Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

    Greenest housing: Avalon and The Estates


    Everyone has heard the phrase, “Go Green,” but it’s how one responds to the phrase that matters. Going green has become a popular trend over the years as people, organizations and politicians create awareness about the effects of human life on Earth’s environment.

    While living green may seem like a hassle, it is not as challenging as you may think, and it significantly benefits the environment. Getting started is probably the most difficult part, but every little change counts.

    Our everyday lives have a great impact on the environment. Vehicle emissions cause air pollution. Excess water and energy-use depletes the Earth’s natural resources. Trash and litter contaminate land and water, which can adversely affect the quality of plant, animal and human life. Unfortunately, environmental protection is often not a priority in the lives of many people.

    Although research shows that some young people are not concerned about environmental issues, many young students have made an unconscious “green” decision: to live in apartments.

    The majority of college students choose to live in apartments rather than houses for a variety of reasons, such as lower prices, temporary housing and a close-knit community. Apartments offer all of those amenities, and living in one can also be the first step to becoming green.

    Apartments are beneficial for many reasons. They are significantly smaller than houses, making them easier to heat and cool. Because apartments are smaller homes, residents generally don’t produce as much trash. A smaller apartment means fewer hazardous cleaning products, reducing air pollution. Almost all apartments plant trees and other plants for curb appeal, which benefit the environment without any effort from residents.

    While living green requires conscious lifestyle changes, living in an apartment is an effortless way to protect the environment.

    After a lengthy search for the greenest UTSA student apartment, the winner is Avalon Place. With 452 recycling bins (one per unit), Avalon Place leads nearby apartments in green initiatives. Avalon not only supplies recycling bins, it also encourages residents to live smart through a program called Generation Impact, which provides multiple tips on how to live green. Generation Impact informs residents about simple steps to save energy and water, encouraging them to consciously change their habits.

    Avalon also supplies energy-efficient appliances in every apartment, including energy-saving light bulbs and air-conditioning units. The entire clubhouse is made with eco-friendly materials, such as cork flooring, recyclable glass countertops and bamboo.

    Avalon joined The Nature Conservancy in the Plant-a-Billion fundraiser for Earth Day. Every dollar raised plants one tree in an effort to protect and preserve nature.

    Because Avalon is within walking distance to the UTSA Main Campus, and also provides a shuttle, residents are encouraged to reduce vehicle emissions by using student transportation. In an effort to save paper, Avalon offers an online portal where students can apply and sign their lease online.

    Although Avalon Place is the most eco-friendly apartment in the UTSA area, it does have some competition: The Estates (formerly known as Aspen Heights). The most notable aspect of The Estates is its House for a Home program, which donates a portion of each resident’s rent to poverty-stricken children in Africa. Residents are making a global impact simply by paying their rent.

    Like Avalon, The Estates provides its residents with eco-friendly amenities. All appliances are energy-efficient, as well as the windows, which are double paned for increased insulation. The Estates also uses energy-saving light bulbs. The carpet in every home is made from recycled material. The Estates provides dual-flushing toilets to reduce water use. These toilets have a different button for each type of bodily waste.

    Other qualities The Estates shares with Avalon include online rental applications, shuttle service and daily trash and litter clean up. Both Avalon and The Estates use CPS Energy, an electric company that regards the environment as a high priority (despite the community’s growing demand for power), and promotes energy efficiency by offering rebates to energy-efficient customers.

    Whether you live in a house or an apartment, living green only takes a few simple steps. Make a conscious effort today to preserve the Earth’s environment.