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7 Must-Have Kitchen Essentials for Green Homes

compost

Settling into a new apartment or house? Check out this  list of our favorite seven must-have kitchen essentials for green homes:

Bamboo Cooking Utensils – Bamboo is a sustainable wood that grows fast. Making kitchen utensils from this material is an affordable,  eco-friendly, and beautiful option.

Beeswax Food Wrap – This alternative to plastic wrap is instead made from cotton, beeswax and jojoba oil. It is reusable and simple to use.

Counter-top Compost Bin – It is much easier to save scraps of  veggies and fruits if the compost bin is in a convenient location. This counter-top compost bin serves as a good reminder for kids and adults of  where to put the organic waste. The air circulation vents slow down bacteria growth, so flies and odors don’t accumulate.

Reusable Sandwich Bags – If you pack a lunch for work or school, these reusable sandwich bags are perfect! Choose from zipper, fold over, or Velcro closure.

Cloth Napkins – Use cloth napkins again and again instead of  disposable paper napkins. They’re also more affordable and come in a wide selection of colors and styles.

Grease Keeper – Did you know that cooking oil can be used more than once? After frying up something yummy, store the used oil in a jar for the next time. This model includes a stainless steel strainer to keep out any food crumbs.

Energy Star Appliances – If your kitchen has outdated appliances, they may be costing you a small fortune in energy consumption. Choose a new refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, or oven with the Energy Star label.

When evaluating the Eco-friendliness of any product, one question to ask yourself is, “How much will I use this item?” If the answer is “not very often”, it may be best to leave the item at the store. Just do the same job with another tool.

Buying unnecessary or rarely used items, even if they’re made with green materials, does not actually help reduce product consumption. So, although the list above are some of our favorite items, please think carefully before purchasing.

For more information on low-energy homes, contact us !

 


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5 Green Living Temperature Control Tips

AC remote control

Heating and air conditioning are the two biggest expenses that apartment dwellers have to deal with. While the simple solution might be to just turn the thermostat until you’re comfortable, there are more energy efficient methods to keep your home cozy no matter what the temperature outside is. For those interested in green living, these tips can also save energy and ensure you’re using the fewest possible resources.

#5: Don’t Be Afraid to Wear A Snuggy

Moving your thermostat as little as 2 degrees can make a big difference both in the amount of resources you’re using, and in the final cost on your monthly bill. If you want to save money and not use more energy then taking the old-time parental advice of putting on a sweater when you’re cold is one of the easiest things you can do. The lower you set the thermostat in the winter, and the higher you set it in the summer, the less energy you use.

#4: Cover Your Windows

While the view in your apartment might be one of the main reasons you rent, that view can also suck out the heat or let in the cold. Closing the blinds and curtains might keep the interior a little darker than you’d like, but it can keep the temperature inside cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter without the need for additional correction.

#3: Make Your Own Green Space Heater

If it’s cold outside you don’t need to crank up the thermostat; just get two clay flower pots, a small cake pan, a strip of aluminum foil, and some tea light candles. Set the cake pan on a solid surface (with a towel under it just to be safe if you’re worried about the heat, and put two to four tea lights in it. Atop the pan put a small clay flower pot and cover the drainage hole with a piece of aluminum foil. Over the small flower pot put a bigger flower pot that rests on the cake pan while covering most of it. The heat will multiply because it’s being kept in a small area, rising up through the flower pot even as cool air comes in from below; the result is a simple space heater that costs pennies to use and which works for four hours or more.

#2: Change Out Your Air

When the summer months start heating up it’s imperative to make sure your apartment doesn’t get too stuffy. Therefore you need to swap your air out when the air outside is cooler than the air inside. Late nights and early mornings are prime times for getting cooler air in your place, but once the sun’s started to rise it’s a good idea to close your windows and draw the curtains to keep that air cool.

#1: Go Underground If You Can

While basement apartments might not be the ideal for lots of people, they are one of the most stable places when it comes to temperature. Warm in the winter and cool in the summer, basements may eliminate the need for artificial heating or air conditioning entirely, beyond a warm sweater or a fan depending on the time of year.

For more great information about green living in an apartment setting contact us today!


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What to Look for When Hunting for an Apartment

Wood Partners - Alta Warner Signage

If you are in the market for an apartment to rent you may be overwhelmed by all of the options. How do you decide which apartment is right for you? Here are some tips that will help you determine what to look for in your new apartment.

Consider Your Priorities

Is it important for you to be close to your place of employment or would you prefer to be located in a vibrant community a little further from work? Determine if you find it valuable to be near shops and restaurants. Is access to transportation vital? Once you decide which aspects are a priority you will be able to narrow your search significantly.

Take Notes

Once you have limited the number of options you can start visiting apartments. Since it can be easy to get multiple apartments confused when you reflect back later on, take notes during your visits. If possible take pictures as well. When you sit down to think through which apartment is the best match for you it will be helpful to have the notes and/or pictures to refresh your memory.

Understand the Finances 

Before you start looking make sure you know what you can afford to pay each month. In addition, be sure to understand all of the costs of each potential apartment. Find out if utilities are included. Is there a charge for parking? It is important to know what you will need to pay for, beyond the rent, each month to make sure you can afford the apartment.

Investigate the Details

When you attend an open house or take a tour feel free to check all aspects of the apartment. This includes opening closets and running water in the sinks. Look underneath sinks and evaluate and storage spaces. Look inside of appliances that will be included with the apartment. Be sure you have a full understanding of all aspects of place you will be living.

Using these tips you will locate the apartment that is right for you! For additional tips on apartment living and what to look for when hunting for an apartment don’t hesitate to contact us at Wood Partners.


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Preparing to Host Thanksgiving in Your Apartment

Thanksgiving

It is time to start preparing for the upcoming Holiday season. The first event to start planning for is Thanksgiving. Hosting it at your own residence is a fantastic way of ensuring a memorable event. You will be able to control who you invite and prepare a menu including your favorite dishes. If you are living in an apartment you will want to consider how best to host this major holiday. Often space and seating are a concern but any potential issues can be overcome with advance planning.

Seating Options

Once you have decided who you want to invite, you will have an idea of how many people will be attending. Ideally everyone will be able to sit together but in many homes that is just not possible. Tips to provide the best possible seating include:

  • Consider serving Thanksgiving dinner in a room that is not typically a place you would eat if it provides the amount of space you need.
  • Rearrange furniture to allow additional room.
  • Consider removing and storing coffee tables and other furniture pieces that you won’t need for the duration of the event. This may be enough to give you the extra space you need.
  • If guests will be divided into different locations for the meal consider rearranging the seating assignments when dessert is served so guests have a chance to visit with everyone throughout the evening.

Borrow Furniture

If you don’t have enough seats to accommodate all of the guests, considering borrowing. Ask your guests if they can bring folding chairs and/or a folding table. If you buy additional tables and chairs you will need to find a place to store them until a future need arises. Unless you plan to host large groups frequently this is often inconvenient. Therefore it is best to just borrow or even rent what you need for the day.

Decorate Without Sacrificing Space

If space is limited, you will obviously want to select decorations that do not reduce your space even further. Consider using seasonal table clothes and placemats. Napkin rings are a nice touch that don’t add bulk to the table. Instead of a large flower arrangement as a centerpiece select something that won’t take up valuable room like candles. By decorating your table in this way you will give the entire event the appropriate Holiday feel. In addition, hang a Thanksgiving wreath on the door to provide a nice welcome for guests.

Hosting a major holiday, like Thanksgiving, is not only possible in an apartment but can be fun. Following the above tips will help you plan a memorable event. Contact us for additional apartment living tips!