As a renter, you can sometimes feel like your hands are tied when it comes to making updates to your home — but reducing your monthly energy consumption doesn't always have to mean large-scale projects and renovations. In fact, sometimes, our most minor shifts and updates can carry the farthest-reaching impact!
Whether you're investing in low-cost, energy-efficient additions to your apartment or making small changes to your daily habits, here are eight simple ways to save energy (and money) when renting.
Switching your home's lighting from traditional incandescent bulbs to LEDs is an easy way to increase efficiency while also saving some money in the process.
Not only do LED light bulbs use approximately 85% less energy than their traditional counterparts, but they also have a lifespan that's nearly 50 times longer. In fact, most LED bulbs can run for around 25,000 hours (that's three whole years if you leave your lights on 24/7) — goodbye, constant replacement bulbs!
Energy vampires are devices in your home that continue to draw power even when you think they're powered off or in standby mode. Some of the biggest culprits are TVs, gaming consoles, and small kitchen appliances like toasters, microwaves and coffee machines.
Unplugging these energy vampires when they're not in use is a great way to reduce their impact on your monthly energy bill.
Did you know that heating water can account for 14-25% of the total energy consumed in your home? It might surprise you, but it's true! And while you may not be *quite* ready to jump on the cold shower trend just yet, swapping your laundry routine to cold water washes is a perfect way to start cutting back.
Plus, it helps avoid accidental shrinkage and color-fading on your favorite clothes — bonus!
Set your thermostat strategically to avoid your HVAC system working overtime! During warmer weather seasons, set the temperature as high as is comfortable, and when the weather is colder, opt for temperatures that are a bit cooler.
The closer your home or apartment's temperature is to the temperature outside, the less work your heating and cooling system has to do to maintain it!
Now in many rental situations, replacing your doors and windows isn't an option, but weatherstripping is a great alternative to add a little extra insulation. Weatherstripping involves adding an adhesive seal around entryways to your home, helping to prevent drafts and protect your home's air quality from the outdoor elements.
Weatherstripping is typically pretty easy to install on your own and is generally inexpensive to acquire, but in a few instances, this may not be the case. Before heading out to your local hardware store, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends you gather the following information:
Suppose you don't want to unplug your energy-hogging devices entirely. In this case, smart plugs offer an excellent way to monitor your usage and toggle outlets on and off, whether at home or on the go!
They allow you to watch how much energy you're consuming, turn off devices you've accidentally left on, and disconnect during peak hours when electricity costs are at their highest!
Pro tip: Connect a smart plug to your fridge to maximize savings! Did you know your fridge can be disconnected for two to four hours every day without the risk of spoiling food? Setting up your smart plug with an automatic schedule that powers down during peak hours can go a long way in reducing your annual electricity bills!
If you're looking for a great smart plug option, we recommend starting with this one that's only $11 on Amazon.
Now we mentioned earlier that heating water could account for nearly one-quarter of your home's energy consumption, so it goes without saying that shortening your shower times is a quick and easy way to help reduce your monthly bills.
But another great way you can make your shower routine more energy-efficient is by installing a low-flow showerhead! Low-flow showerheads deliver less water without compromising on pressure, and they can reduce your hot water consumption by nearly 40%. That's 15 gallons alone during one 10-minute shower or nearly 5,000 gallons of hot water saved every year. Talk about energy savings!
And finally, consider opting for window coverings that help enhance your home's insulation!
Simply by closing your curtains and blinds, you can help your home maintain its internal temperature.
On warmer days, keeping the sunlight out helps avoid adding unnecessary heat to your space. And the extra layer traps warm air indoors when the weather turns colder. It's a simple way to prevent your home's HVAC system from putting in extra work.
Now that you've got a few ideas on how you can save energy (and money) while renting, it's time to take your energy-saving efforts one step further by becoming an OhmConnect member!
OhmConnect is a free program that alerts you to when electricity is most expensive in your neighborhood, providing you with the knowledge to know what times are best to power down and save. As a member, you'll receive an alert, either by text or email, notifying you of these energy-saving events (called OhmHours), and just by unplugging a few devices, you'll earn points that can be cashed in for rewards like gift cards, prizes and money right back in your wallet.
Plus, OhmConnect takes the energy you save and sells it back to the grid, sharing those profits directly with you! Think of it as a bonus, just for doing something good for the planet.
Ready to sign-up? Click here to learn more.