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In the last 10-20 years, sustainable design has been one of the most prominent housing features and many residents are looking to invest in apartments that make a difference for the environment. Energy-efficient apartments, have eco-friendly design and features and focus on wellness usually don’t stay too long on the market. So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly apartment, here’s what you should focus on.
Consider the Building Design
Start by examining the building design. Today, many developers are trying to mix aesthetically pleasing design with environmentally-conscious features like reclaimed wood and metal, cork, bamboo, and similar. These materials don’t affect the quality of the building, but they help keep building construction and operation waste at a minimum. Some features to look for are bigger windows that maximize natural light, sensors that minimize energy consumption, and good insulation that prevents energy waste.
Look for LED Lighting
Lighting is becoming more and more efficient every day. We started with traditional light bulbs with big energy consumption and short lifespan, and we ended up with LEDs and compact fluorescent bulbs with quality lighting, low energy consumption and long lifespan.
While you should focus on an apartment with energy-efficient LEDs, that’s not all. You should also check if the building and apartment have monitor sensors that automatically turn off lights if they are not required. This means you won’t need to waste money and electricity on lighting an empty room or corridor yet still have a cozy home.
Don’t Forget About the Location
Smaller apartments are inherently more eco-friendly since they require less time, materials, and land to build. That is primarily why small serviced studios for rent are becoming an increasingly popular choice for eco-conscious renters, especially in big, bustling urban centers.
It’s much easier to lead a greener lifestyle when you have everything you need conveniently located in your building–including, but not limited to a stylish communal lounge, high-end laundry room, and well-equipped kitchen.
Additionally, studios are usually located in the city center, so you can typically eliminate your need for a car, which is one of the biggest and most common environmental polluters.
Ask About Insulation
Speaking of insulation, this is one of the most important parts of building design when it comes to reducing energy loss. Make sure to ask about the insulation type since some are more efficient when it comes to energy-loss and noise prevention than the others.
For instance, sheets of insulation usually don’t do as good of a job as cellulose insulation that’s blown into the walls. Roof insulation is also important since it prevents all that precious hot or cool air from escaping your apartment.
Don’t Trust the Label
It’s easy to see the words “green”, “sustainable” or “energy-efficient” on a product before buying it and think that you’ve done your part. The label that says that a product is good for the environment should definitely spark your interest, but make sure to do additional research too.
When looking to buy or rent an energy-efficient and green apartment, make sure to go beyond “green” and ask specific questions. Consider asking how and how much the apartment reduces carbon emission, whether it’s using renewable energy, whether there are certain net-zero goals for the future, what energy and water-efficient appliances are there and how the building invests in recycling and composting. Concrete questions give concrete answers and you’ll be able to pick the right eco-friendly apartment for you.
Focus on Water Conservation
Most buildings and apartments focus on energy consumption and totally neglect water waste, even though water shortage is a serious problem all around the world. Luckily, there are many ways an apartment can be more water conscious and efficient. Check for water-efficient water heaters, low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucets.
Most new buildings are required to have these facilities installed, but if you’re renting or buying an apartment in an older building, make sure to check for these water-saving features.
Details are Important Too
No matter what kind of interior design you prefer, from minimalism to oriental and bohemian, make sure to focus on the materials and features involved in that design. For instance, try to find an apartment painted with low- or zero-VOC paint that reduces toxic gas emission.
Also, check the furniture for bamboo, reclaimed wood or other sustainable materials, and see whether the windows are big so you can rely more on natural light instead of electricity. It’s lucky that these features also make an apartment more attractive, so it’s a win-win situation.
From green building techniques to small interior design elements, there are many things you should keep an eye on when picking out an eco-friendly apartment. Luckily, you can use this text as a guide and create a fool-proof checklist when you’re ready to go looking for your next green apartment.
Derek Lotts is an experienced freelance writer and researcher. His main areas of interest are small business, home improvement, and sustainable living. He strongly believes in the power of sharing knowledge and ideas through the mediums of modern technology.