The Beginner’s Guide: Energy Saving Tips for Renters

For first-time renters, apartment maintenance can be overwhelming. Thankfully we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to saving money and energy as a renter!

Renters in apartment buildings can save on energy.

Congratulations! You survived the apartment searching process, been approved and are ready to move into your new place! There’s only one thing you overlooked: all the hidden costs of maintaining an apartment. And for first-time renters, this can be overwhelming.

Despite not having complete control on what you can change and update within an apartment, there are still ways you can save money and energy as a renter. Room by room, follow these tips to be an energy saving renter!

 

Kitchen

Renters can easily save energy in their kitchen

 

Believe it or not, there are ways to make your kitchen more energy efficient. Even if the main appliances are already installed (which they typically are), you can still practice some energy saving habits.

  • Spring cleaning: By cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator, you can increase its operating efficiency. With a fitted hose attachment, vacuum the coils to keep them clean. Do this about once a year.
  • Stock up: An empty fridge is using excess energy to keep the air cool, rather than keeping food cool. If you have trouble keeping your fridge full, consider downsizing to smaller size.
  • Cut the cord: When you’re done with the coffee pot, unplug it! Counter top appliances like coffee pots and toasters are energy vampires, constantly drawing energy from the appliance even after use or turned off. Make it a habit to turn off AND unplug the appliance after use.
  • Keep it cool: Just like a washing machine, most of the energy used by a dishwasher is for heating water for hot cycles. If you can use cooler water, make it a habit to do so.
  • (Don’t) Run on Empty: In conjunction with keeping a full fridge, run the dishwasher when it’s as full as possible to reduce the amount of times a run is needed.
  • Lights! Food! Action! Use the oven light to check on food; opening the oven door releases heat, increasing the amount of energy the oven needs to operate.

Living Room and Office

Renters can be energy efficient if they maintain the right practices for entertainment electronics

For many first-time renters, office equipment like computers and printers tends to find itself at home in the living room area. Between office electronics and devices used for entertainment like TV’s, DVD players and gaming consoles, there’s a lot of energy being used in the living room and office area, not to mention the typically over abundance of windows causing their own energy issues.

  • Get shady: Window shades are a critical part to your living room’s comfort, whether to make the room more private or to regulate temperature. Draw blinds or heavy curtains to keep heat indoors during the winter and to keep it cool indoors during the summer.
  • Seal it up: There are many ways to seal windows from excess air flow, but the two most popular options for renters would be to use rubber weather sealing or window insulation film. Rubber weather sealing sounds exactly like what it is: strips of rubber can be cut to cover any gaps and drafts. Window insulation film is similar to cling wrap: it’s a plastic shrink film that is applied with double sided tape and heated by a hair dryer to remove any wrinkles. These simple solutions will help keep heat in and cold air out during the winter months when heating bills can get high.
  • Airwash: Humidifying any indoor space is not only good for your health, but when air is humidified, it feels warmer than dry air which means you can turn the heat down in the winter. And while using a humidifier in the winter is a no-brainer, you can also use a humidifier that doesn’t over-humidify like the Venta Airwasher to keep air conditioned air from becoming too dry and stale in the summertime.
    • And while you’re adding moisture to the air, the Aiwasher is literally washing your air by trapping airborne pollutants like pollen, dust and pet dander in the unit. It’s a 2in1 filterless humidifier and air purifier. That alone will save you on two appliances! The best part? The Airwasher can operate 24/7 on less energy consumption than that of a standard light bulb. And with three compact sizes available, any new renter can find an Airwasher that fits their needs.
The Venta Airwasher is a recommended investment piece for renters to save money and energy
Image Source: The Pennywise Momma
  • Don’t get spooked: Energy vampires are lurking about anywhere where you have electronics plugged into an outlet. Some of the worst offenders are entertainment electronics: TV’s, DVD players and game consoles. Turn these devices off and unplug them to avoid unnecessary standby modes from sucking electricity when not in use.
  • Do you compute? Turn off computer monitors and printers when not in use to reduce energy consumption. Use a battery operated laptop as opposed to a desktop computer.
  • Get smart: Smart power strips are the big brother version of power strips, which are highly recommended to use for energy efficiency. Save power by automatically shutting down a product to standby mode when it detects a drop in an appliance’s power consumption. Power strips are a renters best friend when it comes to organizing entertainment and office electronics.

 

Bedroom

Renters can save energy with bedroom appliances

Energy saving tips for bedrooms share many of the same ideas for offices and living room areas.

  • Window to the world: Monitor leaks and drafty gaps on windows and doors with similar sealing solutions as explained for living rooms.
  • Who’s afraid of the dark? Turn closet and other lights off before going to bed. If you need a night light, use an energy efficient night light to provide soft, ambient light.
  • Light it up! Familiarize yourself with the most energy efficient light bulbs available to you. The folks over at Apartment Therapy put together a handy guide on the energy impact of different types of light bulbs. Who knew light bulbs could have such a part to play?
  • Are you a fan? If your apartment comes with ceiling fans, utilize these more than relying on heating and cooling systems.

 

Bathroom

Turning off the bathroom water faucet while not using it is a helpful tip for renters.

Water usage is important to keep in mind for renters. Much of a city’s electricity is actually used to supply and clean water after it’s been used.

  • Head over heels: Shower heads can be the secret to curbing your water usage. High efficiency shower heads can reduce water waste by roughly 3-7 gallons per minute.
  • Cold over hot: Cold water is better to use as hot water requires more energy to be heated. Very hot showers can also dry out your skin significantly.
  • Fan it out: Extractor fans are useful, but when left on for extensive periods of time, can become inefficient. Don’t forget to turn the fan off!
  • Unplug! As we’ve discussed previously in this article, unplugging devices when not in use helps reduce energy vampires. Unplug hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons and other hair styling tools after use. This will also help prevent the sudden”did I turn off the curling iron?” thought that always seems to cross your mind at the most inconvenient time.
  • Light over darkness: As mentioned earlier, choosing the right light bulb for your lighting needs will help with your energy savings and consumption.

 

For first-time renters, discovering all the tips and tricks to maintaining an apartment can seem like a daunting task. These are small changes to living habits, but these energy efficiency tips will help create a more sustainable and green lifestyle that is better for the environment and your wallet!

Are you a first-time renter? What energy saving tips have you used in the past? Let us know in the comments!