As a renter, you’ve probably seen an opportunity for an improvement project in your home, apartment or townhome, but you can’t take it on since you don’t own the property. And it’s probably extra annoying when it’s a project that could save energy and lower your energy costs – maybe double-paned windows or caulking to seal large cracks? Don’t be discouraged because we’ve got you covered with energy-saving tips designed with the renter in mind.
- The easiest rule is to turn off lights or appliances when not in use. You can even unplug appliances that aren’t frequently used to avoid getting zapped by vampire power.
- Be sure vents are NOT closed in unoccupied rooms. This is a common misconception, and it can actually create an imbalanced airflow, which causes the heating/cooling system to work harder.
- Replace air filters monthly and be sure nothing large (e.g., furniture) is blocking your vents.
- Keep your refrigerator fully stocked so you’ll use less energy to keep it all cold.
- Switch to LED lighting, which is more efficient.
- Let your ceiling fan work for you. Raise the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees and ensure your fan is rotating counterclockwise to circulate the cool air.
- Clean your lint trap on your dryer before each load. It increases drying efficiency and can save $34 a year.
- Wash laundry in cold water since heating water accounts for 90% of the electricity used (10% is used by the motor).
- Report running toilets or leaky faucets as soon as possible.
- Choose showers over baths since they use less water.
- Stop rinsing your plates before loading them in the dishwasher. All you need to do is scrape them off.
- Ensure loads for washing dishes and clothes are always full. Running only full loads can save more than 3,400 gallons of water a year.
- Organize a list of upgrades that will increase the property’s value and decrease your energy costs. Making it a win-win could motivate the property owner to make some bigger changes. You could suggest programmable thermostats for each unit (they can help save $100 a year on energy costs!), ENERGY STAR® models for large appliances since they account for about 12% of energy bills, more efficient heating/cooling units and sealing cracks on doors and windows.
- If your chat didn’t move the needle with your landlord or property management team, ask about changing the controls on the heating/cooling units, along with the water heater, to more efficient settings.
- If the landlord/property management team still doesn’t want to budge, ask if you can make some changes yourself (to your individual unit/home). They might be willing to reimburse you or take the cost of the improvements off of next month’s rent. Replacing an inefficient faucet with a WaterSense model can save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
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