When it comes to making energy efficiency changes at home, living in a rented apartment is different from living in a house that you own. Home ownership allows you the capability to make any changes you choose to your place, such as purchasing Energy Star appliances or installing more insulation. But if you’re renting an apartment from a property owner, you have to get approval for any changes. You can, however, make your rented living space more energy efficiency by following a few small steps that don't require permission.
1. Use Power Strips
You can waste a lot of energy by leaving your electronic devices and equipment plugged in when they are not in use. It’s easy to put an end to that wasted energy and lost earnings by using power strips to turn off your electronics when you're not using them. Computers, televisions, cordless phones, and gaming consoles waste a lot of power even when they are seemingly powered down. Use strips that can be turned off manually, or purchase smart strips that can be programmed to automatically turn off whenever your electronics are not being used -- no need for you to even push a button.
2. Dry Laundry on a Line or Rack
If you have the space in your apartment, consider hanging a line to dry your laundry. Using a clothes line will save energy by not using the electric dryer. Drying racks are another great choice for drying laundry without having to spend money on electricity. If these options aren’t possible and you have to use a dryer, make sure the filter is always free of any lint or debris. This will ensure the dryer is running at optimum efficiency (and will reduce the possibility of a fire).
3. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
Whenever possible, use cold water in your washing machine to reduce the amount of energy used to heat the water. There are many laundry detergent products available that are made specifically for use with cold water. Choose one of those detergents to help remove dirt and grime from your dirty clothes and linens as best as possible.
4. Weatherize Your Windows
You can reduce your energy bills by covering your windows with plastic film during the cold winter months. There are a variety of window film products available, and they're all easy to install. Simply apply the two-sided tape around the window area, and then remove the top protective layer of the tape. Press the window film to the taped area at the top of the window first. Once the film is secured at the top of the window, press the remaining plastic over the tape at the sides and bottom of the glass. Finally, use your hair dryer to remove any loose areas in the film. Do this by setting your hair dryer at a low heat setting and holding it about a foot away from the film, allowing the heat to move evenly over the plastic. In a very short period of time, the film will become taut and the window will be insulated from any cold winter drafts.
5. Use CFL Bulbs
CFL bulbs are compact fluorescent lights that use a fourth of the energy traditional bulbs use. While they may be more expensive to purchase upfront, you’ll save in the long run on the cost to use the bulbs. You can save on the initial retail costs of these lights by visiting your local big box store to buy your bulbs in bulk. LED bulbs are another excellent choice for replacing traditional bulbs as they also provide a reduction in energy usage and utility costs.
6. Keep Your Refrigerator Clean and Your Freezer Full
The more items you have in your freezer, the less energy is wasted on keeping empty space cold. When you’re cleaning out your refrigerator, be sure to check the back of your appliance as well. The coils in the back can use up lots of energy if they become dusty and dirty. When you've finished cleaning the inside, simply pull your refrigerator out from the wall to get in behind it. Use a cloth to wipe off any dirt and debris.
7. Adjust Your Thermostat
You will save a great deal on your energy bills by simply turning your thermostat down by about 15 degrees over an 8-hour period. When you leave your apartment to go to work, turn your thermostat down. Then when your return home, turn it back up again. This simple step can save you anywhere between 5 and 15 percent on your heating costs.