How to Be an Energy Efficient Renter

A power strip with multiple electrical cords plugged in.
What You'll Need
Compact fluorescent light bulbs
Programmable thermostat
Power strip
Water-saving showerhead
Faucet aerator

Being a renter doesn't mean that you can't make energy saving adjustments in your home. While replacing windows or the furnace with something more efficient isn’t an option, there are actions you can take as a renter to reduce your energy usage, help the environment and cut down on your bills.

Change Your Lighting

One of the easiest steps you can take to become a more energy efficient renter is to change your lighting. If you’re using incandescent bulbs, swap them with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) that have the Energy Star symbol. Doing this can reduce energy usage by around 75 percent. Plus, CFLs last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs so you don't have to constantly replace them.

This goes without saying, but in addition to changing your bulbs, remember to turn off lights in rooms that aren’t in use. This simple act will also significantly reduce your energy usage and cost.

Adjust Your Thermostat

Adjust your thermostat with the season to save even more energy and money while renting. Setting your thermostat a couple of degrees colder in the winter and a couple degrees warmer in the summer will save you one percent for every degree you adjust it. You can also optimize the energy and cost savings by purchasing a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature while you’re away. For example, you can program it to increase or decrease the temperature while you’re at work, or even while you’re asleep.

Unplug Electronics

Electronics make up about 15 percent of the electricity usage in your home. Even when they’re not in use, electronic devices use energy, so be sure to unplug them when you’re not using them. To make this easier, purchase a power strip to connect your devices and then simply switch the power strip off to disconnect everything at once. You can also purchase Energy Star-rated products that help save electricity while still keeping features that you depend on like clock displays or certain settings.

Reduce Your Water Usage

There are several ways to reduce your water usage throughout your apartment or rental home, which will also result in saved energy and money. Take showers instead of baths and limit your shower time to 10 minutes or less. Swap your old showerhead with a water-saving one and use faucet aerators to reduce water usage on your sinks. Instead of rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, scrape them and let your dishwasher do the cleaning work. Also, make sure to only run the dishwasher when it’s full.

Clean Up Your Laundry Habits

Your washer and dryer account for a great deal of both water and electricity usage each year, but you can change your habits to become more energy efficient. Whether you’ve got a washer and dryer in your rental or you go to a nearby laundry facility, making sure to wash only full loads – or setting the water level accordingly – can save more than 3,000 gallons of water per year. You can also wash with cold water instead of hot, which will lessen your energy usage by around 90 percent. When drying your clothes, consider hanging them either indoors or out to dry. If that’s not an option, be sure not to overdry clothing and instead use your dryer’s automatic sensor to shut off when it detects clothes are dry. Cleaning the lint tray after each use will also reduce your energy usage and increase drying efficiency.