In recent years, sustainable living has taken off as a hugely popular housing trend. Not only are more people wanting to live an eco-conscious lifestyle, but there is more awareness of the cost savings that can go hand-in-hand. And while renters and apartment dwellers may have less control over the physical sustainability of their residences, there are many ways to embrace an eco-friendly lifestyle, without any major renovations.
It’s more important than ever to consider the environmental impact of our ways of life. Below, we speak about why living in a high-rise building can have an eco-conscious upside and some ways apartment dwellers can reduce their environmental footprint.
Is high-rise living eco-friendly?
In truth, every housing form makes an impression on the environment. And as the number of occupied dwellings in Canada grows, so does the collective carbon footprint of Canadian housing. With that said, there are some housing forms that take less of a toll, and this has a lot to do with size.
In general, energy use is usually lower for apartment-style units, compared to suburban housing and suburban communities in general. Not only are apartment units smaller than houses, requiring less energy to heat and cool, but shared walls between units can mean less overall heat loss.
Apartment-style dwellings are also typically located in higher-density areas, close to transportation and commercial amenities, which can translate to less car use.
What to look for in an eco-friendly high-rise
Insulated concrete forms (ICFs)
Energy efficiency starts at a building’s core. Concrete is a building material that is naturally energy efficient because it’s less prone to air leaks and energy loss compared to other building materials, such as wood. Insulated concrete forms (ICFs) take energy efficiency even further. ICFs are created by sandwiching layers of thermal insulation material and fresh concrete to create walls that are thicker, less permeable, and retain heating and cooling more effectively.
Double or triple-paned windows
Inefficient windows are one of the biggest and most preventable culprits of energy loss. When touring an apartment, ask about the windows. If the windows are double- or even triple-paned, there will not only be less energy loss, making it easier to regulate internal temperatures, but multi-paned windows will also be more soundproof.
Smart home fixtures and appliances
When shopping for an apartment, it’s important to consider the things you will physically use every day, including appliances, lightbulbs, and other household fixtures. For lighting, LED is the way to go, with many LEDs boasting a lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. That’s 50 times longer than a typical incandescent, 20 to 25 times longer than a typical halogen, and 8 to 10 times longer than a typical compact fluorescent. For appliances, ensure they are energy conscious and/or low-flow. Something else to look out for is a programmable or smart learning thermostat.
Even if you are a dedicated recycler, trash and recycling are usually facilitated by the building management in an apartment setting. To make sure all your sorting efforts won’t go to waste, find out about the building’s recycling program and ensure that there is a regular pick-up schedule in place.
A rooftop garden
A rooftop garden is something of an added perk, particularly in Canada, where gardening weather is limited to a few months out of the year. But what many people don’t realize is that rooftop gardens can actually have an impact on a building’s overall energy efficiency. Rooftop gardens can help to insulate buildings in the winter. They can also soak up storm water, helping to mitigate roof leaks and water pollution from urban runoff.
How to be an eco-friendly apartment dweller
Use water conservatively
Regardless of whether or not your utility costs are included in your monthly rent, maintaining awareness of your water consumption is the responsible thing to do. You can conserve water by taking shorter showers, using your dishwasher and laundry machine for full loads only, and notifying building management as soon as you suspect a water leak.
Ventilate with natural air
In addition to being a great source of natural light, your windows can provide effective natural air ventilation. Keeping windows open as much as possible can help to create healthy air within your home while cycling out dust and toxins. Windows can be used in combination with plants to generate healthier air.
Unplug, unplug, unplug!
While it can be a hassle to constantly plug in and unplug your electronics, being vigilant will help to cut down on standby electricity loss and overall power costs. Additionally, unplugging electronics when they’re not in use can increase the lifespans of your belongings and reduce the risk of an electrical fire.
Eco-friendly cleaning products
One simple and effective way to be eco-friendly in your everyday life is by using naturally-sourced cleaning products. When shopping at the store or online for cleaning products, avoid anything with a chemical base. And whenever possible, try to make your own cleaning products at home, using natural ingredients such as lemon and vinegar.
Rental apartments in Sault Ste. Marie, Niagara, Sudbury, and Hamilton
If you’re interested in a redefined rental experience, we offer renovated rental apartments in sought-after neighbourhoods in Sault Ste. Marie, Niagara, Sudbury, and Hamilton. From top-of-the-line finishings to energy-efficient appliances to digital amenities, our units have been upgraded to reflect the unique values of today’s tenants. Get in touch today to find out more about condo-style apartment living with CPM Properties.