Living in a condo in the city is actually more environmentally friendly compared to living in a suburb. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reports* that a person who lives in a downtown building uses only a third of the usual energy consumption of a person who lives in a typical suburban community.
So if you’re thinking of downsizing to a condo, or buying a condo instead of a house, that’s probably going to be good new for your pocket book, as you’ll use far less energy heating and cooling your home, and you’ll potentially reduce the amount of gasoline you burn since you may not have to drive as much. But apart from making the condo choice in the first place, what else can you do to save energy and water in your condo?
We’ve teamed up with Mondev Condos, which develops Montreal condos for sale, to offer this list of the 15 best ways to save energy and water in your condo.
Best Ways to Save Energy and Water in Your Condo
- Install a low-flow showerhead. This ensures you don’t waste water unnecessarily every time you shower.
- Think 1.6 gallons for your toilet. You don’t need a tank that holds several gallons of water to flush well. 1.6 is the accepted water-saving standard these days. Choose a water-saving toilet when buying new, or displace water in the tank you have using a plastic bottle weighted down with gravel. This way, you’ll use less water every time you flush the toilet.
- Hang insulated drapes. By covering your windows with cellular blinds or blackout curtains, you’ll be able to lower your heating bills by reducing the amount of hot air coming in through the windows during the summer, and cold air coming in during the winter.
- Insulate attic, walls, and crawl spaces. These are especially useful for outlets that face an exterior wall. If you put your fingers in front of the outlet, you will be able to feel cold air coming into the room if the outlet isn’t insulated.
- Compost. Organize a community composting pick-up for your condo complex so all you need to do is collect your kitchen waste, then put it out at the curb for easy collection.
- Place mobile draft stoppers near your door sill. If you can’t weatherstrip or insulate the door, at least put down a door stopper to block cold air from coming in.
- Insulate your windows. Use weatherstripping or caulk you can get at your local hardware store to seal leaky windows.
- Replace old light bulbs with LED lights. LEDs are the most efficient bulbs on the market. Though they cost a little bit more, they save a lot more energy, and last longer, as well.
- Switch off your lights and electronics if no one’s home. Often times, people forget to turn off the lights when they leave for work, or even when they’re away for a holiday. You can make this simple by installing sensors in your rooms that will automatically turn the lights off when no movement in the room is detected.
- Choose ENERGY STAR appliances. Refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes driers, most electronics, and even your HVAC system are all available in highly efficient models. Check ENERGYSTAR.gov before you buy.
- Install a surge protector to avoid unnecessary spikes in energy use. Power bars also prevent phantom power with just one switch.
- Repair any leaking faucets and toilets. Leaks make up 13% of home water usage. You can actually do this job yourself – check this video.
- Install aerators on your faucets and showerhead so you can further save water. You will usually just need to screw it onto the faucet to avoid splashing a stream of water when you open the faucet.
- Bicycle, Walk, Use Mass Transit. Depending on your proximity to city center, you might be able to get a bike-sharing station set up in your condo complex to link your community to other parts of the city by bike. Even without bike sharing, take advantage of your proximity to work, shopping and entertainment by riding your own bike, walking or using mass transit.
- Create an organic community garden and set up a farmers market or CSA for your complex. Making it easy to grown your own organic food will save you money and trips to the grocery store. Getting a CSA to deliver pre-reserved bags of locally grown food to your complex will also cut down on how much grocery shopping you need to do while providing a reliable source of delicious fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and in some cases, meats.
Improving the efficiency of your home will not only save you money and help protect the planet. It will also increase the resale value of your property when you finally sell.