It is back-to-school time. All over the world, students return to their college or university dorms and student flats. For many young people, it is the first time to live on their own and what could be a better moment to adapt a sustainable lifestyle? It all begins with your dorm room itself. Below you find a list of 8 things to keep in mind when choosing, decorating and living in your new dorm room. I put it in a nice visual format for you, because your professors will bombard you with dull papers soon enough. I collected some websites to get you started, so be sure to check out the links I listed below the infographic. Do you have other suggestions? Leave them in the comments below! And of course, all those tips are equally applicable for any other place you call home and for those who passed their school-desk era. And don’t forget: moving to a new place is supposed to be exciting, so experiment, explore and have fun!
links to get you started
Pick the right room
When scouting for a room or flat, try to visit the place beforehand. Explore the neighbourhood: are the most essential shops close by? Is there a bus stop, metro station or car sharing point in the neighbourhood? If you cannot visit the place beforehand, use google streetview to explore. Satellite view in google maps is great to research the orientation of the building so you can estimate the amount of natural light your room will get.
Furniture and decoration
If the room is not furnitured yet, or you are looking for some missing pieces, second hand is a great alternative for buying brand new stuff. It will save you money and you can go for the vintage look which is so popular nowadays. For painting and decorating the walls, there are several sustainable options. Be sure to check out the amazing ceiling and wall tiles from MioCulture.
Lighting, AC and central heating
Those three things make up for quite a bit of your energy consumption. As a first step, be sure to use it as little as possible. Secondly, opt for energy efficient appliances. For heating, consider a smart thermostat. Set the temperature to 19 degrees celcius, perfectly fine for healty people. If you are a bit cold, throw on a sweater! In hot climates, save on AC by ventilating the house in the night and early morning when it is colder outside. Keep the sun out during the day by window blinds. For lighting, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are the way to go. You can even get them in different colours and control them with your smartphone!
have a look at this five passively cooled houses (probably not applicable to your dorm room, but you can already think ahead for your next dwelling)
You generate a lot of waste in the kitchen. Luckily, more and more foodsharing platforms are set up. Look around for a local foodsharing facebook group, or get a leftover box in your dorm where people can leave food they cannot finish themselves. Be sure to seperate your waste carefully. The best thing to do is foresee bins and bags with different colours. Make clear rules with your roommates, so everyone applies the same system. Reduce packaging waste by using reusable bags, and try to find a package-free shop in the neighbourhood where you can bring your jars and cans to be filled up.
foodsharing app Olio (at the moment mainly UK)
foodsharing.de (Germany and Austria)
fancy waste separation bins (nothing holds you back to get creative and find a system yourself)