Prompted by our love for nature and the common home we share
How can an existing apartment community become more eco-friendly? There are plenty of guidelines for new developments, such as LEEDS certifications from Silver to Platinum levels, but what about apartment homes that are already built? Below are some of the innovative ways that we at Abodes have worked to transform our apartment homes and rentals in Bloomington, Indiana into greener communities. As a business, we make decisions every day about which products to use, what contractors to work with, and what new initiatives to take on. There is almost always a greener, more environmentally-responsible way of doing things, and we work hard to find it. Small measures add up, and we hope our efforts will inspire other management companies to make ecology a principle in their decision-making.
Abodes Organic Community Garden
We built the Abodes Community Garden in 2014, as part of our goal to make a healthy, sustainable lifestyle accessible to apartment residents. Raised beds are made of cedar and filled with nutrient-rich, organic soil. The Garden is for the use of Abodes residents at any property, and is also available to members of the Bloomington community. It’s located inside The Woods at Latimer apartment community – just a short walk from your front door if you live at The Woods!
Our Recycling Program
We began offering recycling at our apartment communities in 2011, making us the first apartment rental company in Bloomington to do so! Recycling is available at The Woods at Latimer, The Grove at Latimer, and Woodlawn Crossing. Items that can be recycled included: plastic containers (#1-#7), paper, cardboard, metal, and glass bottles & jars – no sorting required! See “Our Recycling Program” tab for recycling tips and a detailed list of what to recycle.
Our Composting Program
Did you know that 30-40% of all food produced is thrown away? Food waste is the most common material found in our landfills, and accounts for over 20% of the trash we generate each year. When food goes to the landfill, the nutrients in the food never return to the soil. The wasted food rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times as potent as CO 2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. In fact, almost all of the food we throw away could be composted instead! Sadly, right now only about 5% of food waste in America gets composted. We are working to help change that!
Latimer Woods Nature Trail
A hidden treasure in the middle of Bloomington, this beautiful woodland trail is located directly behind The Woods at Latimer. The trail is a moderate-level course at .38 miles, winding through the 10-acre Latimer Preserve which was formerly part of an 111-acre farm. The preserve provided nuts, fruits, fuel and even Christmas trees for four generations of Latimers. Unlike most woods in this part of Indiana, the trees in the Latimer Preserve have never been cut, and several are believed to pre-date European settlement. Interpretive signs detail the history of the property and point out some of the most venerable trees. To learn more, see: https://bloomington.in.gov/parks/parks/latimer-woods
Take the Bus, Bike, or even Walk to Campus
All of the Abodes properties are either situated on a bus line, an easy bike ride to campus, or a short walk to class. You can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by choosing one of these great and economical options for transportation.
A Greener Fitness Center
In researching new equipment for our Woods at Latimer fitness center, we chose to partner with SportsArt because their Green Mission was much in line with ours. Our newest treadmill uses 30% less energy than its competitors!
New Bike Racks @ The Grove at Latimer
You asked, and we listened! 2022 saw the installation of 4 new sets of bike racks at The Grove that are located inside the buildings. You can keep your bike dry and weather-safe, and close to your front door.
Eco-friendly Apartment Cleaning
Many typical cleaning products include ingredients that are harmful to health and to the environment. Our apartments are cleaned with minimal toxins, ammonia, petrochemicals, or other harmful ingredients. The all-purpose cleaner we use is Branch Basics, a non-toxic and environmentally-friendly product that’s made with plant and mineral-based ingredients, and it’s even certified by MadeSafe.org.
More Eco-friendly Carpet Cleaning
We asked our carpet cleaners to use more eco-friendly products and they agreed, reducing the use of harmful chemicals by 50%.
Added Insulation for Energy Conservation
In 2018 we took the initiative of adding $18,000 of insulation to the attics at the Woods at Latimer, bringing it from R19 to R38. The benefit? Less energy consumption, and lower heating and cooling costs for our residents.
Natural Lawns, Chemical Free
Did you know that common lawncare chemicals are harmful to the environment? Routinely used herbicides, such as Round-Up, contain glyphosates which have been shown to be lethal to pollinators, and to cause cancer in humans. In addition, routinely used fertilizers contain high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, which pollute our waterways. If you like swimming at Bloomington’s Lake Monroe, you may have noticed the beach closures and warnings about toxic blue-green algae. This is a toxic algae that feeds on nitrogen and phosphorus in our waters — which comes from fertilizers used in lawncare and agriculture. We stopped using lawncare chemicals in 2011. Our lawns are all-natural.
We Use Locally-sourced, All-natural Mulch
Springtime means flowers and new leaves, and a fresh layer of mulch around landscape areas. Unfortunately, most mulch is shipped in on trucks from long distances (adding to fuel emissions), and much of it is colorized with non-natural dyes (putting harmful chemicals in the soil). Our mulch is locally sourced from a tree trimming company right here in Bloomington. When dead trees are removed, they are turned into wood chips or mulch – accelerating the natural process whereby a fallen tree gradually returns to soil. All our mulch is local, arborist reviewed, and 100% natural. No dyes or processing. When it breaks down, it replenishes the soil rather than contaminating it. Why doesn’t everyone use it? Because it costs a bit more, but we think it’s worth it! To learn more, see https://bluestoneorganic.com/mulch-wood-chips/
Major Landscaping Upgrade – Sustainable Landscaping with Native Species
When it was time for a landscaping upgrade at The Woods and The Grove in 2022, we chose to partner with a landscape company that specializes in sustainable landscaping using native species. They planted 200 new shrubs and flowering perennials, and 90% of them are native species! Native plants are ideally suited to our soil and climate: they don’t require a lot of resources (such as chemical fertilizers or heavy
Our properties are 95% electrical and do not use natural gas. Only two rentals still have a gas furnace, and they’re scheduled to be replaced with electric.
Recycling of Building Materials
Have you ever wondered what happens to building materials when they are discarded? Unfortunately, nearly 150 million tons of construction debris goes to landfills each year, accounting for nearly 23% of landfill waste! We work hard to keep your apartment home looking it’s best, inside and out, but we also try to ensure that the old gets recycled whenever possible. When the carpet in your apartment is replaced, we work with our carpet installer to ensure the old carpet gets recycled. When the roof on
Most of our apartment homes and rentals are equipped with water-saving aerators, which reduce the flow of water from your showerhead and faucet – just enough to conserve and save you money, while still providing ample flow for a refreshing shower.
We began converting all the exterior lights at our buildings and walkways to energy-efficient alternatives in 2012, when LEDs were in their infancy. Today, nearly all the lighting both inside and outside your unit are energy-efficient LEDs.
Our newest property, Kirkwood on the Trail, is equipped with solar panels .
We welcome your ideas!