How Can Renters Achieve Greater Energy Savings?

When it is not possible to carry out deep energy retrofit projects, such as replacing the roof, or upgrading heating and cooling systems – there are still minor retrofits or "low hanging fruit" upgrades and modifications which can reap energy savings.

How can I save energy as a renter?

As a renter, convincing the building’s owner to make significant structural retrofits to a property may pose some challenges. However, building owners or landlords are often happy to make smaller improvements and invest in efficient upgrades which can increase the value of the property and in-turn, achieve energy savings and improve energy efficiency for renters.

an energy efficient apartment building

When it is not possible to carry out deep energy retrofit projects, such as replacing the roof, or upgrading heating and cooling systems (e.g. installing an energy-efficient HVAC system or heat pump), there are still minor retrofits or “low hanging fruit” upgrades and modifications which can result in energy savings.

8 simple energy saving tips for renters

As spring unfolds, it’s a great time to think about including energy efficiency as part of your spring cleaning checklist! We compiled a list of spring cleaning energy saving tips  that you should definitely review.

Here are 8 quick ways to reduce energy waste for tenants:

1. Close curtains or blinds on windows

As a renter, an easy way to save energy is to start with your windows! For example, during warm summer days, close curtains or blinds on windows receiving direct sunlight to prevent heat gain.

During cooler winter days, leave window coverings open to absorb sunlight during the day, and keep them closed at night to reduce the heat loss from the home. Most conventional window coverings can reduce heat loss from a warm room up to 10% and increase home comfort with more stable temperatures.

2. Install a smart thermostat

It can also be beneficial to install programmable or smart thermostats, which can automatically manage your heating or cooling to deliver the most efficient and cost-effective performance. These thermostats help avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

3. Unplug devices not being used

Unplugging devices that aren’t in use is a genuine game-changer. Sometimes referred to as “phantom” or “vampire” power, many electronics continue to consume energy even when they’re turned off. By ensuring that devices like chargers, microwaves, and televisions are unplugged when not actively being utilized, renters can contribute substantially to reducing their monthly energy consumption and subsequently, their electricity bills.

4. Caulk and seal windows and doors

Ensuring that windows and doors are well-sealed is crucial in maintaining an energy-efficient home, particularly in climates experiencing a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. By employing caulk to seal any gaps in windows and using weatherstripping around doors, renters can significantly mitigate unwanted air infiltration, keeping the cool air out during winters and hot air out during summers. This straightforward modification not only enhances comfort within the living space but also alleviates the workload on heating and cooling systems, fostering notable energy savings.

5. Switch to energy-efficient bulbs 

Embracing energy-efficient light bulbs, such as LEDs or CFLs, is another uncomplicated yet impactful step renters can take toward energy conservation. Compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, energy-efficient alternatives consume notably less electricity and generally boast a substantially longer lifespan, delivering discernible cost savings over time. Moreover, they are available in a multitude of colors and styles, enabling you to maintain your desired aesthetic while also championing energy efficiency in your rental space.

6. Use water-saving shower heads

Opting for water-saving shower heads is not just a prudent choice for water conservation but also a wise energy-saving strategy. These fixtures minimize the volume of water required per shower, thereby reducing the demand on water heaters and subsequently, the energy utilized for heating the water. Not only does this subtle adjustment facilitate a reduction in energy consumption, but it also contributes to lowering both water and energy bills, providing a double win for environmentally conscious renters.

7. Cleaning refrigerator coils to ensure optimal performance

Maintaining the refrigerator, one of the most persistent energy consumers in a home, in peak operating condition is essential for optimizing energy efficiency. Over time, the coils located at the back or underneath the refrigerator can accumulate dust and grime, inhibiting the appliance’s ability to efficiently dissipate heat and compelling it to work harder, thereby consuming more energy. Periodically cleaning these coils can enhance the refrigerator’s performance, ensuring that it operates efficiently and keeps your foods perfectly chilled without unnecessarily elevating your energy costs.

8. Advocate for energy efficiency in your building

Renters have the power to make a substantial impact on a building’s energy usage by encouraging landlords to undertake energy-saving initiatives. Consider utilizing online energy-saving tools and calculators like heat loss maps which can swiftly pinpoint areas of energy waste in homes and buildings, thereby providing a comprehensive understanding of your building’s energy inefficiencies. Alternatively, proposing a home energy audit or obtaining a home energy report can be a collaborative effort; you might suggest sharing the cost with your landlord or exploring local government incentives and subsidies for conducting such assessments, ensuring that both parties benefit from the enhanced energy efficiency and potential cost savings in the longer term.

By coupling these insights with a well-compiled list of spring cleaning energy saving tips—such as exploring local energy rebates and understanding insulation R-values—you can encourage your landlord or property management to implement targeted interventions and upgrades. This not only bolsters the building’s overall energy efficiency but also potentially curtails utility costs for all residents and enhances the living environment. 

Start taking simple steps towards energy efficiency as a renter

Although the upgrades and energy-saving tips for renters we shared may seem relatively simple, they can make a large impact on energy consumption and offer renters a tangible way to actively participate in energy conservation, promoting not only reduced utility costs but also a more sustainable living environment. 

Additionally, utilizing innovative technologies like MyHEAT, which reveals wasted energy loss in homes and buildings, can enhance your energy-saving journey. Engaging landlords and property managers with insightful data from platforms like MyHEAT could inspire vital energy-efficiency improvements, navigating towards not only individual savings but also propelling a collective stride towards a more energy-prudent residential community.

Care to share?