By John Voket
I recently heard from Alliance to Save Energy (ase.org) spokesperson Recel Lazarte with some information for folks who rent, but who also want some control over the amount of energy they consume.
Lazarte says it’s a common misconception that renters don’t have control over their energy usage. Although renters may not be able to choose their own appliances (and pick those that have the greatest energy efficiency), they still have plenty of options.
Basically, the alliance assures renters that if they are smart about the way they use appliances, they can save a substantial amount of energy.
There are several energy usage factors to consider before someone should even sign a lease. When searching for rentals, consider whether or not that future home provides easy access to bus stops, subway stations, and bike share racks.
Research the Walk Score of any neighborhood under consideration to determine how easy or difficult it will be to access amenities on foot. Convenient access to public transit and a high walk score will help to reduce one's carbon footprint and ultimately save energy.
After moving in, it all comes down to adopting energy-friendly habits. For example:
- Consider sharing everyday appliances with roommates. When fewer appliances are being run at the same time, less unnecessary energy is consumed.
- Wait until the last possible second to plug in mobile devices and unplug them as soon as they’re fully charged.
- And don’t forget about water. Try to use cold water whenever possible – hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy used to wash clothes.
- Don’t leave the faucet running – turning it off while brushing your teeth and taking less time to shower makes all the difference when it comes to energy usage.
In addition to adopting a sustainable lifestyle, make a few little changes to the more permanent parts of a temporary home. Consider replacing your five most frequently used fixtures with energy efficient light bulbs.
Good alternatives include compact fluorescents and LED lights. These bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than the regular kind, so it’s a win-win situation for you and for energy efficiency.