Sometimes when renting, especially if utilities are included, we let things slip when it comes to electricity in an apartment. We might feel like “I don’t pay for the electricity, so I’m not going to worry about keeping electric use down.” Even though you may not be paying for it directly, someone still is. This year, amend your New Year’s resolution list and add “Be an Energy Efficient Renter” to it. Not only will your landlord be happy, but you might even be able to get a discount on rent!
- Programmable Thermostat — Installing a programmable thermostat is an excellent way to cut back on energy use. Home climate control accounts for about half of our energy bills and renting is no different. A properly set thermostat can cut back on that a lot by only running when it is necessary, whether you remember to turn it on and off or not.
- Sealing Up Your Space — Drafts are pesky. Not only can they make a living space uncomfortable, but they waste a lot of energy. By installing weatherstripping around doors and windows, you will prevent your climate controlled air from escaping. Be sure to check around light switches and outlets as well. Use a lit stick of incense to detect tiny drafts by holding it near a light switch or outlet. If the smoke behaves erratically, install a rubber gasket to seal it up.
- Humidifier — In the winter especially, the air gets pretty dry. Combat this by using a humidifier. This will make the internal air more comfortable and allow you to lower the heat setting. Every degree you lower the heat saves 1-3% on electricity.
- Electronics — Plug collections of electronics into power strips and turn the power strip off to prevent them from leaching energy while powered down. This is perfect for entertainment centers.
- Lights — Replacing incandescent lights with CFL or LED bulbs will use about 80% less energy. They also do not give off as much heat, which makes it more comfortable in the summer time, allowing you to lower the AC.
- Drapes and Shades — Drapes and shades for your windows reduce solar heat gain in the summer and can reduce heat loss in the winter. In the winter, though, keep south and west facing windows uncovered during the day to get as much sunlight as possible.
All of these methods will definitely help you be more energy efficient throughout your apartment. If you are paying for electricity while renting, this will save you some money directly. If your utilities are included in the rent, talk to your landlord about a discount for reduced energy use. Some landlords may also reimburse you for renovations that save energy, such as new windows or HVAC upgrades.