Being green and saving energy might be in style, but college students also love to save money, especially as it’s typically in short supply. With these eight energy saving tips for apartments, we hope to appeal to your environmental side, while helping you keep some money in your wallet.
1) Choose Efficient Appliances
In many apartments, you have little control over which appliances you have, as they are often included with the setup. But if you are expected to provide one or more (like a washer and dryer), opt for Energy Star Certified appliances, as they are significantly more efficient than their counterparts.
2) Opt for Better Bulbs
Another option for cutting your energy bill is to use LED light bulbs. While these were outside the typical college student’s budget when they first broke onto the market, the most common sizes of LED bulbs now cost only a few bucks each. . And since they’re more durable than old-school incandescent bulbs, you’re saving money by not replacing bulbs as often. Keep your eye out for sales and regularly check the clearance section.
3) Help Your Thermostat
It’s easy to say “Watch the thermostat settings and don’t overuse it,” but it’s hard to implement that policy without a fancy programmable thermostat – something many college apartments simply don’t have. Instead, help out your thermostat and energy bill by dressing for the season. When it’s hot outside, wear lighter clothing so you can keep your air conditioner at a higher temperature, and when it’s cold outside, wear sweaters and pants around the house so your heater can be set lower.
4) Catch the Breeze
If you’re having trouble keeping the thermostat set higher in the summer, try using ceiling fans and pedestal fans to stay cool. Just make sure your ceiling fans are rotating counterclockwise in warm weather, and don’t leave fans on in unoccupied rooms. Fans only cool people, not rooms.
5) Kill the Ambient Power
Use power strips as kill switches for electronics you’re not actively using. While it’s unlikely you’ll want to turn off your router when you leave the house or go to sleep, your TV, gaming system, audio system, and appliances all use power when they are inactive. Utilize power strips with all non-essential electronics and switch them off when you’re not going to be around.
6) Look for Local Programs
Many local governments actively develop initiatives to encourage their residents to be more energy efficient. Contact your city council member or City Hall to see what programs are available in your area. You may be able to obtain free or low-cost items like LED bulbs, HVAC filters, water filters, etc.
7) Watch the Windows
Even if your college apartment just has simple, inexpensive blinds in the windows, how you use them can make a difference in your energy bills. Opening the blinds provides free light during the day and free heat in colder weather, but during the dog days of summer, the unwanted heat streaming through your windows can drive up your utility bills. Be mindful of when the blinds are open and closed, and if you have a few extra dollars, you can make this strategy more effective by adding drapes or cellular blinds.
8) Hang Out to Dry
Even if you have the convenience of a clothes dryer in your apartment, you don’t have to use it for every load. The dryer is one of the biggest energy-consuming appliances in many apartments. Hanging your laundry out to dry the old-fashioned way is a free alternative if you have the outdoor space for it, and if not, you can use foldable drying racks to hang-dry clothes in your living room.
Figuring out how to make your apartment energy efficient isn’t rocket science, but going green can take some discipline. Once you start seeing noticeable savings on your utility bills each month, though, doing the right thing will likely become that much easier!