Editor’s Note: We will have several guest posts running this week and next as I recover from my recent Australia trip. This is a guest post from Lindsey at Roomorama.
The reasons for choosing to stay in an apartment versus a hotel when one travels are manifold and include exposure to a local lifestyle, eluding tourist traps and the sub-par services they provide, and access to conveniences that simply aren’t offered in a standard hotel room.
To add to that list of why living like a local is an increasingly attractive option: going “green.” I have edited down my reasons why staying at an apartment, such as one listed on Roomorama.com, for those that are more green-friendly. Many of them overlap, and they all operate under the function of sustainability. It is important, however, to point out that we have many obligations towards sustainable living that should expand to all areas of our lives, so while staying at an apartment doesn’t eliminate your carbon footprint, it does certainly reduce it and contribute to a “greener” lifestyle.
1. Air Quality & Temperature Control
Never underestimate the power of an open window! While hotels tend to limit or completely eliminate window- opening capabilities, apartments and houses function to do just the opposite. So let the sun shine in! It’ll help houseplants –another hotel room rarity- and improve air quality and circulation. Finally, windows allow you to control the temperature in a far more green-friendly way: natural breezes are just as effective as that energy-wasting AC, and undeniably sound. Living in a short-term apartment or home rental also allows you to decide what types of cleaning materials will be used to keep things clean during your stay. That way, the industrial strength toxic chemicals that are used in hotels aren’t floating around in your airspace.
Plainly put, apartments and homes have recycling options that hotels simply don’t. Most apartments are required by law to have recycling bins for at least paper and plastic, and homes have regularly scheduled recycling pick up. Hotel rooms have trash bins. Also, using kitchen flatware and utensils altogether eliminates the creation of garbage in the first place. (Unless you throw out your china after one use, in which case this article and blog are probably not for you).
Residential zoning means more services that are catered to you within your immediate vicinity. This helps you avoid the use of cars, taxis, and other environmentally inefficient modes of transport. In that vein, residential areas are almost always situated conveniently near subways, trams, and/or buses, and lots of apartments have bike storage or bike rentals nearby.
4· Water Usage
Unless you’re the type of person to wash your sheets on a daily basis, the amount of water that you’ll save alone is a good enough argument for staying in an apartment. Although some hotels are now required by law to reduce the number of times they wash sheets per week, there is still a stigma attached to reduced washing in hotel rooms. Not so with an apartment –you can clean your sheets as you see fit –and save tons of water in the process. This logic also extends to low flush toilets and energy star appliances, which you are far more likely to find in an apartment than a hotel.
5· Sustainable Consumption
I think it’s safe to assume that your home or apartment will have a kitchen, as most people at some point in their life will cook to feed themselves. When you stay at a hotel this general tenet is thrust aside for the glories of room service and restaurant dining. Two things; you don’t know the source material of your food –that means that you don’t have control over its origin. Secondly, restaurants are concerned with efficiency -not necessarily environmental efficiency: If blasting a dish with water from a high-pressure hose is what will make it clean in the shortest amount of time, so be it. When you cook at home you can eat organically and locally, which means that the production of your food is closer to being environmentally sound. You can also eat in season, which is perhaps most important to maintaining a “green” regiment. Then, after you’ve finished eating your food on non-disposable china, you can wash it at low pressure with organic dish soap and hang it on a rack to be dried by the breeze coming in through your open windows. Full circle.
E-mail Lindsey Piscitell, the author of this post at email@example.com.
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