06/10/14 : Recel Lazarte

Lifelong Efficiency Tips, Even For Short-Term Housing

Renters have many options for increasing energy efficiency.

It’s a common misconception that if you’re renting an apartment, condo, or house, you don’t have control over your energy usage. Although you may not be able to choose your own appliances (and pick those that have the greatest energy efficiency), you still have plenty of options. If you’re smart about the way you use your appliances, you can save a substantial amount of energy.

There are several energy usage factors to consider before you even sign your lease. When searching for rentals, consider whether or not your future home gives you easy access to bus stops, subway stations, and bike share docks. Research the Walk Score of the neighborhood to determine how easy or difficult it will be to access amenities on foot. Convenient access to public transit and a high walk score will help to reduce your carbon footprint and ultimately save energy.

Once you’ve moved in, it all comes down to adopting energy-friendly habits. By simply turning off the lights, TVs, and computers whenever you leave the room, you can avoid a significant amount of wasted energy. Similarly, consider sharing everyday appliances with your roommates. When fewer appliances are being run at the same time, less unnecessary energy is consumed. Try to wait until the last possible second to plug in those mobile devices and make the conscious decision to unplug them as soon as they’re fully charged.

And don’t forget about water! Try to use cold water whenever possible – hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy used to wash clothes. This can lead to savings of $40 every year. You can opt for waiting to do full loads of laundry and dishes at the end of the week for the same effect. Also, don’t leave the faucet running – simply turning it off while you brush your teeth and taking less time to shower makes all the difference your energy usage.

In addition to adopting a sustainable lifestyle, you can make little changes to the more permanent parts of your temporary home. Consider replacing your 5 most frequently used fixtures with energy efficient light bulbs. Good alternatives include compact fluorescents and LED lights. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than the regular kind, so it’s a win-win situation for you and for energy efficiency!