As winter quarter is rapidly coming to a close (when did that happen, by the way), the time for planning next year’s housing arrangements is at hand. For some, myself included, this means expanding views out past Western’s campus and into the world of Bellingham real estate.
It’s a time of exploration into the next level of the adult world where you can have your own room, you don’t have to check in with an RA and you’re free to spread your wings a little wider. But among all the excitement, it can be exceedingly easy to forget that no matter where you live, the choices you make still have an impact on the environment.
If I hadn’t been a part of SEED these last two years reminding me to stay aware of the energy, water and waste I produce everyday, I feel certain sustainability would be one of the farthest things from my mind while apartment hunting.
But since deciding to move off campus, I’ve begun considering how I can continue to incorporate SEED into my daily life. In the end, I decided, it’s all about maintaining the sense of accountability that the program has used to give me such a valuable perspective on sustainability.
Here are a few things I’ve come up with:
- Keep small signs or Post-it notes around outlets and light switches could help you remember to turn off and unplug any unnecessary devices when they’re not in use.
- Look for LED light fixtures to brighten your space could help keep energy use at a minimum.
- Find out if your complex has composting facilities. If not, a quick online search could help you find your nearest option.
- Find out about your complex’s recycling options. Take a picture of one of the sorting guides around Western so you can continue to keep unnecessary waste out of landfills.
- Set a timer before you get in the shower. After a few minutes, the alarm will help you remember that every minute you spend soaking in the hot water quickly adds up in terms of water use.
- Use natural light to illuminate and heat your space when you can. Leaving curtains and shades open during the times of the brightest sunlight can help warm up your apartment, and closing them during the nighttime hours can help keep that warmth inside.
- Open windows instead of using an air conditioner. Keeping cool with some fresh air just sounds much nicer than recycled air anyway.
For any one else in the process of moving off of campus, I wish you the best of luck. To those of you thinking you’ll return to the dorms for another year, I wish you the best as well. And for all of us, I wish for continued strides toward a sustainable future.
Until next time,
More information regarding living sustainably while off campus.