Happy Earth Day 2020, everyone! Today, people all over the world will take time to demonstrate their love and devotion to protect the environment in which we all live. We’ll all read blogs about sustainability, purchase an excess of metal straws and glass Tupperware, research how we can minimize our carbon footprint, plant new greenery – the list is endless! There’s always something we can be doing to contribute to a healthier planet for generations to come.
So, today, we give a green salute to everyone out there doing their part to leave the planet better than we found it (the *actual* golden rule), especially all you apartment renters, or “high-density occupants” as studies like to call you all. That’s right – studies show that apartment renters are helping to do their part for Mother Earth by being part of multifamily communities!
Want some quick facts to put on your Instagram?
We bolded them for you.
Apartment dwellers use less energy
In a study done at the University of Toronto, energy use and gas emissions of high-density developments proved to be a third of what is emitted by that of low-density developments (i.e. homes and private rentals). The study went on to show that single-family homes specifically use about twice as much energy as buildings that house multiple living units (source)! There’s obviously more square footage to cover, which means higher energy use to cool and heat it. Considering we live in Texas and we all know what scorchers our summers can be, it’s extremely hard to just not use an air conditioner. Luckily, if you live in an apartment, you can feel a little bit better about cooling down 650 square feet as opposed to one standalone structure that’s three-to-five times its size!
As a matter of fact, and speaking of structures, in an article published late last year by the Commercial Property Executive, they made a fabulous point that we think often gets overlooked when talking about the sustainability of single and multi-family housing. Apartment dwellers live in structures that are a “more efficient use of city infrastructure, and [require] less material…” (source). Apartment living is a low-impact investment when it comes to the carbon footprint we all leave behind, and when it comes to lasting effects we have on our planet and the depletion of resources, less is definitely more! *Gives self a tiny pat on the back*
…and reduce emissions by using their cars less
Let’s think about this for a second…apartments are everywhere, right? Developers leverage a ton of data and urban research before deciding to build an apartment structure somewhere. Similar to these developers, location is key when it comes to apartments. Because apartments allow so many people to live in a location that’s more centrally located based on the places they frequent, renters tend to have shorter commutes. Shorter commutes equate to less gasoline being burned, which equates to less greenhouse gas emissions and better air quality (and less moola spent on gas)!
Now, get this… apartment renters actually end up contributing to less greenhouse gas emissions for everyone, overall. By living in a compact development that conserves land, you’re helping cut down the distance, time, and gas-burning it takes for people everywhere to get where they’re going. Imagine the time it would take if all those apartment units you pass on your way to work every day were individual homes! Yeah, that’s a big “no thanks” for us.
…and have more options to live in “greener” developments
We’ve already talked about density and the effects it has on reducing our carbon footprint. Irina Ivanova summed it up best in her 2019 Earth Day article for CBS News: “…dense neighborhoods, with dwellings close to each other and on top of each other, are far more climate-friendly than their suburban counterparts. Not only are the buildings in those neighborhoods more energy-efficient compared to the number of people they accommodate, but their density means very little energy is used getting from place to place.” But, what about the buildings and finishes themselves?
Developers have the option to produce what is called a LEED-certified building, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The global standard is a point system developers can leverage to build a structure that is “efficient, cost-effective, and better for occupants and the environment” (source). Certifications range from certified all the way to platinum depending on the number of building tactics implemented to create the building! Apartments also help contribute to increased levels of recycling and water-use reduction through tenant programs and low-flow sink, toilet, and shower fixtures by the hundreds. Not to mention they’re a one-stop-shop for services such as mail, package deliveries, and city maintenance. These are all things apartment tenants typically have access to that they don’t even have to think about!
There’s so much more research we could share with you about the sustainability and efficiency apartments offer Mother Earth, but we think you get the picture. So, before all of you apartment dwellers continue reading more Earth Day blogs, submit that order for eco-friendly reusable products, or plant that tree, give yourself a pat on the back. By living in an apartment, you’re showing our planet more TLC than you may know!