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4 Easy Ways to Live Green in NYC

building-1481534_960_720Finding an apartment in New York City can be a difficult task; in fact, at one point last year, there were literally no vacancies in Manhattan.  In response, new apartments are being built as we speak, yet they are filled just as quickly, due to the already large population and an influx of newcomers to the city. This is all great, of course; we welcome aspiring New Yorkers with open arms. Yet for those with an interest in living a life of sustainability and energy efficiency, finding an apartment to suit those needs may not always be possible.

However, there are some things you can do on your own, to ensure that you’re doing your part to protect and heal our environment, and our beloved city.

1. Lighting
In the city that never sleeps, lighting is important. You don’t have to sit in the dark, but making simple changes like turning off the lights in rooms you’re not using, and purchasing energy efficient light bulbs, are a great first step in being more eco-friendly. Bulbs like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) use much less energy than the standard halogen bulb, to do the same job. As a bonus, they lower the cost of your energy bill, and allow you to save more money over time.

2. Shopping
Another relatively easy thing you can do is invest in reusable bags. When it’s time for grocery shopping or running errands, take your bags along. Doing so decreases the need for disposable plastic bags, which are one of the most common pollutants worldwide. They are such a problem in NYC that lawmakers have introduced legislation to begin charging consumers a 5 cents fee, to discourage their use.

3. Laundry
When washing clothes, use cold water–even for whites, as hot water requires more energy. Afterward, consider skipping out on the dryer. You’ll find that many New Yorkers still air dry their clothes, and some buildings have clothing lines attached outside. If your building doesn’t simply hang them in the house using a drying rack, which you can easily find online.

4. Thermostat

In terms of keeping your house cool, purchase blackout curtains or blinds to keep out sunlight. Use an oscillating fan to get a good flow of air throughout your space. If a fan doesn’t cut it for you, look for an AC with an energy star rating, and make the thermostat warmer when you’re not home.