Jen Jackowski

In some cases, being eco-friendly can be expensive– ever research geothermal energy? However, just because some efforts require great sacrifice doesn't mean that all do.

In fact, you can go green and save money in your apartment all at once, making both you and Mother Nature happy campers. You just have to pick the right ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Here are some options for cutting your utility bills and your environmental impact:

1. Change Your Light Bulbs

While incandescent light bulbs produce a warm and inviting glow, they're inefficient. Not only do they use a lot of energy, but they burn out pretty quickly, so you have to buy replacements frequently.

Instead of sticking to these old-fashioned fixtures (seriously, Thomas Edison invented incandescent bulbs in 1879), get up to date by purchasing compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) or LEDs.

Don't let the word fluorescent scare you– you don't have to buy those harsh white lights you associate with hospitals and offices. Many fluorescent bulbs for home now mimic the warm light incandescents produce. What's more, they last longer and don't waste energy. Much of the energy consumed by incandescent is turned into heat, which decreases the amount becoming light. CFLs and LEDs don't have that problem.

Not only will you have to buy bulbs less often, but you'll have a reduced electricity bill and you'll decrease your carbon footprint. Over all, the small change can have a huge impact.


2. Use Power Strips

When you leave your electronics on or plugged in, they sap energy that they don't need to use. That printer you leave on even though you use it like once a month? It's wasting energy. Your phone charger that's always in the socket? Yup, that uses energy too.

You may groan over the thought of unplugging every single device when it's not in use, but there's an easier way: Buy a power strip. These tools have numerous outlets on a single bar, and allow you to cut power. At the end of the day, simply turn the switch off, and everything plugged into the strip will stop using unnecessary electricity. Some models even shut off automatically!

Using a power strip will reduce your energy bills, helping you save money and preventing environmental waste.

3. Install Faucet Aerators

The planet may be covered in mostly water, but fresh H2O is a precious resource. For this reason, you want to reduce your use as much as possible. Showering, doing dishes and washing your hands all require water.

In an apartment, you may not be able to install low-flow faucets, but you can still cut back by installing aerators. These little tools screw onto your faucets and shoot air into your water stream. That way, the water pressure remains high but you use less liquid.

If you live in an apartment that covers water costs, this may not impact your bills. However, you can still rest easy knowing you've gone green.

4. Don't Buy Bottled Water

You're probably sick of hearing it, but drinking tap or filtered water is an easy and impactful move when you're trying to be eco-friendly. However, you hear the suggestion so often because it's a good one!

Plastic water bottles sit in landfills, where they take eons to decompose. What's more, much of the advertising you see for "spring water" isn't totally accurate.

Tap water is heavily regulated, so in some cases, it's safer to drink than bottled varieties. Plus, buying a case of bottled water every week adds up– wouldn't you rather go out to eat more often or get drinks with your friends?

5. Walk, Bike, Carpool or Take Public Transit

Basically, avoid driving solo as often as possible. Your car sure is convenient, but you and the planet pay for that ease. With carbon emissions that wreck the ozone, motor vehicles aren't Mother Earth's best friend.

Instead of driving everywhere, consider biking to nearby locations. Or, take public transportation as often as possible. Both options reduce your gas costs and get you walking or moving. Also, a transit pass is much cheaper than gas.

If you have to drive, consider carpooling. That way, there's one less car on the road and you and your buddy can split gas costs.

Saving money and being eco-friendly can go hand in hand. Use these tips to keep some cash in your wallet and make the environment a little healthier.



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