You may not own your apartment or home, but you still have to pay the utility bills. The following simple changes won’t cost you much and they can make a difference for your energy budget. These are great ways to reduce your impact on the environment as well.
1. Focus on lighting. Replace conventional incandescent lightbulbs with ENERGY STAR®-certified LEDs. These bulbs are at least 80 percent more efficient and last much longer.
2. Adjust the thermostat. Raise or lower temperatures (depending on the season) at night and when you’re away from home. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to optimize savings while maintaining comfort.
3. Unplug devices. Many electronic devices continue to use power even when they’re turned off or not in use. Unplug battery chargers and any other devices when you’re not using them. Consider using a power strip as a central point to shut off power to clustered devices.
4. Take shorter showers. The typical shower uses 30 to 50 gallons of hot water, costing you money to heat the water. Limit your time in the shower to 10 minutes or less. Install low-flow showerheads; it’s a low-cost upgrade that can reduce energy and water use.
5. Cook up energy savings. Cooking at home is a great way to make healthy meals and save money. Cover pots and pans to cook food more efficiently, and match them to the size of the burner. Use a microwave oven to heat food whenever possible. Scrape dishes instead of rinsing before loading them into the dishwasher, and run it only when full.
6. Use window treatments. Close window treatments on south-facing windows in summer to keep out solar heat during the day. In the winter, open curtains or drapes during the day to let in the warmth of the sun; close them at night to retain heat.
Talk to your landlord or property manager about additional energy efficiency improvements. High-performance windows, ENERGY STAR appliances and other upgrades will not only help reduce your energy bills, they’re also a great investment. Studies have shown that such upgrades can improve property value and increase occupancy rates.