While apartment living comes with some constraints, a renter or condo owner can still create a clean, green, energy-efficient home environment. Chloe, who rents a small apartment in Syracuse, New York, is committed to making sure she is as clean and efficient in her energy use as possible.
Apartment life can be energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Take a look at what a day in Chloe’s energy-conscious apartment might look like – it may spark some ideas for your own abode.
6:50am – Chloe’s smart-home thermostat turns her heat up from its low overnight setting to a comfortable, step-into-the-shower temperature. She didn’t even have to program the smart thermostat, because, after a few days, the technology simply “learned” her routine. In a typical home, a smart thermostat pays for itself in less than two years.
7:00am – Chloe’s alarm goes off. She gets up and opens the insulating window shades on her well-sealed, weatherized windows. In a nearby condo, Chloe’s friend Jenny has taken this concept even further, installing “smart windows” by Raven Window. A thermochromic filter incorporated into the Raven glass detects external temperatures and adjusts to keep the interior space either cooler or warmer, depending on the time of year. Chloe has talked to her landlord about similar options for her own apartment in the future.
7:05am – Chloe plugs in her coffee maker and starts her morning routine. All the devices in her apartment that could drain electricity, such as her Smart TV, laptop, game consoles, cell phone charger, etc., remain unplugged until Chloe actually uses them, to avoid the “vampire” phenomenon. Vampire outlets hungrily suck electricity out of some electronic gadgets, even when the devices are off or in sleep mode.
7:15am – Chloe flips on the lights above her bathroom vanity, which utilize energy-efficient, money-saving bulbs. All the fixtures in Chloe’s apartment use LEDs (light-emitting diodes), halogen incandescent, or CFL (compact fluorescent lamps) lightbulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating. The main lighting in her living area is controlled by her smart thermostat device and is also equipped with dimmers.
8:05am – Chloe leaves for work. She has unplugged all of her unused devices, including her coffee maker and phone charger. Her smart thermostat automatically turns down the heat in her apartment. In the summer, the smart thermostat will control her A/C in a similar way, saving as much energy as possible while Chloe is away.
10:00am - After catching up on her morning emails, Chloe remembers that she received her Arcadia clean energy statement yesterday. She logs in to her Arcadia personalized dashboard to check out her clean energy usage from the past month. Chloe generated 320 kWh of clean wind energy this month. She has now generated the clean energy equivalent of planting over 2,000 trees! Chloe is excited and decides to share her impact numbers with her social channels.
12:15pm – On her lunch break, Chloe researches the Community Solar program that her friend Jenny just joined through Arcadia. It turns out that as an Arcadia member, she already qualifies for free to access local community solar savings in her area, even as a renter! She determines that there is nothing she has to do to sign up and can’t wait to see solar savings on her bill once she is added to a local project.
5:35pm – On her way home from work, Chloe stops by an electronic store and picks up an advanced power strip (APS), which will prevent her vampire energy effect. She chooses the activity monitor APS, which can also turn off her TV for her if she falls asleep while watching.
5:50pm – Chloe’s smart thermostat automatically bumps her apartment heating system back up to her desired level, and turns on the light in her entryway and living room. Now the apartment is warm and inviting when she steps in at 6:00!
7:15pm – After dinner, which she prepared on her ENERGY STAR cooktop, Chloe loads her dirty dishes into her ENERGY STAR dishwasher. She selected this particular apartment partly because it had these energy-saving devices, and she admired her landlord’s positive attitude toward energy conservation. Chloe made sure her landlord knew about the rebates and tax credit he could receive from buying ENERGY STAR appliances.
11:05pm – Chloe programs the dishwasher to run overnight, at off-peak hours, to reduce the general strain on the local power grid. She checks that all her lights are off and that the smart thermostat is properly lowering the temperature in her apartment. She no longer has to unplug her electronic devices, because of her new APS.