Did you know that as a renter, there are many ways you can help manage your home’s energy use? Even if fixtures and appliances are outdated, there are several steps that first-time and experienced renters alike can take to save money and lower energy use through energy efficiency.
In this month’s blog, we highlight some of the best ways to enhance the efficiency of your rental, as well as questions to ask your landlord to ensure that your rental is as energy efficient and comfortable as possible.
Before you sign a lease, ask these questions:
Has a home energy assessment been completed? Can one be scheduled before you move in?
- Energy assessments, such as those included in Home Energy Assessment will help you and your landlord understand the inefficiencies of your rental, from lighting to air leaks to insufficient insulation. Plus, this assessment may also provide financial incentives to help make the recommended improvements identified during the assessment.
What energy efficiency projects have been completed?
- Knowing what projects have already been completed will help you narrow down other upgrades to pursue. Your landlord may have already weatherized the building, upgraded to energy-efficient appliances or installed LED bulbs in your light fixtures.
What energy utilities will you pay for, and what have they been on average for previous renters?
- Find out what your energy costs will be before you begin any of your own energy-efficient projects or habits. As you make changes and upgrades throughout the year, monitor your utility bills to see the difference in your cost and energy use.
When you’re moved in, consider the following energy-efficient DIY projects:
- If you can feel air drafts, especially around windows or doors, use weather-stripping to seal cracks and gaps. Slide-on under-door seals are another inexpensive investment that will keep cool air from coming in and warm air from escaping in the winter, and vice versa in the summer. Air sealing is one of the best ways to enhance your home’s efficiency, which is why it’s recommended during Home Energy Assessment
Time your LED lights
- Make sure all of your lighting fixtures have LED bulbs; they use up to 90 percent less energy and last as much as 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. Don’t worry about coming home to a dark apartment or forgetting to turn the lights off - set up a timer for your lamps instead.
Plug in power strips
- If an appliance is turned off and plugged in, it’s still using energy and costing you money. Power strips can hold up to eight devices; simply switch it off to power them all down at once.
Give your HVAC system a lift
- If you have a ceiling fan, keep it running to circulate your heating and cooling year-round. During the summer, your ceiling fan will lift excess heat; you can then reverse the direction of your fan during the winter months to push heat down. Keep blinds or heavy curtains closed to help retain heat during the winter and cool air during the summer.
As you settle into your home, remember to:
- Make sure your heating and cooling systems are regularly checked and maintained by your landlord or their preferred technician.
- Report any additional maintenance issues that will affect or increase your energy usage, like leaky faucets, lighting issues or aging appliances.
- Look for the ENERGY STAR® label on televisions, microwaves and window air conditioners when it’s time to update electronics or appliances. Choosing energy-saving ENERGY STAR-certified appliances can reduce operating costs by 10 to 50 percent compared to standard models and even more compared to older models in your home. Connecticut residents can learn more about ENERGY STAR products check MassSave.com for available rebates.
Start discussing energy efficiency with your landlord now to make a meaningful impact on your utility bills, the comfort of your home and the health of our planet. Learn more about ways to save by visiting MassSave.com. Eversource customers may also create an Energy Savings Plan online at Eversource.com. This interactive planning tool is free and provides a detailed analysis of your energy usage, as well as a customized savings plan for your home, and it connects you to solutions for savings, including rebates and instant discounts, to help you better manage your energy use, save money and protect the planet.