It can be intimidating and overwhelming to think about your carbon footprint and how to save our natural resources. But it doesn’t have to be hard, and with a few simple apartment upgrades and habit changes you can easily become more energy efficient and lower your monthly utility bill in the process.
Watch your water usage.
Start noticing how much water you use on a daily basis, and think about simple ways you can cut back. For example, when washing dishes and brushing your teeth don’t let the water run. If you use a dishwasher scrape the food particles into a bin instead of rinsing them in the sink. If you’re able to shorten your showers by 2 minutes you can save upwards of 5 gallons of water per shower.
Be aware of your electricity consumption.
Similar to your water usage, start thinking about your electricity usage as well. This can be as easy as making a mental note of turning off the lights as you’re leaving the room. You should also maximize the efficiency of your electronic appliances by keeping them clean and running properly. Make sure to clean the dust off the coils and fan at the back of the refrigerator every few months, and once or twice a year clean out the dryer vents.
Make use of property management.
One of the benefits of renting rather than owning is that you have property management and a service team available at any time. Notify management if you notice any leaky faucets or running toilets, and if your windows or outside doors are draftier than usual they can come by to see if it just needs some new caulk or if an upgrade is in order.
Arrange (or rearrange) your furniture.
Take a look at your furniture and see if any vents are covered or blocked. If they are, consider moving things around to promote air flow. If your couch or other heavy furniture is on top of a vent that means the heat or A/C has to work harder and run more to keep the room at the desired temperature, but if the air is allowed to flow better you’ll end up using less energy and being more efficient.
Be smart about electronics.
While it’s super convenient to have your smart TV, game console, or cable box turn on at a moment’s notice, to do so the devices have to be in standby mode at all times instead of completely off. Because of that they’re constantly using electricity, even when you’re not aware of it. If you plug the devices into a power strip and turn them off through that rather than through the power button you can ensure no electricity is being used without your knowledge.
If you’re renting an apartment you probably don’t want to put a lot of your own money into upgrades, but there are a few inexpensive items to think about for energy efficiency. For example, a draft stopper for windows or outside doors can keep the temperature controlled better. You should also consider upgrading your light bulbs to more energy efficient ones, or change out your shower head for one that uses less water.