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How to Save Money Going Green in Your Luxury Santa Clara Apartment


September 16, 2016

Most people living in apartments in Silicon Valley may not realize it, but they have plenty of options to help protect the environment!

There’s no doubt that everyone would do the right thing for the planet if they knew it was easy and convenient. But green living truly doesn’t have to be complicated!

In fact, going green might just save you a lot of cash.

And if you read this post, you’ll find simple tips to help your apartment life be as environmentally friendly (and cost effective) as possible!

Use Plastic Wisely

You’ve probably heard it a thousand times, but you should really quit buying plastic water bottles. Those bottles sit in landfills where they take eons to decompose.

And you know those piles of plastic bags you end up with after every grocery trip? Reuse them! Those bags are perfect for lining trash cans or for carrying whatever you need.

If you think smart about plastic, it won’t all end up taking up space in a landfill – and you’ll save some money too in the long run.

Master Your Thermostat

In the winter, turn down your thermostat. If you get too cold, put on a sweater or wrap up in a cozy blanket.

In the summer, turn it back up. If you switch your room temperature by only two degrees, you can save a huge amount of carbon emissions and see a nice bonus in your next utility bill.

Oh, and there’s one more thing. If you have rooms in your apartment that aren’t used as often, like a spare bedroom, keep the air vents and doors in those rooms closed. That way, you won’t waste any energy keeping them air-conditioned.

Limit Your Appliance Usage

Don’t run your washing machine unless you have a full load – ever. The same goes for your dryer and your dishwasher. Why? Because you waste a ton of water and energy when you run these machines unnecessarily.

If you have a balcony or patio, you could also consider line drying your clothes. It’s a little old fashioned, but you’ll save energy and money every time you decide not to turn on your dryer.

And when you aren’t using your appliances, unplug them – especially if it’ll be a few days before you need them again. For smaller appliances, try to connect them all to a power strip that will keep them from wasting energy. In an average home, this could result in energy savings of up to 10 percent.

Sure, you want to go green, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid these modern conveniences altogether. So, always wait until you have to use them.

Change Your Bulbs

Incandescent bulbs are warm and inviting, but unfortunately, they’re inefficient. They use a lot of energy and burn out way too quickly, so you have to constantly have a stock of replacements.

Yet for quite a few years there, it was hard to convince people to switch over to LED light bulbs.

But now, the people who said no to them have had to change out their incandescent bulbs several times while the LEDs are still going strong.

Purchasing all LED bulbs for your apartment can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over their lifespan – as well as a ton of energy.

In fact, LED bulbs last an incredible 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, and their prices are better than ever.

So, buy LED bulbs. Not only will you have to make a special trip to the store less often, but you’ll also have a reduced electricity bill and carbon footprint.

Cut Back on Paper

It may sound a little strange at first, but you should really look into recycled toilet paper.

If every household in the United States replaced 1 roll of 1000 sheet bathroom tissues with 100 percent recyclable rolls, we could save:

  • 373,000 trees
  • 48 million cubic feet of landfill space
  • 155 million gallons of water

And instead of using paper towels in your kitchen every time you need to dry your hands or clean up a spill, use washrags or dishtowels.

You can even use both sides of your computer paper when you print out documents. And if you no longer need what’s on the front, draw a line through it and print again on the other side.

One more thing: 100 million trees’ worth of junk mail are sent out every single year. So, say no to junk mail by visiting www.dmachoice.org/MPS/ to opt out of the Direct Marketing Association’s member mailings.

Use Rechargeable Batteries

The upfront cost for rechargeable batteries may seem a little steep to some, but they definitely pay off over time.

You don’t have to buy a full set all at once, either. Simply invest in a few batteries at first for your most-used devices and then continue to buy more when they’re on sale over time.

Eventually, every battery-powered device in your apartment can run off of rechargeable batteries – your remotes, smoke detectors, and other gadgets.

By doing this, you’ll keep dead batteries out of landfills and save yourself money in the long run.

Cover Your Windows

Sure, apartments in Silicon Valley are so impressive that you want to show them off all the time. You may have a spectacular view that you can’t get enough of!

But keep in mind that, if you keep your windows open all the time, it’ll cost you money and waste resources.

In the winter, keeping your windows covered can significantly reduce heat loss. In the summer, keeping the harsh California sunlight out can keep your apartment a lot cooler.

The best way to cover your windows is to invest in thick drapery or shades, and to always pull them whenever you leave your apartment.

Cook from Scratch

Store-bought, pre-prepared meals are definitely convenient, but they’re also seriously expensive. On top of that, the shrink-wrapped packaging is bad for the environment – not to mention how bad the food itself often is for your health.

To go green with your food choices, try making preservative-free home-cooked meals.

And if you already have a green thumb, you could even grow your own miniature vegetable garden on your apartment patio or balcony!

Don’t Waste Food

According to the National Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is never eaten. That means the energy and water used to produce it is lost forever.

So when you go grocery shopping, buy only the items that you know you’ll use, and try to find locally grown and fresh foods.

You could also consider eating a vegetarian meal once a week (if you don’t already!).

According to Environmental Defense, if every American replaced one meal of chicken per week with a vegetarian option, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off the road!

Buy Second Hand

It’s true that big box stores are full of cheap home goods and clothes, but do you think they’ll last?

The best option for both the environment and your wallet is to shop second hand. This minimizes the environmental impact of producing new items and can net you some pretty great items for a fraction of their original cost.

So shop at your local charity shop, estate sales, or garage sales. And if you’re really proactive about finding new stuff at a low cost, check out Craigslist. They even have a free section!

Save Water

Do you have a habit of leaving the water running while you brush your teeth? If so, try to stop.

And if you spend a lot of time with the water on while shaving your legs, consider turning the showerhead off while you do it. Shaving wastes a total of 13 billion gallons of water every year.

One great way to save water is to install a WaterSense-labeled showerhead. Using one saves more than 2,300 gallons of water per year (for the average household) and reduces energy demands on water heaters.

In fact, if every household in the United States switched to WaterSense showerheads, we would save more than 250 billion gallons of water per year – enough to supply more than 2.5 million homes for a year.

Because showerheads are such a small change, most apartment managers won’t mind if you switch them out – but you should still run it by them in advance.

Recycle

Last but not least, don’t give up on recycling!

From 1990 to today, this country has increased the amount of waste recycled from 15 percent to 34 percent. In 2010 alone, we recycled 85 million tons of waste, the equivalent of nearly 230 million barrels of oil.

So, add a recycling bin in addition to the regular trashcan you already have. Find out if your apartment complex has a recycling program, and always sort your trash accordingly.

As you can see, there are tons of ways both big and small for apartment dwellers to go green in every room.

Find out what you can do to help your apartments in Silicon Valley go green even more than they already have. That way, you can help save the planet from harm!