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How Renting is Greener than Owning

renting is greener than owning

When you think about it, the average apartment unit size per family size is probably smaller than the average house size per family size. This, at the outset, gives an advantage to renters: with a smaller area, you’ll use less energy to provide heating or cooling to satisfy the same amount of people. But some statistics, provided by the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario in 2012, may surprise you. It turns out that renting is significantly greener than owning.

Statistics[i]

APARTMENTS ARE GREENER THAN SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

  • 65% less energy use per household
  • 40% less water per capita
  • 60% less waste 10 km shorter commute distance to work

RENTERS ARE GREENER THAN OWNERS

  • 50% less energy used per household 8.4 km shorter commute each day
  • 32% less likely to use a car
  • 150% more likely to take transit
  • 175% more likely to walk

This is good news. Not only is the rental market booming in the United States, but other green initiatives are combing to create a market climate better for the environment and better for our wallets.

Could there be a better time to rent?


[i]Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario. (2012, February 08). Apartment Living Is Green. Retrieved August 23, 2016, from frpo.org, http://web.archive.org/web/20140208064830/http://www.frpo.org/documents/2012%20Apartment%20Living%20is%20Green.pdf

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Get Fit with Apartment Amenities

get fit

The summer is the perfect time to get in shape. Trips to the beach, vacations, and yard work in the hot sun call for sleeveless tees and beach attire. If you live in an apartment community, now you won’t have to leave your home, or break your budget, to get in shape.

Gym

Want to run in air conditioning? Most apartments with gyms have treadmills if nothing else. And for casual strength trainers, do a few cable-based exercises to compliment the run. Apartments with gyms are fantastic for procrastinators because all the excuses for skipping—the drive, the cost—are eliminated. And you most likely won’t need a spotter for your lifts, because most apartments will have cable-based equipment only.

Pool

Swimming in the pool is a great way to burn calories and relax at the same time. When you run, you’ll sweat. Do you ever remember sweating while swimming? Also, who doesn’t like floating? Buy a small pool hoop and basketball to compliment the swim. Work on your dunk game while exercising. You can also swim laps and see how close you can get to a Michael Phelps time (given, you probably won’t have an Olympic size pool). The pool is a great way to exercise while also enjoying yourself.

Bark Park

Have an energetic dog? Maybe it doesn’t get enough exercise. Jog with your pet to the dog park, then teach it some tricks. Many bark parks have agility training equipment. With a bag of treats in hand and some determination, you’ll be surprised how much discipline a dog can acquire with a few weeks training. And if there is no equipment, at least you’ll have some open room to play fetch with your dog.

Attaining your fitness goals can be a breeze when you live in an apartment community. Those amenities aren’t for nothing. Take advantage of all your community offers!

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A History of Labor Day

The beginnings of Labor Day: The Pullman Strike

Labor Day is here. For most of us, that means a day off work, the beginning of school, or a bid adieu to summer. But how did the first Monday of every September become a holiday? From its murky origins to its present day vacation placeholder, the history of Labor Day is a long one.

George Pullman and the Railroad Sleeping Car Company

Outside the melting pot of 1880s urban Chicago, businessman George Pullman founded a “worker’s paradise.” Visionary in its ideals, the company town of Pullman, Illinois, was the largest and earliest of its kind. Some 6,000 company employees bought from company-owned markets, lived in company-owned rentals, and learned and dined at company-owned churches, libraries, and entertainment venues.[i]

This idea of a company town was not new. It was a common practice among mining companies to establish these towns to minimize payout to employees. With upcharges for everything, a miner’s take-home check diminished to the point of nonexistence, and at times a miner could owe debts to their companies. Some executies established company towns to maximize profits.

But Pullman’s idea was radical. Outside the lure of a frenetic Chicago, a town of peace, order, and prosperity would exist on the foundation of labor rights. According to Pullman, a company-owned town could be good for workers because the company controls value of goods. And since the company also determines paychecks, the worker, in theory, would require less compensation for a high-quality life.

The company town would provide a prosperity to its workers unattainable in other towns.

The Pullman Strike[ii]

During the Pullman Strike of 1894, the first meat Train leaving Chicago Stock Yards was escorted by United States Cavalry, July 10, 1894.

For about 14 years the town instituted Pullman’s ideas, and they worked. Then the economic panic of 1893 befell the nation. Demand for Pullman cars plummeted. And on May 11, 1894, nearly 4,000 factory employees went on strike.[iii]

The reasons for the Pullman Strike were many: Pullman disallowed any employee from buying or renting a house outside the company town; Pullman had a “paternalistic” governing style, forbidding any democratic initiatives to influence governance; and, as profits and paychecks declined with the demand for Pullman cars, rent remained unmoved.

As the strike gained attention, the American Railways Union (ARU) joined the cause, led by Eugene V. Debs. The ARU called for a nationwide boycott of Pullman cars. Union and non-union members eventually rioted, burning railcars and obstructing railroads.

President Glover Cleveland, under pressure by stifled mail trains and anxious railroad executives, declared the strike a federal crime. 12,000 troops deployed to Illinois to discontinue protests. A story of ensuing violence is told by the Huffington Post.[iv] The clashes between troops and protesters signified an end to the strike. It concluded on August 3, 1894, at peak involving some 250,000 rail employees in over 27 states[v]

When the Pullman Strike ends, the ARU disbands, Debs finds himself in prison for six months, and Pullman employees sign pledges stating they’d never unionize again. The outfall stultified union growth and development across the nation until the Great Depression.

A National Holiday

1894 was an election year. And Cleveland’s tactics for ending the Pullman strike was looked upon as ignominious. Picking up on sentiment from union workers in New York City, who in September of 1892 took unpaid time off to protest for a national labor holiday, Cleveland sought to appease working voters.

Six days after troops toppled the Pullman strike, a national labor holiday bill appeared on Cleveland’s desk, after passing through Congress with unanimous favorable votes in both houses. Thus Labor Day was born.

A description of Labor Day, found in the PBS archive,[v] is given by Samuel Gompers, then head of the American Federation of Labor, calling it:

“the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed…that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.”

Labor Day Today

Though a century displaced, the spirit of the labor holiday movement can be seen in eight hour work days, overtime pay, vacation days, and many other modern labor laws.

But the intention of Labor Day seems all but lost. According to “Labor Unions in the United States,” only about 11.3% of United States workers belong to unions, down from some 35% at peak membership in 1954.[VI] Seen as vital around the turn of the 20th century, and following massive organizing efforts after WWII, reflections on labor and work seems to have dwindled with union politics.

For many people, Labor Day weekend signifies the unofficial end of summer. And for most, it is enough to spend time with family and friends, with a day off from work.


[i] Company town (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Company_town#Pullman_lesson

[ii] The origins of labor day. (1996). Retrieved September 1, 2016, from News Desk, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/business-july-dec01-labor_day_9-2/

[iii] Pullman strike (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pullman_Strike

[iv] Delaney, A. (2014, September 1). The bloody origin of labor day. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/01/labor-day-2014_n_5738262.html

[v] Ibid.

[VI] Labor unions in the United States (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_unions_in_the_United_States#Post-World_War_II

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How to Create a Basic Budget

how to save money

Money in the future isn’t a matter of relying on every paycheck coming in exactly as expected. If you save up, the future looks a lot different. You can plan trips and large purchases ahead of time. It’ll take all the stress out of spending, and it’ll take a lot of stress out of living. Here are some tips to get you started.

Establish Goals

Why do you make money? To pay bills? What else? Do you want to fund a hobby, go on a trip, plan for a future child’s schooling? If you create goals, you’ll be able to reach them with financial plans—estimate how much you need, how much you make, and how much time you’ll have, then the rest is easy. These considerations are the foundations for any budget.

Basic Budgeting

Some people hate this word. But budgeting is the only way to get your money to work for you. Of course, you work to earn money, but have you thought about the ways in which you can, now, become more independent from your earnings? That’s what making your money work for you means.

When you’re hanging out with friends, or that new video game is released, it’s easy to blow the latest paycheck. In these situations, it can seem like your always chasing that next payday. Create an expense sheet. List all your monthly expenses—estimate if you need to, for your food and gas costs, for instance. Then add all your income per month together. Now subtract your expenses from your income. The money left over is free for you to save or assign to different goals or wants for the rest of the month. It’s a good policy, however, to try to save at least ten percent of what you make monthly in a savings account. And many people recommend only spending about 5% of your monthly budget for entertainment.

This is just an extremely basic budgeting strategy. But there are plenty of strategies available online. Whatever you do, plan ahead!

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Living Next to a Loud Neighbor

living next to a loud neighbor

It’s a renter’s worst nightmare. Loud, thumping noises from the ceiling at night. Booming music from across the hall. What can be done? Chances are, you’ll be seeing your neighbors for a while, especially if you just signed a lease. Here are some tips for resolving noise issues with your neighbor in a courteous way.

The Right Place

The easiest way to deal with a loud neighbor is to avoid one altogether. When you visit your next apartment community, talk with the office staff about your schedule to determine with them the best place for you to stay. Are there sections of the apartment community that stay home all day? That leave for work early? Come up with some questions that’ll help you determine an area perfect for your own routine.

Securing an upper floor apartment is also an easy way to eliminate a possible source of noise: the ceiling. With an upper floor room, you won’t have to worry about running children, jumping pets, and falling objects.

Communication and Empathy

Some unexpected noise is to be expected when you live in a community. So it’s good to be understanding, especially if it’s a first offense or a holiday, maybe even a move-in day. When you haven’t heard loud noises from your neighbor before, trying to think about the situation from your neighbor’s point of view is helpful.

If occurrences are frequent, or even if they aren’t, talk with your neighbor. Maybe they don’t know how loud they are. Sometimes walls can seem thicker than they are. Or maybe they just haven’t lived in an apartment community before. Whatever it is, the noise can be an honest mistake.

But if talking with the offender doesn’t work, and giving them the benefit of the doubt doesn’t either, write a note, and give the same note to your property manager. Bringing the apartment manager into the conversation can be crucial. It’s also important to discuss the situation with other neighbors. Maybe your problem is theirs. And maybe you can talk with the neighbor as a group if needed.

Dealing with a noise problem is as simple as communicating with your neighbors and property manager. But the noise problem is also avoidable. Move to an apartment with a game plan to put your best foot forward.

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How to Recycle When Your Apartment Community Doesn’t

how to recycle when apartment doesn't

Everyone knows the slogan: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” But not everywhere you go or everywhere you live will have established recycling practices. This can be tough for environmentally conscious people. But, in our day, it’s not the final word on whether you recycle. If you find yourself in an apartment community that doesn’t recycle, here are some tips for getting on track.

Website for Locating Recycling Centers Near You

The first step to recycling is finding a place to recycle. Earth911.Com lists recycling centers near you. You can even search for centers by material type. It’s one of North America’s largest recycling databases, containing over 350 materials and 100,000+ listings. You’re bound to find a recycling center near you.

Establish a Recycling System

It’s easiest to recycle when you purchase separate bins or trash cans for different material types. Unless you can find a recycling center that will take most, if not everything, you will recycle at your home, you’ll need more than one bin. Labeling bins will be helpful to your guests and will prevent mixing materials that can’t be recycled together.

Ask Your Neighbors

Your neighbors might be interested in joining your recycling endeavor. Ask around. Maybe you can set up a system that works for your neighbors too. This will definitely cut costs: purchase a community bin and carpool to the recycling center. Create a rotating schedule so that nobody has to take trips to the recycling center often.

Reduce and Reuse

Don’t forget the rest of the slogan. Recycling, though a very important part of going green, is only one step in the process. A more mindful approach involves reducing consumption and reusing what you can.

Plastic water bottles and gas station coffee cups are a few of the easiest products to reduce your consumption of. Simply buy a ten dollar water bottle, or a ten dollar coffee mug, and you’ll be set for thousands of refills. Think of all the landfill space you’ll save. You’ll also save quite a bit of money from not purchasing those 24 packs of water.

If you have hard water at your home, or if your faucet water doesn’t taste good to you, for the price of three 24 packs of water you can purchase a filter that will last months. A good water filter is another way to reduce consumption.

A few tricks can also put you in a place to reuse water. For instance, when ice melts, simply use it to give to your pets or water your plants. You can also water your plants with that water you drain from your pasta.

Conclusion

As the population continues to grow and technology improves, the need to recycle will become more and more urgent. Establishing recycling practices now will ensure that you’ll be ahead of the curve. But it will also mean that you have provided a better place for future generations to live. Everything you use is somewhere: things don’t disappear because they are put in the trash. Remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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Prevent Mosquitoes at Your Apartment

prevent mosquitoes

Mosquito bites shouldn’t ruin the summer for you. Open the windows and curtains and enjoy the weather from the inside of your home. Keep the mosquitoes away from your apartment this summer with these tips.

Screens

Most modern windows come with screens. But some don’t. You can purchase a low-cost screen to fit any window size at most hardware stores. Lighten things up with some sunshine. Enjoy the breeze and air out your apartment with a window screen.

Seal Windows and Doors

As time goes by, wood splits and houses settle. Basically what this means is sometimes your windows and doors allow a bit of air (and therefore bugs) to get by. Insects crawl through the smallest cracks. You can prevent most bugs from entering your home by purchasing door sweeps and weather strips. Either will take about five minutes or less to apply. It’s worth the peace of mind. Then you’ll also be prepared for winter!

Outdoor Water and Plants

If you have a patio or balcony attached to your apartment, be sure no standing water is sitting in plants, bowls, or chairs. Mosquitoes are notorious for breeding in standing water. Females prefer to lay eggs here. So it’ll also attract males.

If you don’t have plants on your patio, get some. Certain types of plants actually repel mosquitoes. You’ll also add to your balcony’s beauty. What’s the downside? With plants, you’ll get fresh air and, with certain types, a mosquito-free patio or balcony.

Repelling mosquitoes is actually pretty simple. Ensure they don’t ruin your summer by taking simple steps. And if all else fails, use mosquito repellent spray. Enjoy yourself this summer by preventing mosquito bites.

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Essential Tools for Apartment Residents

essential tools for apartment residents

Maybe you need to do simple maintenance. Maybe you want to tackle a small home project, like hanging a series of shelves. Whatever it is, you’ll probably need some tools. Here are the tools you’ll need to complete common projects and simple maintenance tasks at your apartment.

Screwdrivers and Hammer

Need to take something apart? Remove it from the wall? You’ll probably need a screwdriver or hammer. Whether electronic or manual, screwdrivers are a basic requirement for almost any project. Screws are used to hold most things together. Hammers are good for the same reasons: nails are everywhere.

Extras:

For those shelves you’ll be hanging, you’ll probably also need a drill. To hang on drywall you’ll need anchors. But if you’ll be hanging directly on wood, you’ll need a drill so the wood doesn’t split when you put screws in it.

Vise Grips

Vise grips are your all-in-one tool. They lock, so they can be used for clamps. They extend, so they can be used like wrenches. They also grip, so they can be used like pliers. Get a pair of vice grips, and you’re probably set for most projects or issues that’ll arise.

Utility Knife

We’ve covered tools you’ll need to put things together, hang things up, or take things apart. One last thing you’ll need: a tool to cut things. That’s where a utility knife comes in. Most utility knives will enable you to cleanly cut anything from cardboard to carpet, from plastic to drywall.

Extras:

Whenever you cut, you’ll probably need to glue. So keep some glue handy.

You don’t really need many tools when you live in an apartment. That’s because a perk of apartment living is having access to a maintenance team. They’ll take care of all major maintenance issues you might come across. But it’s good to have tools for simple maintenance and projects.

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Save on Summer Bills

save money

Summer is a great time to plan vacations, socialize with friends, and, most of all, go outside. Days are prolonged and hot. And, as a result, electricity and utility bills increase. The following are tips to save money this summer.

Fans

A/C units can drive up electricity bills significantly. Fans are an easy way to counteract that. If you must use an A/C, have a fan on at the same time to spread the cool air quickly. Then turn off the A/C unit when the house is cool. Even if you leave the fan on at this point, you’ll be using much less electricity with the A/C off.

Electricity Spikes

When you are using electricity—by running your A/C or dishwasher—think about what time of day it is. At peak use times, the cost of electricity is more than at low use times. Try running that dishwasher as you sleep, for instance, that way it’s not competing electricity at peak use time.

Go Outside

It’s a nice day. You’re hungry. Don’t turn on the oven. Fire up the grill! Save on gas or electricity by grilling during the summer. But you don’t have to fire up anything, really. When you’re hungry, eat in-season fruits or vegetables. Just fix a salad and enjoy! Most of all, enjoy the summer.

Power Strip

Your smart television uses electricity even when it’s off if it’s plugged in. So does your toaster, coffee maker, and iPhone when it has 100% battery! Get a few power strips and connect all irregular use items to it. That way you can switch them all off at once when they’re not in use.

Save money this summer by taking advantage of the season and taking steps to preserve electricity use. There are many more ways to save money. Let us know how you cut back this summer by telling us on Facebook!

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