Renters have a unique situation when it comes to energy savings. Without being able to make permanent changes to their dwellings it can be difficult to capitalize on energy-saving improvements. However, there are still plenty of opportunities for renters to go green without making any lasting changes to a property.
The first step any renter should take toward efficiency is a conversation with the landlord. Just because a renter can't make permanent changes doesn't mean the owner can't. A good landlord will work with you to make your home as pleasant as possible, within reason of course. So if you're renting an apartment or home, reach out to the owner to see if anything can be done to improve your unit's efficiency.
Your best chance to successfully convince your landlord to green your apartment is to ask for small changes. Energy-efficient light bulbs, new low-flow fixtures in the bathroom or a programmable thermostat can be affordable upgrades your landlord could provide. Requesting all new appliances, added insulation or more efficient windows would require a much larger investment on the landlord's behalf. Unless your landlord knows these are things that need to be replaced in the near future, it can be hard to convince him or her to shell out the money now.
However, if you think your landlord is amendable to this type of request, it might be helpful to remind him or her that investing in these big improvements can result in retaining or attracting tenants and increasing the property's value.
If your landlord's not willing to make improvements, there are still plenty of ways you can make your rental unit more efficient without causing any damage to the property. An easy and free way to make your home more efficient is to rearrange your furniture. Move furniture that is blocking or obstructing your vents, radiator or baseboard heaters so the circulation of your heating and cooling is as efficient as possible. You'll also want to keep hot lamps or the television far away from your thermostat.
Take advantage of your windows when possible. In the winter, open window coverings in the daytime to let in natural light and heat. But in the summer keep coverings closed to keep out the heat. Making these simple changes can make your home more comfortable without adjusting your HVAC system. For another energy-efficient alternative to your air condition, turn on your ceiling fan. It can make a room feel up to 4 degrees cooler.
If you're willing to invest a little money to save on your energy bills, there are a few small things you can install around your apartment to improve efficiency. Purchase energy saving light bulbs to reduce lighting costs and eliminate the heat caused by incandescent bulbs. Installing a low-flow shower head can reduce your water consumption and water heating costs. Just make sure you put the old shower head back in place before you move.