Conservation has become a pretty big buzzword in the last decade, especially in fast-growing, highly-populated cities like the big Texas metros.
As more and more people pour into our cities, local infrastructures begin to feel the strain and environmental impact of the increased population, thus creating a need to conserve our local, natural resources. Here are seven quick tips on what you can do to help live smarter, reduce your carbon footprint, and save a little money at the same time.
1. Install LED Bulbs & Fixtures
One simple way to become more energy efficient is to install LED light bulbs in your apartment. Alternatively, if you’re not big on overhead lighting or replacing existing light bulbs in your unit, think about adding lamps with LED bulbs to utilize when you’re home instead. They’ll help conserve energy, while also providing varying kinds of artistic lighting–win/win!
However, if you do go the route of swapping out the bulbs, make sure to stash the bulbs you’re replacing, 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’re essential to creating a great sleeping environment and they help your energy bill. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, about 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through its windows. While in the hotter months, 76% of sunlight that hits standard double-pane windows will become heat.
If you’re savvy with tools and have the ability to mount curtain rods, you can run with standard blackout curtains. If you’re not able to install curtain rods in your unit, choose to go with a paper window shade to at least help block the heat a little bit.
And lastly, if you’re worried that black out curtains won’t fit your decorations, have no fear! Places like Lowe’s and Home Depot have numerous different black out curtains in different styles and patterns, 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 has a fridge with a water dispenser. But if not, and you have an entry-level fridge that doesn’t provide filtered water, you’ll need to look to alternative sources for drinking water. A lot of people elect to choose to purchase disposable water bottles, as they’re easy to buy in bulk and don’t require the need to install any filtration systems, but this just trades convenience for potential environmental issues.
Every year, nearly 8 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean (1 Metric Ton = 2,204 Pounds) according to the Ocean Conservancy. A better option would be to purchase a portable water filtration system like a Brita or Pur pitcher and use that to top of a reusable water bottle. The pitchers are simple to use and fairly cost effective if you wait for sales on the replacement filters that occur periodically, and you help protect nature–so, think of the sea turtles!
4. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
While we’re on the topic of plastics and ocean pollution, we can’t forget about the simple 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, 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 actually need to be thrown in there.
Like we stated above, clothes dryers aren’t friendly towards fabrics or dyes. Instead of using your dryer for all garments, try air drying items that are prone to shrinking or color loss, especially your favorite dark-washed jeans.
6. Actually Setup Your Thermostat
With the rise of smart home products, people have begun to realize that thermostats can do some pretty cool things — like cut down on energy usage when you’re not home. But, this is a function that nearly every electronic thermostat has had for years (they just don’t look as pretty or easy to use as Nest thermostats).
A lot of newer apartments already include smart thermostats in each unit, making this process easier, but if you have an older electronic thermostat with no app functionality, setting the 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. This way you get to stay comfortable, save money and reduce your footprint! We’re into that.
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, try to find ones that are more drought-resistant and allow you to cut back on watering. Succulents are a great option for giving your place a living vibe, and can stand up to even the laziest plant owners.
There you have it folks, seven very 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 214-586-0519 or fill out an apartment 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. 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.