It’s time for college students to move back into their dorm rooms and apartments, and we’re reminding everyone who’s moving back that they can be energy efficient (and money efficient) by taking just a few steps in making their temporary home a little bit greener.
Even if you’re not a college student, these tips can save any renter energy and money without involving your landlord:
Start with lighting
The easiest way to save a large amount of energy is to replace your lightbulbs. LEDs and CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) use up to 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs — and last almost 10 times as long! Even if you only replaced five bulbs around your room or apartment, you could save roughly $40 per year on your electricity bill. Ready for an added bonus? Many stores apply discounts to these energy efficient bulbs, saving you even more. And, of course, remember to turn off lights when you leave a room.
We all need some AC in those hot summer months, but window units can be a huge energy drain. Bring down those costs and buy an ENERGY STAR certified model. Qualified ENERGY STAR models use 15% less energy than old-school units, which means you’d be saving at least $85 over the unit’s lifetime. In addition, make sure the unit you’re purchasing fits snuggly in your window, so outdoor air doesn’t get in; no one wants to cool the outdoors!
Replace your thermostat
This one might involved the landlord, but we bet they’d be agreeable to a simple thermostat switch. A programmable thermostat can score you big savings of nearly $150 a year, just by programming your device to not heat or cool your apartment when you’re at class, work, or on vacation.
Manage your electronics
Devices and electronics account for almost 15% of household electricity use, and can be a big difference making if handled wisely. Did you know some products still use energy, even when switched off? It’s called a phantom charge, and you can stop them in several ways, including purchasing energy efficient electronics, unplugging chargers (including your phone charger!) when not in use and using a power strip as a central power button that you can press when you are finished.
Swap out your showerhead
You can make a 10-minute shower use less water than a bath installing a new 2.5 gallon-per-minute showerhead. Available at most stores, this showerhead will make a 10-minute shower use around 25 gallons of water, saving five gallons over a typical bath, saving on water. And there’s more! With less water used per shower, your water heater has to do less work, and can save you $145 every year on your electric bill.
Prep your dishes
Getting along with your roommates is difficult sometimes, but you can help by your scraping dishes instead of rinsing them before putting them in your dishwasher. You should always wait until the dishwasher is totally full before running it. This ensures your dishwasher is operating at its highest level of efficiency — and not wasting a bunch of water and electricity on a a few dishes.
Cold water wins
Have you been using warm water for your laundry, making your water heater work overtime and ramping up your bills? Using cold water to do your laundry can help you save up to $40 per year. And remember, it’s the same as the dishwasher. Only washing full loads can save you more than 3,400 gallons of water every year.
Find some investment pieces
Does your apartment have washer and dryer hookups? You’re on of the lucky ones! Keep the money you’d save from not putting quarters in the machine by looking for ENERGY STAR appliances. They clean your clothes using much less water and energy than regular washers and dryers.
These tips are helpful and easy to implement, whether you’re a college student in an apartment or a full-time renter. Use these steps to cut down your bills while saving our natural resources and going green!