By ALEX VEIGA AP Real Estate Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) Environmentally conscious condo and apartment dwellers can't be blamed for feeling a bit, well, green over those living in detached homes, free to make just about any Earth-friendly renovations they like.
Unless they live in a building with a homeowners association that has embraced the Earth-friendly way, condo owners are decidedly limited by comparison in the range of upgrades they can make to enhance their energy savings.
And renters — often times they're just lucky if they can get permission to paint, much less rip out flooring, countertops and cabinets.
But that's no reason not to take advantage of the trove of products that are now on the market to whittle down that carbon footprint, eradicate airborne toxins and beef up the use of recyclables, experts say.
First the basic stuff:
Russell Albanese, president of the Albanese Organization, which has built several green residential high-rises in New York City, says among the first things condo and apartment residents should do to cut their energy costs is toss out their incandescent light bulbs and replace them with compact fluorescent bulbs or LEDs, light-emmitting diodes.Compact fluorescent light bulbs can range between $4 and up, with many models above $10. LEDs with comparable light output to household lamp incandescent lights are typically around $30.
The next move for condo owners (and for apartment renters, if they can) is use only Energy Star-rated appliances.
Another energy-saver, using programmable thermostats. They can be used to manage when the air conditioning or heat turns on, so that they're on for less time during the day when the unit is empty.
"It can save you a lot of energy if you're away from home a lot," says Jay Hall, a technical consultant for the U.S. Green Building Council, an industry trade group.
Indoor air quality can be a significant problem in residential buildings, particularly for renters whose apartments have carpeting.