Ways that renters can save money and energy
Sometimes the tips for saving energy out there seems to be only tailored toward homeowners. If you are renting, especially short-tem, you may not wish to invest much on long-term energy saving acts such as purchasing energy efficient windows or adding attic insulation. But if you rent an apartment, townhouse or a home, it's good to know that you still can make a big difference in saving energy and cutting your power bill. These tips will show you how to be more energy efficient. If there are things you can't change on your own, share these tips and encourage your landlord to help you make a change for the better, both energy-wise and environmentally.
This is one of the easiest places to start saving energy. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with Energy Star-qualified lights can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) provide high-quality light output, use 75 percent less energy, and last 6–10 times longer than standard incandescent light bulbs, saving money on energy bills and replacement costs.
Remember always to turn off your lights when leaving a room. Turning off just one 60-watt incandescent bulb that would otherwise burn eight hours a day can save about $15 per year!
If possible, install a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your home's temperature settings when you're away or sleeping. When used properly, a programmable thermostat with its four temperature settings can save up to $150 a year in energy costs. Proper use means setting the thermostat at energy-saving temperatures without overriding that setting. You should also set the "hold" button at a constant energy-saving temperature when you're away or on vacation.
Consumer electronics play an increasingly larger role in your home's energy consumption, accounting for 15 percent of household electricity use. Many consumer electronics products use energy even when switched off. Electronics equipment that has earned the Energy Star label helps save energy when off, while maintaining features like clock displays, channel settings and remote-control functions. Unplug any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use (like your cell phone charger).
Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when you are done using equipment. Even when turned off, electronic and IT equipment often use a small amount of electricity. For home office equipment, this stand-by or "phantom" power load can range from a few watts to as much as 20 or even 40 watts for each piece of equipment. Using a power strip for your computer and all peripheral equipment allows you to disconnect completely the power supply from the power source, eliminating standby power consumption.
Insulate room air conditioner
In the winter, be sure to insulate room air conditioners from the outside with a tight-fitting A/C unit cover, available at your local home improvement center or hardware store. This keeps heated air from escaping outside. Be sure the window unit fits tightly in the window so outdoor air is not getting in. Or, alternately, you can remove the window unit in the winter months to prevent energy losses. If you or your landlord are considering purchasing a room air conditioner, remember that Energy Star-qualified models use at least 10 percent less energy than standard models.