Going Green in College: 5 Tips to Live Green Off Campus

The world around us has its fair share of problems. With the increasing threat of global warming and the negative effects that pollution has had on the environment, more and more people have started going green. While many generations have become concerned with the environment, Generation Y has become the driving force for change.

Even the nation’s college students have become invested in the world around them, despite having a number of other things on their mind. Students are bogged down by homework, extracurricular activities, sports, and internships; all while trying to make it to class, study, and work towards a degree (not to mention, most college students try to balance these stresses with an active social life). Unfortunately, issues like environmental protection often take a back seat to the other things on the mind of a student during their four years in the college bubble.

For many, college is the first time that students will live on their own and on a budget. Students try to make the most of their limited funds, balancing spending between rent, utilities, and other essentials like groceries.  However, most college students don’t realize that by going green, they can actually save some “green”.

When I say, “going green,” many people will think immediately of environmentally friendly light bulbs and windows and hybrid cars, all of which won’t fit very easily into a college student’s budget.  While those things do combat global warming, there are easier ways to reduce your energy output.  It is entirely possible to go green in college, and here are a few ways you can keep the earth fresh and your wallet full.

  1. Heating and Air Conditioning: By turning your thermostat up by just one degree in the summer or down by just one degree in the winter, you can save 5% on your energy costs and lower your emissions significantly.
  2. Recycling: By using a refillable water bottle and reusable plates, you can save money by not having to buy disposable kitchenware and will reduce the amount of garbage and recycling you accumulate.
  3. Shower: By taking shorter and colder showers with a low-flow showerhead, you can save money on your water bill and reduce the amount of water you waste
  4. Lighting: By turning off the lights when you leave your apartment and using natural light as much as possible, you can save on your energy consumption and lower your electric bill.
  5. Appliances: When cooking small portions, using a microwave or toaster will allow you to save more energy than when you use an oven.  While doing laundry, the heating of the water is what uses the most energy.  By using cold water for your spin cycle, you can save on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint.

Many of these steps for going green in college seem like common sense, but most people don’t even consider them while going about their daily activities. For college students, these simple tips make it easy and affordable to follow through with concerns for the environment. Now it is up to our generation to hold on to our planet and our money.

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Living Off Campus

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