How to Talk to Your Roommates About Saving Energy | The Light Lab

How to Talk to Your Roommates About Saving Energy

Having a roommate inevitably means saving money overall on rent, utilities, and perhaps groceries. But what about that icky grey area when you realize how different you both are, and how perhaps one of you is more wasteful than the other? Talk to your roommate about saving energy with these tips:

  • Keep an open mind – they may have been raised with different habits
  • Have the discussion at the right time
  • Prepare how you’ll voice the issues
  • Compromise so that everyone is comfortable

When one roommate is more energy conscious than the other, and hence more concerned about the electricity, gas and water bill, this can drive a wedge into the harmony of the home if not addressed.

The first key to peace is to communicate. If you’re unhappy with how they’re handling their usage, it’s time to maturely sit down and talk it out. Leaving little notes about turning off the lights will only aggravate the situation, and paint it with passive aggressiveness.

These tips can help you approach the subject without hurting anyone’s feelings. Saving energy, after all, is great for both of you and our planet!

How to Talk to Your Roommates About Saving Energy | The Light Lab

1. Keep an Open Mind

Remember that not everyone was raised the same way. Perhaps in your roommate’s home growing up, the television was always on, and maybe she was raised to sleep with that sort of background noise. Perhaps turning off lights wasn’t an issue, and her parents didn’t balk at her running water while she brushes her teeth.

Be sensitive in that the idea of energy conservation may not be a top priority to them, and could be a new concept altogether.

2. Timing is Everything

Consider talking with your roommate at a time when it’s best for the both of you. Right after work and before they’ve eaten is likely not the time. Maybe after they’ve eaten, exercised and showered they may be more approachable.

A simple “Hey Susan! Can we talk about a few house items when you’ve got time?” will be all that’s needed to get the ball rolling.

3. Be Prepared

If your concern with their energy efficiency is due to your increasing electricity bill, then make sure to have a recent bill on hand. If you receive a bill that is itemized, than this is ideal to show exactly where electricity is being used in various parts of the house or apartment.

How to Talk to Your Roommates About Saving Energy | The Light Lab

4. Have a Plan

Before you sit down and launch into why you don’t like how low they keep the thermostat in the middle of July, think about the main issues you’re having. If you don’t prepare, you might be flustered and say something you regret.

5. Meet in the Middle

Start by explaining why energy conservation is important to you. Is it related to the environment, or on cost alone? Then consider these scenarios and solutions:

Problem – Your roommate likes to keep the thermostat on 68F during summer.

Solution – See if they are willing to experience what it might be like to live and sleep setting it 2 degrees higher. Agree that after each week, you’ll see how the usage in electricity has dropped. If this continues for one month, how about increasing it another 2 degrees? The same can be said for during the winter. Suggest living in a more moderate environment rather than the extreme opposite from the outside weather.

Problem – The television is on all night and bothers you, both for the noise pollution and the wasted electricity use.

Solution – Perhaps you can suggest that he wears earplugs past 10pm, or streams music or shows from his phone as opposed to from the television. Maybe they would be open to using a pair of sleep headphones, which can also be useful when traveling.

Problem – During the day while everyone is gone the AC is cranked down to 68F, causing your electricity bill to skyrocket.

Solution – Post a sign on the backdoor before they leave that reminds them to raise it to 80F during the day when the electricity grid is being worked overtime. Consider installing a programmable thermostat to help you control the temperature during the day and ensure it’s at a comfortable level before either of you come home.

How to Talk to Your Roommates About Saving Energy | The Light Lab

Problem – Gadgets are a high priority to your roommate, and they’re left on all the time.

Solution  Consider asking them to invest in a power strip so they can turn off multiple outlets with one switch and avoid using standby power. Streamlining their electrical source can make it easier to shut off.

Problem – Lights are left on all the time.

Solution – Encourage the lights to be turned off as much as possible, and install LED light bulbs if you haven’t already. You could also consider installing dimmers, which use less electricity when turned low.

6. Reviewing The Changes

Wait one month after your talk and see how the electricity bill looks. Be sure to share the results with your roommate to encourage them to continue their energy conservation!

We feel confident that after a few adjustments, you’ll both be on the same track in saving money and energy. And that peace and comfort will be restored!

Save More on Electricity with First Choice Power

Talk to your roommates about how you can save even more money by locking in a competitive fixed electricity rate with First Choice Power. We have a variety of rates and plans to fit your home, and our online account manager lets you track your usage so you can see how much you save!

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Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.