The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

Living in an Apartment, via Tree Hugger Forums July 23, 2009

Filed under: Apartment,Tips — Alden @ 5:19 pm

UWS AptSo whenever I hear about greening my home, I always think, “I rent. So not going to happen.” In fact, there actually are things I can do. I came across the forum from TreeHugger giving advice to a renter just like me. I’ve posted it here for your use.

…how can an apartment dweller green up their home without making structural changes? …especially since the hot summer is coming up, how can I keep my bungalow cool? -graciela

That’s a good question. I had pushed the thought of greening my apartment to the back of my mind. Especially with a not-so-enthusiastic roommate. But apparently there’s a lot of things! Here was a summary of the most useful answers from the forum that I will try to use in my own apartment:

  • Use draft guards under the doors.
  • Get some hanging plants. – David, greenhb.blogspot.com.
  • Install a piece of thick glass in the casement window, which keeps out the cold and cut down on noise. –David Balch
  • Seek out all the drafts and calk them up,close all the closet doors to avoid heating/cooling unused space,and install glass shelves over the window for a mini garden. – Redambrosia99

Cute idea! Here come some more:

  • Make a water displacer out of a filled plastic container. Not a brick, because it could disintegrate and clog the pipes.
  • Use old fashioned pull down shades under window treatments that will block out extra light, or apply window tint screens.
  • Find and plug all those nooks and crannies that rob heat or a/c. Don’t forget the light switches and plug covers too.
  • Use a candle on a breezy day, and walk from room to room, checking for leaks.
  • Check piping coming into your space – electrical-phone-water. Any gaps? Plug ‘em!” – greenteadrinker

And here is a forum on greening your home from which I’ve chosen the most apartment-relevant tips:

  • Keep windows that are directly exposed to sunshine closed – especially the ones facing west and south.
  • Keep blinds, curtains and other window coverings closed over windows exposed to sunshine.
  • If your window coverings are blinds, keeping their inside edge tilted upwards will block the most heat while still letting some daylight in.
  • While the Sun is still up and shining on your house, try to create a cross draft by opening windows that are shaded.
  • Once the outside air is cooler than the inside of your home, fling your windows open.
  • Ventilate well at night. Leftover hot air will be expelled, and your interior walls, furniture and everything else in your home will be cooled down. The cooler these things get during the night, the more heat they can absorb the next day.
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with more efficient ones

  • Choose energy efficient appliances Not only will they cut your bills by using less electricity; they will also generate less waste heat.
  • Insulate your hot water heater and hot water pipes

  • Consider adding interior features with high thermal mass to your house. Good candidates are shelves, tables, counters and decorative stuff made of dense materials like concrete, ceramics, bricks and marble. 
This extra thermal mass will absorb and store heat – especially if placed close to heat sources – during the day.
 Ventilate well at night to get rid of the stored heat. A steady flow of cooler air will prepare the thermal mass objects for the next day’s heat.

That’s a new one, but a cute idea!

So, on my to do list:

  • Buy some plants
  • Buy some thermal mass? wha? I’ll have to look into that.
  • Start ventilating shaded windows. We only have one shaded window in the living room, while the rest get direct sunlight. So I’ll keep that one open.
  • Hang some thick curtains and shades.
  • Check for air leaks and caulk them up.
  • Displace water in the toilet tank.
  • Close closet doors during they day.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress!

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One Response to “Living in an Apartment, via Tree Hugger Forums”

  1. […] August 11, 2009 Filed under: Apartment, Uncategorized — Alden @ 2:36 am One of my first posts was about making my own apartment more green. So I’m focusing on my own room cuz Vicki usually […]


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