A common misconception is that renters have little control over the environmental impacts of their homes. The truth is that renters can influence many aspects of their housing. Check out the following tips to reduce your bills and have a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment in your rental.
- Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescents (CFLs), which can save three-quarters of the electricity used by incandescent light bulbs. Replacing your five most frequently used light fixtures or the bulbs in them with Energy Star qualified lights can save more than $65 a year in energy costs.
- If you own some of the appliances in your rental (e.g., washing machine, refrigerator), consider a high-efficiency Energy Star labeled model when they need replacing.
- Reduce phantom loads by unplugging any battery chargers or power adapters when not in use. Use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are done using equipment.
- Reduce Air Leaks
- Add caulk or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows, and use storm windows if available.
- Heating and Cooling
- Set your thermostat comfortably low in the winter and comfortably high in the summer. Also, set the temperature back for the periods when everyone is sleeping or no one is home.
- Request that your landlord turn down the temperature of the water heater to the warm setting (120°F).
- Utilize natural ventilation and fans as much as possible. If you are considering buying a room air conditioner, make sure it is Energy Star qualified and that it fits snuggly in your window to reduce air leaks.
- Reduce Water Use
- Wash your laundry with cold water whenever possible. Heating the water accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes. To save water, try to wash full loads or, if you must wash a partial load, reduce the level of water appropriately.
- Install low flow showerheads and faucet fixtures.
There are many steps renters can take to green their home, but some decisions are ultimately up to the landlord or management company. Encourage your landlord to help you make a change for the better!
Check out the following websites for more tips on how to make your rental eco-friendly: