Green buildings, or those that are environmentally friendly, are increasing in popularity. New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability is helping carry out initiatives laid out in One City: Built to Last that is designed to reduce buildings-based emissions by 30% by 2025 compared to 2005 levels.
While your building may be going green, you may choose to make your apartment green. There is a cost associated with that, although there are potential savings down the road from lower utility bills. We provide guidance on the price of going green.
There is a variety of eco-friendly floor choices. Cork is relatively new flooring. It comes from the bark of a cork oak tree, meaning the entire tree is not cut down. The bark grows back every three years, making it a nice environmental choice. There are also advantages such as being fire retardant, reduced allergens and being easy to maintain. This durable material can last between 10 and 30 years. It can cost $3 to $8 per square foot, plus another $1 to install.
Bamboo is another popular choice. It is actually grass, but do not let that fool you. Bamboo shares similar characteristics with hardwood flooring, and it is a durable as well as being easy to install and maintain. Pre-finished, it should cost $2 – $7 per square foot.
Polyester (P.E.T.) Berber and wool are two good choices if you like carpet, or are required to install it as part of your house rules. The former, made of recycled plastic, is durable and stain-resistant. The typical cost is about $3.25 to $3.55 per square foot, plus another $1.35 to $1.50 for installation. Wool carpet is made from a natural substance. Costs vary widely, from $5 to $26 a square foot.
Conserving water is not only environmentally friendly but also provides savings on your utility bill. There is a dual flush toilet, which can cost between $250 and $400, slightly more expensive than a conventional one. You should recoup this quickly since your estimated annual water bill is about $50 lower. A low-flow showerhead can use 25% less water.
There is a wide range of eco-friendly tile options. Bamboo, concrete ($2-$6 per square foot), and natural stone ($7-$35) are some popular choices. Linoleum ($2-$5) has been making a comeback due to its green properties and durability.
The cost of a kitchen remodel can vary widely, from under $10,000 to over $50,000. However, experts estimate a green kitchen costs 20%-30% more than a typical remodel. There are ways to lower that figure, providing you are willing to make comprises.
Look for energy efficient appliances by using the EPA’s Energy Star rating. Stainless steel is an environmentally friendly choice, but you can expect to pay much more.
Typically, rooftop panels are found in single-family homes, but you can still use solar energy if you are an apartment dweller. You can shop for smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other electronics that use solar energy to recharge. You can find solar chargers ranging from a few dollars to a couple of thousand.
There are also basic things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, such as using certain cleaning supplies and unplugging devices when you are not using them. Use care with your thermostat, which can save you money since heating and cooling is at least 50% of your utility bill. Light is another major contributor to your utility bill. Using fluorescent bulbs are known to use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and can last six times longer.