How To Lower Your Carbon Footprint as an Apartment Dweller
Did you know that the average American generates 4.4 pounds of waste per day, or that the average American home uses 867-kilowatt hours per month? Regardless of how many people share your apartment or what your personal energy needs are, there are little things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and be mindful about your impact on the earth. You could even reduce your utility costs in the process! Today we’re going over some tips that can help you do just that.
Use Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs and Appliances
Every time you buy new light bulbs, appliances, or other electronics, take a moment to see if there’s an energy-efficient option available. For example, LED and fluorescent light bulbs use less energy and last longer than incandescent bulbs. You can also find labels on many products that make a special note if they were manufactured using renewable energy.
When it comes to appliances, look for an Energy Star label as a quick way of discerning more energy-efficient appliances from less energy-efficient ones. It’s also worth noting that newer freezers, stoves, dishwashers, and clothes washers and dryers are considerably more energy-efficient than older models, so just by virtue of living in an RPM Living apartment, you’re wasting less energy than if you lived in an older or less recently updated unit.
Be Mindful of What You Eat
Eating locally and organically can reduce your carbon footprint as can reducing the meat and dairy you eat and focusing more on plant-based options. It takes a lot of resources to transport food, fertilize produce, and raise animals. Clearing space for large farms can also contribute to deforestation. If possible, try buying organic produce from smaller, local farms and reducing your use of beef and dairy products.
Use Public Transportation Or Carpool
Whenever possible, hop on the bus or train to get where you’re going. Public transportation has the benefit of reducing the number of cars on the road since it can transport more passengers at a time.
When you can’t take public transportation, carpooling is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Instead of meeting your friend somewhere, consider picking them up on your way there. Or, when the weather is good, opt to bike to your favorite local restaurant instead of driving.
During times of social distancing, simply reducing the number of trips you take (something you may already be doing anyway) can make a big difference. But be mindful of how the positive benefit of fewer car trips on your end may be offset by greater reliance on delivery services like food and grocery delivery, which can result in car emissions and extra packaging waste. When ordering items online, you may have options to reduce the amount of packaging used and/or consolidate items into a single shipment, which is easier on the environment.
Reduce Your Water Usage
Besides shaving off a few minutes from your shower time and turning off the water between steps when you brush your teeth and wash your face, there are a few things you can do to reduce your water usage. Wash your car less often. Have only climate-appropriate plants at home to avoid the need for extra watering. Maximize the efficiency of your dishwasher and washing machine by not running them when they are partially empty.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
We’ve already touched on a few areas where you can reduce the waste you create by eliminating extra packaging or reducing your water use. But the classic three R’s are the golden rule of early environmental pedagogy for a reason. Whenever you safely can, reuse products as many times as possible before tossing them and if you’re able, always recycle instead! Many of our RPM Living communities make it easy with a community recycling program.
That concludes our tips for reducing your carbon footprint! We strive to make it as easy as possible for our residents to make energy-efficient choices that are good for our community and the planet! If you found this post useful or interesting, we encourage you to share it with your friends and colleagues! If you want to find your ideal home at one of our RPM communities across the US, check out our Communities page.