Going Green: 7 Tips to Create a More Eco-Friendly Home or Apartment

The quest for eco-friendly apartments and homes is spreading fast, and we have seven great ideas to quickly and constructively join the green movement. Check these out:

Outside

If you are in an arid climate, it may be hard to keep a green lawn, but try to resist the urge to rip out the grass and replace it with decomposed granite or a similar aggregate material. A dry hard surface will retain the sun’s heat and add to the urban heat island effect where areas surrounding a big city will cool off at night while the city itself may stay five to ten degrees warmer. If your grass just won’t grow, try a native groundcover instead.

Greywater

People spell it differently, but it means the same thing. Greywater is wastewater than doesn’t have to go down the sewer waste pipe. Toilet water does, but dishwashing water, shower water and handwashing water can all be reclaimed and used to irrigate plants in your garden. Even if you don’t have a sophisticated greywater retrieval system, you could manually bail tub and dishwater with five-gallon buckets and take it outside to distribute on your plants.

Grocery Bags

While driving in Austin, TX you used to see empty lots with thin plastic grocery bags waving in the wind as they were stuck on bushes and shrubs. Austin banned these bags and the landscape almost instantly improved. Consumers quickly got used to bringing their own bags, and even if your grocer still offers them, refuse the thin plastic bags and bring your own eco-friendly ones to carry your groceries home.

Recycle

This is an environmental initiative number one, and many municipalities require it. If your city doesn’t provide you with a separate recycling container, save your recyclables and find out where you can take them for disposal.

HVAC

This is simple. Keep your home or apartment temperature at 68 degrees in the winter, if you’re in a cooler city like Chicago, and 78 degrees in the summer, especially if you’re in a hotter and more affordable city like Athens, Georgia. This will save you energy and lessen the load on power facilities. Using ceiling fans that are rotating in the proper direction—clockwise in the winter to pull the cool air up, and counter-clockwise in the summer to pull the hot air down—will help you feel more comfortable.

Gas Grill

Even though you may like that charcoal taste, using a gas grill that can be quickly heated to cooking temperature without having to use lighter fluid can be more environmentally friendly. Homeowners usually do not save charcoal once they have ignited it, but a gas grill can be turned off immediately after cooking is finished. It may cost $7.00 to grill those steaks if you use charcoal, and a lot less if you use propane.

Car Wash

Use a bucket, fill it up, and only use running water to rinse your car. If you want to alternatively go eco-friendly, going to a car wash that uses recycled water all day may be a reasonable consideration.

Next time we’ll consider all of the smart options available to you, but if you don’t start with these basic steps, even a lot of cool gadgets won’t guaranty that you are doing the most you could to transform your residence into an eco-friendly environment. And if you’re a first time home buyer, these tips can help add tremendous value to your new home.

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