Virginians living in rental properties can face unique challenges when it comes to energy consumption. Many factors that affect residential energy use, such as the home’s structure, appliances and levels of insulation, may be controlled by the home owner or property manager. Fortunately for short- and long-term renters alike, there are still plenty of opportunities to make your home more energy efficient that can make a positive impact on electricity costs. Finding Your Home
- When shopping for housing, ask if you are responsible for your own utility bill. If so, ask if you can see a monthly bill history so you know what to expect, especially in peak heating and cooling seasons.
- It never hurts to ask if the landlord or property manager would be willing to make certain upgrades prior to your move-in. Simple upgrades like installing a programmable thermostat and replacing kitchen appliances can be with more energy efficient models will be mutually beneficial for you and the owner.
- For your current residence, discuss making energy efficient improvements with your landlord. Property owners may be open to a rent incentive in exchange for a tenant taking on projects like sealing air leaks or arranging an HVAC check-up that will improve the home’s efficiency in the long-term.
- Turn off lights when you’re not using a room. For bigger impact, switch from incandescent to more energy efficient bulbs like CFLs and LEDs – they are 75 percent more efficient and last 25 times as long!
- Even if your gadget charger or small appliance is not in use, it can still suck energy if plugged into the wall. This is called “vampire power” – energy used when appliances are not in use but left plugged in – which can add up to an average of $200 in yearly energy costs.
- If you have in-unit washing and drying, wash your clothes in cold water, run full loads and air dry when possible to cut water heating for laundry by up to 90%!
- Take shorter showers. A ten-minute hot shower uses about 3000 watt hours to heat the water and the average household spends $400-$600 a year on water heating.
For Extra Savings
- Use smart power strips as the central “turn-off” point for all your electronics instead of plugging directly into the wall. Plugging everything into a power strip allows you to easily turn your electronics off, especially when you are leaving home.
- Be sure that your furniture is not blocking vents in your room. This will force the heating to work harder to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Adjust your programmable thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter and highest temperature in the summer – even a few degrees in either direction can help. Set the thermostat to automatically raise or lower when you are sleeping, at work and school during the day and especially when you’re traveling and save up to $180 per year.
Whether you’re in a long term residence or college rental for the school year, there is always something you can do to save energy. Get started by doing your research, understanding your electricity bill and having a conversation with your roommates and landlord. They may be surprised to learn the many opportunities available to save energy and money. Working together we can help Virginia achieve its goal of reducing energy consumption by 10 percent. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s energy saver tips for renters and property owners. For a more in-depth look at energy efficiency improvements you can make around your home, download the Virginia Energy Sense Do-It-Yourself Guide and Home Energy-Saving Tip Sheet.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy