9minute read• Graham Lumley • Last update February 2024
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Useful energy saving tips for apartment renters and owners
When you live in an apartment, it’s likely you have limited influence over the efficiency of the building’s electrical systems. Not all tenants have the right to upgrade or install energy-saving features without approval. Therefore, it’s essential to learn how to lower electric bills in an apartment by adopting the right personal habits and lifestyle choices. Most tenants are surprised to learn how making small and easy changes to lighting, heating and cooling systems, and appliances, can make a big difference over time.
You can save money by lowering electricity consumption
The primary reason for reducing your energy consumption is an obvious one. You save money. After rent, electricity bills typically constitute the biggest portion of your monthly expenses, so adopting energy-efficient practices can significantly lower your financial burden. This is particularly important in apartments where shared spaces and common areas have interconnected electrical systems. As an individual tenant, you may have limited control over the overall electricity consumption in these areas. But your usage will impact the overall cost, so every little helps.
Additional benefits of lowering your apartment’s electricity bills
Understanding your electricity consumption and implementing strategies to lower your energy bills usually results in a number of advantages:
Financial savings – Lower bills leave you with more available funds for other expenses and leisure activities.
Increased value – Implementing energy-efficient measures can raise the resale or rental value for those who own their own apartments.
Environmental sustainability – Doing more to conserve energy means you’re playing your part in mitigating climate change and reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Health benefits – Some energy-saving behaviors have positive health impacts. For example, using natural vs. artificial lighting can reduce eye strain, and more energy-efficient appliances reduce indoor air pollution.
Community impact – Collective efforts to reduce electricity consumption foster a sense of communal responsibility, encouraging others to adopt similar practices.
How to lower an electric bill in an apartment
Learning how to lower electric bills in an apartment setting requires a combination of mindful choices and energy-efficient best practices encompassing the following:
Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system
Electronics and devices
Let’s take a more in-depth look into how controlling these factors can help you create a more energy-efficient living space while keeping your utility expenses in check.
Energy efficient appliances
The household appliances you choose and the way you use and maintain them can have a significant impact on your energy consumption and the size of your utility bills at the end of each month.
1. Choose the right appliances
If you’re looking to rent an apartment, ask the leasing office if the units contain Energy Star rated appliances. If you own your space and you’re looking to upgrade, make sure to look for options with high Energy Star ratings and an energy-saving design. For example:
A refrigerator with an automatic defrost mode uses less power than one without.
Front-loading washing machines use less electricity and water than top-loading models.
A dishwasher with a short wash cycle and air drying capabilities consume less energy than one with a long cycle that uses heat drying.
2. Maintain your appliances
Regular maintenance keeps your appliances operating at peak efficiency and extends their lifespan, which saves you even more energy and money in the long run. Best practices include:
Paying careful attention to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
Keeping appliance surfaces free of dust and debris.
Ensuring vents and filters are not clogged.
Replacing filters, coils, and seals as necessary.
If you rent and your apartment community has a maintenance program, take advantage of it to ensure your appliances run at optimal efficiency.
3. Use appliances wisely
Adopting smart usage habits results in various energy and cost efficiencies. Even though making small actions might not feel like they make a huge difference at the time, the following tweaks can add up to substantial savings over the year:
Adjust your refrigerator’s thermostat to avoid excessive cooling (guidelines recommend around 37-40 degrees Fahrenheit for the fridge and 4-5 degrees Fahrenheit for the freezer).
Only run your dishwasher or washing machine when you have a full load of dirty dishes or clothes, and use cold water cycles whenever possible.
Preheat your oven only when absolutely necessary, and avoid opening the door frequently while cooking.
Be sure to close the faucet of each tap fully after use so as not to waste heated water.
Heating and cooling
You’ll need to adjust your HVAC system throughout the seasons because the thermostat on your air conditioner needs to be set higher in the winter months and lower in the summer months. Depending on how much time you spend in your apartment vs. out or at work, you might also want to adjust settings based on your daily requirements
4. Check your insulation
Maintaining adequate insulation helps retain conditioned air within your apartment, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling. You should:
Check for leaks around windows, doors, and vents where air can escape. If you find any leaks, you can use caulk or weather-stripping materials to seal them.
Utilize thermal curtains or blinds to prevent heat loss during winter and heat gain during summer.
Place draft stoppers at the base of doors and use rugs or carpets to reduce heat loss through the floor.
Insulate water heaters and pipes to minimize heat loss.
5. Opt for a smart thermostat
Many newer apartment buildings come with smart thermostats as a perk of living there. Add that to your move-in requirements if you can and it will help you save later.
Smart thermostats allow you to program temperature settings based on your daily schedule, ensuring that heating and cooling are only activated when needed. Programmable settings enable you to:
Control your apartment temperature remotely via a smartphone app.
Set the thermostat to start warming up/cooling down right before you arrive home.
Activate sleep/night mode to guarantee a comfortable rest without wasting energy.
6. Use fans wisely
Ceiling and portable fans provide effective ways to supplement – or even replace – air conditioning in certain situations:
Position portable fans strategically to create cross-ventilation throughout your apartment.
When using air conditioning, run a fan simultaneously to distribute cool air more efficiently.
Remember to turn off fans whenever you leave a room because their impact on temperature is temporary and local.
7. Maintain your heating/cooling systems
Like each of your individual appliances, HVAC systems must be well maintained if they are to operate efficiently. Here are some best practices to follow:
Schedule professional maintenance for your HVAC system at least once per year.
Clean or replace each air filter regularly to allow proper airflow and prevent strain on individual components. Depending on the type of air filter your HVAC unit uses, it’s recommended to change them every 90-120 days.
Keep the outside unit of your air conditioner free from debris and ensure proper ventilation.
Regularly review and adjust the temperature settings on your thermostat to ensure they are appropriate for the time of year and your comfort needs.
Utilize energy efficient lighting
Learning about energy-efficient lighting allows you to design a well-lit apartment while also enjoying the benefits of reduced utilities. Of course, turning off lights when they’re not needed is the first step. However, there are various other things you should consider too.
8. Switch to LED or CFL light bulbs
One of the most effective ways to reduce lighting-based energy consumption in apartments is by switching out incandescent bulbs with alternatives like LED (Light Emitting Diode) or CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs. Both LED and CFL light bulbs:
Use significantly less energy and have longer lifespans than traditional alternatives.
Are available to order in various color temperatures that provide the same level of brightness while consuming less energy.
Generate less heat, which can help keep your apartment cooler – especially during hot summer months.
9. Use natural light
By maximizing the use of natural light, you can reduce your reliance on electricity,, lower your energy consumption, and create a pleasant and inviting atmosphere in your apartment. Tricks and tips for better natural lighting include:
Opening curtains, blinds, and shades whenever feasible to allow the sun to enter.
Choosing light-colored furniture and using mirrors strategically to help reflect natural light and enhance its distribution.
Positioning furniture away from windows to prevent obstructing the flow of natural light.
10. Use light dimmers and timers
Adjusting brightness levels to suit your needs allows you to create a cozy ambiance and simultaneously reduce your power consumption. More specifically, installing dimmer switches and timers allows you to:
Automatically turn lights on and off at specific times.
Extend the lifespan of every bulb you buy.
Ensure no lights are left on when they are not needed.
Energy saving tips for your electronic devices
In today’s modern world, electronic devices play a significant role in our daily lives. From televisions and computers to smart home systems and phone chargers, electronics provide us with comfort and convenience. However, they also use a substantial amount of energy, so we need to be mindful of the things we can do to reduce consumption where possible.
11. Unplug devices when not in use
One of the simplest – yet often overlooked – ways to save energy is by unplugging electronic devices when they’re not in use. Devices like your television and microwave still consume power when they’re on standby mode. Unplugging them eliminates “phantom” power drainage – and even if you only remember half the time, the difference can be significant.
12. Use power strips
Connecting multiple devices to a single power strip is a smart way to ensure they can be easily turned off with the flip of a single switch. This tactic is particularly useful for groups of devices that are used at the same time – like your television, entertainment system, and speakers, for example.
13. Opt for energy-efficient devices
In addition to considering Energy Star ratings and looking for models with energy-saving features, it’s wise to consider the size and capacity of the devices you need. Choosing appropriately sized devices for your needs prevents unnecessary energy waste and helps keep your electricity bills to a minimum.
Adjusting your daily habits and practices
Being actively mindful of your energy usage helps you to identify even more opportunities to reduce consumption. And, the more people from your apartment block you can get on board with you, the better it will be for everyone.
14. Be mindful of your electricity usage
Writing a quick checklist of the items you need to turn off before leaving the house can reduce accidental energy waste. And, actively thinking about how you consume energy and what further changes you can make may lead to even healthier daily energy habits. For example, you might want to consider:
Is it feasible to cut your shower time down? Even by as little as a minute per day?
Could you dry laundry outside in warmer months rather than running a dryer cycle?
If you plan meals ahead, could you thaw food naturally rather than using the microwave every time?
Could you take advantage of social time by scheduling designated ‘non-digital nights’ when you have friends coming over?
15. Encourage energy-saving habits in all occupants
Sharing information about the importance of energy conservation and how small changes can make a difference is essential. Learning more about how to lower electric bills in an apartment block creates a culture of energy-saving habits among all occupants that can lead to improvements that benefit everyone. Examples include:
Better internal air quality for all residents.
Reduced energy bills for communal areas and shared spaces.
The introduction of recycling initiatives.
Enhanced community spirit and strength.
Additional tips for apartment energy savings
While individual efforts go a long way, involving your landlord, utility providers, and any relevant associations and agencies in your energy-saving measures may also be prudent. Let’s round off with some additional strategies you can utilize to maximize opportunities for efficiency.
16. Communicate with your landlord
Reaching out to your landlord or property management company early to alert them of any energy concerns is essential in ensuring timely maintenance and repairs. Plus, open communication and idea-sharing may lead to upgrades or improvements that benefit the entire apartment complex.
17. Contact your utility company for a home energy audit
Consider scheduling a home energy audit with your utility company – especially if you’re making concerted efforts to reduce your electricity consumption but are not achieving the desired results. At BKV, our customer service team is always on hand to solve any issues, pinpoint areas for further improvements, and highlight additional energy-saving measures that our customers may not have yet considered.
18. Join a community solar program
Community solar programs are renewable energy initiatives that allow you to subscribe to a local project without having to install solar panels on your individual property. Offsetting a portion of your electricity consumption with clean energy may reduce your overall energy costs. Plus, you’ll be doing your part for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint.
19. Take advantage of tax credits and rebates
You’ll need to check directly with the relevant local government agencies and energy efficiency programs to claim incentives, tax credits, and rebates. However, depending on your location, you might find you’re eligible for financial incentives when you make improvements to your apartment, such as installing energy-efficient appliances or upgrading insulation.
Making a lasting impact by lowering your electric bill
One of the best ways to reduce your electric bill is to choose a renewable energy provider. The renewable energy sector is set for a dramatic expansion in 2023 – although here at BKV, we’ve already been producing reliable, sustainable natural gas for several years.
Our high-efficiency, low-emissions power plant in Temple provides Texan residents across 250 counties with cleaner, greener, and more cost-effective energy. Discover more about how to lower electric bills in apartments today! Contact our team to choose from our range of straightforward energy plans on a 30-day risk-free trial.
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