Having a Roommate Not only Helps Split the Cost of Living, It May Help the Environment
CHICAGO (April 19, 2012) – Recently, news reports have indicated more young professionals are choosing to live alone, yet this is in conflict with a recent survey conducted by Apartments.com that found the majority of respondents (63.3 percent) are living with roommates. While conversations continue examining this topic from a social viewpoint, another aspect to consider is the environmental impact of the roommate lifestyle.
The 2012 What Renters Want moving survey from Apartments.com found most people are still choosing to live with roommates with only 36.7 percent of respondents indicating they plan to live alone this year. Women edge out men in who will be sharing space. Of the female respondents surveyed, 66.7 percent said they would share their living space compared to 56.3 percent of male respondents. This is good news, because a 2007 study from the University College London found single-person households in Britain use 55 percent more electricity per person than family or group households. Additionally, the research shows single-person households consume 38 percent more products, 42 percent more packaging and 61 percent more gas per capita than four-person households.
“Year after year we continue to hear that the environment is an important issue to renters, independent of their living arrangements,” says Tammy Kotula, public relations manager, Apartments.com. “All too often living with a roommate is overlooked as an environmentally-friendly or sustainable-living solution.”
That said, choosing to live alone does not mean a person does not care about the environment. There are green options for every renter. Examples would be carpooling with a neighbor to the grocery store or jointly purchasing and splitting bulk items purchased at mass retailers.
Whether living alone or with a roommate, there are many ways for renters to reduce their carbon footprint. Leading up to Earth Day on April 22, 2012, Apartments.com provides five sustainable tips environmentally-friendly renters can put into practice today.
- Help Pave a Path to Green For Landlords: Renters can show their landlord the energy-efficient light by passing on some eco-friendly tips that answer their bottom line. This includes installing energy-efficient appliances, suggesting eco-options for floors, countertops, paint and efficient windows. Not only will this help landlords save money on energy costs, but also better the environment. If 10,000 landlords of high-rise apartment buildings make Energy Star-suggested changes, the energy saved could power each of their TVs for 1,640,625 years.
- Be a Savvy Shopper: Cut down on the amount of paper or plastic consumed by bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. If eco-friendly shoppers forget their tote, ensure those plastic grocery bags get reused to line garbage cans or when scooping kitty litter. Additionally, fuel and distribution costs can be reduced by shopping at local farmers’ markets instead of large chain grocery stores for produce.
- Kick the Bottled Water Habit: Americans use four million plastic bottles every hour – but only one in four is recycled. Instead of reaching for bottled water, use a water filter on the kitchen faucet and fill up a non-leaching, lined aluminum SIGG bottle with filtered tap water. If 10,000 people gave up their daily bottled water habit for a year, they could keep the weight of a small elephant from emptying into the waste stream.
- Just Say “No” to Junk Mail: Junk mail is more than just annoying, it’s wasteful. If everyone in the US reduced the junk mail they receive each week by an average of 10.8 pieces per person, nearly 100 million trees could be saved each year. There are multiple websites where people can find online forms to remove their name from junk mail lists.
- Use Power Strips to Avoid “Phantom Load:” A phantom load is the energy sapped by appliances when they are plugged in but not turned on. In the average home, this accounts for 40% of the energy bill! Plug appliances into power strips to turn off your TV, DVD, stereo, and cell phone charger in one fell swoop. If 10,000 people plug their cable boxes into power strips that are turned off when not watching TV, significant savings will add up to around $300,000 per year.
Feeling like an especially “green roomie”? Be sure to enter the Apartments.com Roommate of the Year contest and enter your online video entry in the Environmentalist category for a chance to win free rent for a year, plus $10,000. Learn more at www.roommateoftheyear.com.