Climate change affects more than ice caps and endangered species. It is a reality that can affect your daily living conditions and expenses. Rising temperatures could increase your bills, induce flooding risks, and harm the quality of life in your apartment.
The impact is closer to home than you might think. However, understanding climate change and what it might mean for your apartment will help you adapt.
This article offers practical tips to mitigate the effects on your environment. Get started with us today because global warming is not a far-off problem. It is quickly becoming a local issue that you should address sooner rather than later, possibly with a highly-qualified real estate lawyer.
Understanding Climate Change and Its Impact
Climate change refers to significant alterations in global weather patterns and temperatures. Its primary causes are human activities, especially burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. These energy sources create greenhouse gasses, particularly carbon dioxide and methane. They trap heat from the sun and cause the planet’s average temperature to rise.
The effects of climate change on a global scale are vast and multifaceted. Rising global temperatures are causing the polar ice caps to melt, resulting in rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities.
Additionally, climate change leads to more extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. For instance, we will continue to experience more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and rainfall. These changes can disrupt ecosystems, leading to loss of biodiversity and altering habitats.
Moreover, climate change impacts human society by affecting agriculture. It threatens food security and increases the risk of heat-related illnesses and vector-borne diseases.
Climate Change and Its Impacts on Urban Areas
Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) experience higher temperatures than their surrounding rural areas. Concrete and asphalt absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat more than natural landscapes. Additionally, tall buildings block wind, reducing airflow and heat dispersion. This phenomenon exacerbates heat in cities, and climate change intensifies the effect.
Rising sea levels pose another significant threat to urban areas, particularly in coastal regions. This expanding reality means a heightened risk of flooding, especially during storms.
Cities like Miami and New York already grapple with these issues. They have invested billions in sea defenses and other resilience measures. If sea-level rise continues unchecked, many more coastal cities could face similar challenges.
Last but not least, climate change significantly impacts air quality in urban areas. Warmer temperatures contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone or smog. Furthermore, changing weather patterns can lead to more stagnant air, trapping pollutants over cities.
Poor air quality worsens respiratory conditions like asthma and can lead to other health problems. Thus, mitigating climate change is essential for our immediate health and well-being.
What Does Climate Change Mean for My Apartment?
Higher temperatures in urban areas, especially those with UHI effects, increase the need for air conditioning. It may be wise to read up on environmental impact statements, and how they can affect real estate. This situation can lead to higher energy bills and more significant strain on the power grid. Also, prolonged exposure to high temperatures can pose health risks, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. High temperatures can also accelerate the deterioration of roofing materials and stress other structural elements.
This issue is especially prevalent in areas like Washington, and Oregon, where A/C is not necessarily commonplace. The pacific northwest, over the past few years especially, has dealt with a slew of issues related to heatwaves and climate change. Oftentimes, it’s renters who have the hardest time, as they are waiting on landlords to make costly adjustments that may never come.
Increased frequency and severity of flooding is a dangerous problem if you live on the coast, or in areas with heavy snowmelt and large rivers. Flooding can lead to extensive water damage to buildings, including structural damage to the foundation. In addition, there’s an increased risk of mold growth or other bacterial problems. These circumstances can contribute to problems for people with allergies or respiratory illnesses.
Finally, warmer temperatures associated with climate change can lead to increased pest activity. Many pests, such as insects and rodents, thrive in warmer conditions. As winters become milder and summers hotter, these pests may become more active and reproduce faster. Some even pose health risks, like ticks and mosquitoes, which can carry diseases.
How to Make Your Apartment More Climate Resilient
There are ways to lessen your contribution to climate change and adapt to its impacts. As a landlord, there are even 3 ways to establish a rental property, that could be considered climate friendly. Here are a few quick tips to improve the energy efficiency of your apartment:
- Request or buy energy-efficient appliances when it is time to replace them.
- Switch to LED lighting that uses less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- Improve insulation to reduce the need for heating and cooling by maintaining a more consistent temperature. Even for renters, temporary solutions like weatherstripping or window film can make a big difference.
- Unplug electronics when not in use. Many electronics draw power even when off, a phenomenon known as phantom energy. Unplugging these devices or using a power strip with an on/off switch can reduce energy waste.
- Implore your landlord to make adjustments, and follow the science. There are possible legal implications of climate change for real estate owners.
Furthermore, consider how to prepare a property for more frequent and intense weather events. For example, invest in blackout curtains or shades for heatwaves. Keep a generous supply of water and monitor for signs of heat-related illnesses.
If you live in a flood-prone area, prepare an emergency kit. Include vital documents, medications, and non-perishable supplies. If you haven’t already, contact an insurer about flood damage coverage.
Adding plants to your apartment can have several additional benefits. They can act as natural air conditioners by releasing moisture through transpiration. They also improve indoor air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Some plants can even filter common indoor pollutants.
If you have a balcony, consider adding outdoor plants as well. Besides their cooling effect, they can provide shade and help mitigate urban heat island effects. Some beneficial plants include English Ivy, Spider Plant, and Snake Plant. Each of these is easy to care for and effective at improving air quality.
Finally, remember that taking each or any of these steps is a good way to sell yourself as a great tenant.
Talk to a Local Attorney About Your Legal Concerns
Climate change is a pressing issue that affects our daily lives in the places we call home. But remember, there’s power in our hands to mitigate these impacts and adapt. Now that you understand “what does climate change mean for my apartment”, every small step you take counts towards creating a more sustainable future.