7 Factors to Consider When Searching For an Environmentally-Friendly Apartment
With the health of our planet becoming an increasing concern worldwide, and younger generations being more environmentally-conscious than ever before, sustainability has emerged as one of the most popular and fastest-growing trends among rental apartments. However, that doesn’t necessarily make the search for green living spaces any simpler, especially when it comes to more competitive and fast-paced markets. As many are now prioritizing eco-friendliness as the most important feature, sustainable homes can be even more difficult to find. Fortunately, renting a sustainable apartment is not an impossible mission, as long as you prioritize essential aspects:
1. Sustainable Materials
Construction can consume large amounts of raw materials, and create plenty of unnecessary waste in the process. That is why opting for green building solutions, if at all possible, is a great way to minimize your environmental impact when renting an apartment. Even though choosing units with updated HVAC systems, recycling and composting programs, as well as renewable energy resources like wind and solar power might be ideal, keep in mind even buildings made from recycled materials, reclaimed wood, and decorated with second-hand or sustainable furniture can all be great options for more environmentally-conscious apartment living.
2. Energy-Saving Appliances
When attempting to limit waste from our households, most of us generally focus on the products we buy and the amount we throw out each day. And while that is undoubtedly a crucial feature of low-waste living, energy consumption tends to be among the most wasteful aspects of our lives. When hunting for a more sustainable apartment, make energy conservation a priority, and only choose rental units with energy-efficient appliances, preferably Energy Star certified ones. Not only will such appliances help you to significantly cut back on your energy usage each month, but they will consequently turn out to be a more affordable solution as well.
3. Smaller Green Features
Sustainability in an urban community should extend to all aspects of living. To that end, it might be wise to pay attention to even the smaller features of rental units in an effort to find the best, most sustainable apartment. For example, if you’re browsing an old industrial apartment in New York City, chances aren’t very high you will come across the most eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient appliances. However, sustainability might be noticed in the details such as more efficient light fixtures and LED lightbulbs, which will allow you to cut back on your energy consumption and live a more environmentally-friendly apartment life.
4. A Good Location
While this aspect of apartment hunting might be often overlooked, a great location is another important thing to consider. The closer you are to the city center or other neighborhoods and amenities important to you, the more likely you will be to walk or ride a bike to your school, work, or social engagements.
It’s always a good practice to search for apartments for rent online, see what types are available, and decide whether they are suitable for your needs. Look for apartments situated in good locations and those offering green amenities. These include energy-efficient appliances, air conditioning controls, as well as swimming pools and fitness centers, within the complexes. These kinds of features and amenities will make your transition to a more sustainable lifestyle much easier.
5. Insulating Solutions
The heating and cooling systems are among the highest household energy consumers significantly contributing to the number of greenhouse gases we emit as well. In an effort to find the most energy-efficient apartment, that might also be beneficial to your monthly budget, try to choose buildings with good insulation and sealed doors and windows, if possible. An excellent insulating solution will be able to effortlessly adjust to the weather, helping to keep the apartment warm in winter and cool in the summer, which can be especially important if you’re living in a continental climate that can be experienced in cities like Chicago and Boston.
6. Water-Saving Features
Apart from energy, the consumption of water is another major issue we rarely consider. However, it is also an incredibly important aspect of eco-friendly living, as it allows us to be more mindful of our usage and avoid wasting our planet’s finite resources. When finding your ideal rental, it might be a good idea to check the building’s plumbing system, and ensure it’s functional, efficient, and with no major leaks. Features like low-flow toilets and water-saving showerheads can also be quite helpful with your conservation efforts, while mechanisms for recycling storm and gray water are truly the best, most sustainable solutions.
7. Communal Practices
An environmentally-conscious life is always better when it’s shared and experienced on a collective level. If you wish to find the most sustainable apartment, check for any green communal practices or even eco-friendly efforts from your landlord. This can be as simple as providing electronic alternatives for monthly payments in an effort to reduce paper waste, to more organized efforts such as carpooling opportunities, and even more elaborate systems like communal composting sites. No matter how small these efforts might be, living in a sustainable community will allow you to contribute to a safer and healthier planet, while also providing the opportunities to become closer with your neighbors.
Looking for the ideal apartment is already quite a stressful and challenging endeavor for many, but it might seem nearly impossible if you wish to ensure it’s green and sustainable as well. However, as long as you pay attention to the important aspects mentioned above, finding an eco-friendly apartment will become that much easier, and your road to a more environmentally-conscious life that much simpler.