The past several years energy efficiency and sustainability have been growing in popularity, and for good reason. As carbon emissions continue to rise it’s good to do our part in reducing our own carbon footprint, and a nice byproduct of that is we can save some money along the way. Even if you rent instead of own there are simple steps you can take in each area of your apartment to save energy (and money!).
Starting off in the living room, take a good look at the layout. Are any pieces of furniture blocking vents? This could prevent air flow and make it harder for the A/C and heater to provide efficient temperature control for the room. You should also take into account any electronics that stay plugged into the wall. Devices like TVs, entertainment systems, and gaming systems are known as “vampire” devices because they constantly use electricity even if they appear to be off. You can plug them into a power strip and manually shut it off when not in use, or purchase a smart power strip that automatically turns off when inactive.
There are also a couple simple action items you can do to help with heating and cooling costs other than rearranging your furniture. The first is to program your thermostat so that your A/C and furnace don’t run during the day when you’re at work. You can program it to turn back on 30-45 minutes before you’re due back and you won’t even know it was off! Another tip is to utilize drapes. By keeping drapes closed during the day in the summer months and open in the winter you can use the natural heat from the sun to your advantage.
While it’s very convenient to have in-unit washer and dryer, it’s also very easy to unknowingly rack up more water and electricity bills with inefficient laundry habits. For example, make sure you’re washing and drying full loads rather than wasting energy and water with half loads. Another way to stay energy efficient is to wash everything in cold water unless absolutely necessary. Maximize your dryer’s efficiency by cleaning the lint trap before each and every load.
Did you know that up to 25% of your electric bill may be going towards your refrigerator? A few simple steps can ensure you’re getting the most out of your fridge and freezer while using the least amount of energy. First, it’s best to keep your fridge and freezer as packed full as possible. This helps keep food cold without the appliance having to run all the time. If you live alone or have a hard time keeping food fresh before using it you can pack the back with water or ice, then put the food items in front.
Another habit to get in to save energy in the kitchen is regularly cleaning the refrigerator coils and fan. Dust can easily and quickly accumulate behind the fridge, which can cause the motor to run harder and cause unnecessary strain as well as use more energy. While it may be a bit of a pain to pull the fridge out and clean it, you should only need to do this every couple months to keep your energy costs down and refrigerator running.
You may remember from a certain purple dinosaur that when you’re brushing your teeth, “never let the water run”, which is a good tip for elementary kids and adults alike. Whether you’re brushing your teeth or taking a shower, cutting down on water usage can save a lot of water and money. On average each minute in the shower uses 2.1 gallons of water, so cutting your 10+ minute shower down to 8 minutes or less can save nearly 5 gallons of water per shower.
While it’s easy to keep track of water usage while you’re using it, you also need to keep in mind of water running when it shouldn’t be. If you have any leaky faucets or if your toilet runs make sure to tell property management so a maintenance technician can fix it.