Making your Life Greener: Energy Saving Tips for Renters

Do you rent your home or apartment? Don’t think you can save energy like a homeowner? Think again! Here are energy-saving tips that will help you become energy efficient, save some money, and reduce your energy footprint.

Lighting

Changing the way you light your home is an easy way to start saving energy. By changing all your ordinary light bulbs to energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) you will use three-fourths less energy, which saves you money on your electricity bill. They also last almost ten times longer than regular incandescent bulbs, so you also save on the cost of replacing bulbs over time. In addition, by replacing your five most used light fixtures with ENERGY STAR qualified lights, you will save more than $65 a year. Furthermore, if you turn off just one incandescent (60-watt) bulb that you normally burn for eight hours a day, you will save up to $15 per year!

Heating and Air Conditioning

If you purchase a room air conditioner, make sure you buy an ENERGY STAR qualified model. They use 10 percent less energy than regular models. During winter protect room air conditioner from the cold with a tight-fitting cover. You can also opt to remove the window unit during the winter months to prevent energy losses.

Clear all furniture from vents and registers so that air can circulate freely, heating your home more efficiently.

Does your home have radiators? If you place heat-resistant reflectors between walls and radiators, this will help warm the room more effectively by directing the heat into the room and away from the wall.

Use natural sunshine to help warm a room by opening drapes during the day in the winter. Close drapes and/or shades to keep out the heat during summer months.

Electronics

About 15 percent of all household electricity use is consumed by electronics. Many electronics use energy even when they are turned off. Using ENERGY STAR qualified electronics helps save some of this energy. You can save more energy by unplugging power adapters and/or battery chargers when not in use. Also, use a surge protector strip as a central “off” switch when you finish using electronic equipment.

Electronic equipment often uses a small amount of electricity even when not in use. This amount can range from a few watts to as much as 20-40 watts for each piece of equipment. Using a surge protector strip as an on and off switch for your computer and peripheral equipment will allow you to completely disconnect from the power source, eliminating this energy usage.

Water Usage

Cutting down your shower time to ten minutes uses less water than taking a bath. When using a new low-flow shower head, a 10-minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water, saving five gallons over an average bath. A new shower head also saves energy — up to $145 each year. Reduce the humidity in your bathroom by running the fan during and 10-15 minutes after showers, but remember to turn it off!

Use cold water to wash your clothes whenever you can. Using cold water can save you more than $40 each year. In addition, run only full wash loads or, if you have to wash a smaller load, use appropriate water levels.

Pre-washing dirty dishes before stacking your dishwasher consumes quite a bit of energy and water. Instead of pre-washing, just scrape leftover food from your dishes before placing them into your dishwasher. Most of today’s dishwashers can efficiently clean dishes with residual food on them. The detergent and wash cycle will remove any remaining food residue. Also, run the dishwasher only when it is full. This will make the most efficient use of your dishwasher’s water and energy consumption. In addition, washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water per year. To help save even more energy, turn off the heated dry option, if available on your dishwasher.

Drying Your Clothes

Don’t over-dry your clothing. Most new dryers have sensors that will automatically turn off a dryer when the clothes are dry. Make sure you use it to avoid over-drying. If you don’t have this option on your dryer, try to match the cycle length to the weight and size of the load. Operating your dryer at least fifteen minutes less per load can save you over $30 per year in energy costs.

Cleaning your dryer’s lint trap before every load is a very simple and easy thing to do to save energy and money. This is the reason: dryers work by blowing hot air through wet clothes, thereby evaporating the water, and then venting the water vapor to the outside. A full lint trap will prevent your dryer from providing enough heat, or won’t allow air to move sufficiently through the clothes, taking them longer to dry, using more energy, and costing you money! Cleaning the lint trap will allow your clothes to dry more quickly and efficiently.

Using just a few of these energy-saving tips will help you save a significant amount of money and will help make the planet little bit greener. Share these tips with friends who rent and talk to your landlord about making some energy saving improvements. Any little change is making a change for the better.