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Top 10 Ways to Go Green in Your First Apartment

By Christopher Schonberger

These days, it’s not so much “go green or go home” as “go green in your home.” Making some environmentally friendly tweaks in the crib is not only easy, but it will also cut down on your gas, water, and electricity bill. Everyone wins!

1. Change your bulbs. Compact fluorescents last up to 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs and use a quarter of the energy. You do the math!

2. Look for certified Energy Star products. An Energy Star TV set can use 30 percent less energy than uncertified ones, and an Energy Star washing machine can save more water than one person drinks in a lifetime.

3. Control your climate control impulses. Experts suggest setting the AC to 78ºF degrees (an insistence on 72ºF degrees will cost you 39 percent more energy). Keep the heat at around 68ºF during the day and 60ºF at night.

4. Kill the “energy vampires.” Unplug appliances like cell phone chargers when you’re not using them—they keep sucking down energy even when nothing’s connected.

5. Buy organic and recycled products. Organic mattresses, sheets, and towels are increasingly mainstream and affordable. Opt for recycled glassware, clean up with eco-friendly household products, and get a reusable shopping bag for trips to the grocery store.

6. Downsize your fridge. Most recent grads don’t keep much more than beer, milk, and a few condiments in their refrigerator, so why go for a massive energy-guzzler?

7. Build good habits. There are so many easy ways to save water and energy that people just overlook. Turn off lights when you leave the room, don’t run the water while you’re brushing your teeth, and take shorter showers (consider installing a low-flow shower head). After a while, these habits will become second nature.

8. Use your dishwasher wisely. Only run your dishwasher when there’s a full load and always use the energy-saving setting. Savings earned: 100 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. If you’re doing dishes by hand, use cold water.

9. Buy some plants. Houseplants not only add a little color to the room, but they are also said to suck down pollutants and purify the air in your apartment. Just remember that you’ll have to water them once in awhile.

10. Get a home energy audit. Many utilities providers offer free home energy audits to find where your home is poorly insulated or energy inefficient. You can save up to 30% off your energy bill and 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, according to the Inconvenient Truth peeps.

For more ideas about green products you can buy for your apartment, check out these tips.

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