Climate change clock: 4 things we can all do to help turn back time

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Erin Lipinsky
Oct 8, 2020

We don’t know about you, but when we saw that the Metronome in Manhattan changed from displaying the time to displaying the “time left,” it hit hard. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the NY Times article about it.

The concept of time is extremely fluid when we got to thinking about it! Seven years until you buy a house? You’ve got some time. Seven years until you graduate from school? Doesn’t feel like “tomorrow.” Seven years to pay toward that shopping debt? Slow and steady will get’er done. But, seven years to keep the effects of climate change and global warming from becoming irreversible? We need to be aggressive, be-be aggressive!

When we put our apartment-renting lenses on, seven years could prospectively be another seven lease terms, plus all combinations that can fall within that. Nevertheless, working together to make lasting changes for our planet and all its inhabitants takes some planning, whether it’s by individual lease terms or by private rentals, mortgages, or move-back-in-with-mom terms.

Time is of the essence right now. As you navigate your tenant journey, here are some conscious consumer tips that can help drive behaviors that can ultimately give back to Mother Earth.

First things first…

If you’re living or looking to live in an apartment, or what’s referred to in *the biz* as high-density housing, you’re doing great, sweetie! Studies show that overall, apartment dwellers consume less energy and contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions. They live in buildings that are deemed a more efficient use of city infrastructure and use less material on average. And, to top it off, they have more options to live in “greener” developments.

We cover more nitty-gritty details in our blog, “Mother Earth is thanking apartment renters, and here’s why…”. This is one you’ll want to bookmark and share with your friends and other apartment-dwellers!

Outside of choosing to live in an apartment, here are four other actionable ways to be conscious tenants even past your lease term:

Be discerning about your energy provider when possible.

Did you know that you can enroll with an energy provider that sources the majority of its service from renewable energy sources? It’s recognized as Green-e ® Certified renewable energy and what that means is that the energy “must be generated from new facilities that meet rigorous standards for environmental quality” (source). Energy consumers, aka every single one of us, have the option to leverage websites such as Green-e ® to compare green power options searchable by product type and state!

Most apartment properties and management companies have local or nationwide energy providers they partner with, so if you’re already locked into a lease and/or provider contract that’s okay. Once those contracts are coming to an end, you will have an opportunity to gather the resources you need and ask the questions you need to ask so that your next energy provider decision comes inherent with the desire to reduce your carbon footprint. Key takeaway- being a conscious energy consumer takes curiosity and planning!

Make living at a LEED-certified property a top priority.

LEED-certified buildings, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design buildings, are structures recognized for being built with efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and environmentally-friendly building tactics. What this means is that the developers made those things a priority when building the structure, and thus, built it with a certification point system in mind. 

Look, we all love getting gold stars for doing good but the LEED certification is not the “every participant gets a medal” run of the mill. Certifications range from certified to platinum depending on the number of building tactics implemented to create the building and qualification is rigorous. All that to say, there are numerous LEED-certified apartment developments in every city in America!

Next time you’re looking to move, ask your apartment locator to place “LEED-certified properties” at the top of your search list. If you’re not using an apartment locator or Realtor to conduct your search, try googling “LEED-certified apartments in CITY NAME.” That will give you a great starting point.

quote from new york times

Pay attention to energy-saving features and recycling.

Lots of properties are leveraging updated technological finishes when they’re being built or renovated nowadays. Make it a point to ask about apartment features such as smart thermostats, LED lighting, gas-range stoves (they use 3x less energy than electric ones), and low-flow showerheads.

You can also do things like set your thermostat at a temperature that closely matches what it is outside. This may mean opting for fewer clothing layers in the summer months and extra layers during the winter months, but you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and get more use from your wardrobe!

While we’re on the subject of minimizing our energy consumption, let’s cover the importance of recycling programs for a moment. Living somewhere that offers access to a recycling program helps save energy by reducing the number of materials that need to be created from scratch. Natural resources go into creating paper, plastic, and glass so making sure those items don’t end up in a landfill is critical to the future of our planet. Reduce, reuse, recycle – it’s not just a catchphrase.

If possible, live near all the places you frequent to reduce commuting.

Last, but not least, let’s quickly chat about the importance of location. It’s renter/homeowner 101 that where you live will always affect how much you pay. So, we want to preface what we’re about to suggest with the known fact that sometimes location has to take a backseat to budget and we totally understand!

However, if you live centrally to the places you frequent most often, you can cut down commute times and reduce the amount of time you spend in your car burning gas. Something else to consider is living close to modes of rapid transit and metro systems such as subways and city trains/railways, trams and light rails, commuter metro stations, and citywide bus stops/stations. We know price isn’t the only factor at play when choosing the location you want to live in and the good news is that considering everything mentioned above, you’ve got options!

 

We hope you found this blog helpful and feel empowered to put some of these tips into motion. We’re starkly aware that it will take more than what’s mentioned in this blog to undo centuries of damage to our climate. Nevertheless, there are always things we can be doing as consumers to make decisions that can positively impact where we are today!

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