Texas metros.
As we continue to see an influx of people pouring into our cities, Austin bis starting to feel the strain and environmental impact of the increased population, thus creating a need to conserve our local, natural resources.
So, to help do our part, here’s seven quick tips on ways to live smarter, reduce your carbon footprint, and save some money along the way.
1. Install LED Bulbs & Fixtures
Installing LED light bulbs is a great and simple way to be more energy efficient. If you’re not big on overhead lighting or replacing existing light bulbs in your unit, consider adding lamps with LED bulbs instead. This conserves energy while also providing varying kinds of artistic mood lighting, it’s a win, win!
However, if you do end up swapping out all the bulbs your apartment, make sure to stash the original bulbs, so you can take your LED bulbs with you at move-out. Most LED light bulbs last around 50,000 hours, which equates to 11 years if used for 12 hours a day (so, pretty much forever). Plus, you paid for them, so keep them!
2. Utilize Black-Out Curtains
Black-out curtains are dual-purpose and vampire approved, since they aid both your sleeping environment and energy bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through its windows, and in the hotter months, 76% of sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows will become heat. Crazy, right?
If you’re the “do it yourself” type, or know someone who is, too can mount some rods to run standard blackout curtains on. However, if you’re not able to install curtain rods in your unit, you can use a tension rod (no holes required) or choose to go with a paper window shade–this helps block the heat a bit but doesn’t create a dark, black cave to slumber in.
If you’re worried that black out curtains won’t fit your decorations, have no fear, hardware stores are here! Places like Lowe’s and Home Depot have numerous styles of black out curtains, so you’re sure to find something that pops.
3. Say No To Plastics
Let’s talk about drinking water. If you’re lucky, your unit will have a fridge with a water dispenser. If not, you might have an entry-level fridge that doesn’t provide filtered water.
A lot of people elect to purchase disposable water bottles, because they’re easy to buy in bulk and don’t require any hard work (read: maneuvering a filtration system). But when you trade potential environmental hard for convenience,. is it worth it?
Every year, nearly 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean (1 Metric Ton = 2,204 Pounds) according to the Ocean Conservancy. Yikes! To combat this, we encourage ditching the case of Ozarka and snagging a portable water filter, like a Brita or Pur pitcher. The pitchers are easy to use and fairly cost effective, plus you’re reducing waste, so go ahead and drink tap for the turtles!
4. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
While we’re on the topic of plastics, turtles and ocean pollution, we can’t forget about the tried and true act of recycling. If your apartment has the space, keep a bag or box to the side of your trash to throw all your recyclable items into. If your complex has a valet trash service, they usually ask you to separate recycling in a designated bag and place it outside near your trash can. If your complex has trash/recycling chutes or dumpsters, then you know how to handle each bag respectively.
5. Air-Dry Your Clothing
While clothes dryers are convenient, they’re not actually all that great for your energy bill, or your clothes! In fact, according to Consumer Reports, clothes dryers use more energy than a new refrigerator and dishwasher combined. Now, obviously you can’t stop using your dryer entirely, but you can limit how much it’s used and what garments get thrown in there. Try air drying items that are prone to shrinking and color loss, like dark wash jeans. And live by the fact that the dryer eats your undies, so always air dry those!
6. Actually Setup Your Thermostat
With the rise of smart home products, thermostats are capable of some pretty amazing things — like cutting down on energy usage when you’re not home! This is a function that nearly every electronic thermostat has had for years (they just don’t boast the same user-friendly setup as Nest).
A lot of newer apartments include smart thermostats, but if yours doesn’t, setting a temperature schedule can be a pain. For the best results, look for the model unit on your thermostat and search online for tips on creating the best schedule for that unit. Youtube can teach you pretty much anything!
7. Purchase Drought-Tolerant House Plants
One of the most exciting things about moving into a new place is figuring out how you’ll decorate it. If house plants are your thing, cut back on watering by donning drought resistant plants. Succulents and cacti are a great option for giving your place a living vibe, while also putting up with the laziest plant owners.
There you have it folks, seven easy ways to reduce your impact without drastically changing your lifestyle/spending countless hours researching renewable energy! If you’re about to move and looking for an apartment that’s new, boasts efficient features and/or encourages recycling, call or text 512-815-2317 or fill out anapartment search form to get connected with an expert, Smart City agent, and get your search started ASAP.
Written by Jake Lane
Jake is the Head of Marketing for NuWash, an on-demand mobile car wash and detailing service startup in Dallas and Austin. Their local, experienced car wash technicians wash, detail, and shine your car at your office, home or apartment while you go about your busy life. Never drive a dirty car again by downloading the NuWash mobile app and scheduling car care services online in minutes.