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Energy Saving Tips Especially for Renters

When talking about energy saving tips, we often get asked, “I’m a renter. What can I do to save energy?” We typically respond: “Quite a lot actually.”

There are some obvious limits to renters’ options for controlling energy consumption. For example, renters aren’t likely to go and buy their own energy efficient refrigerator or replace an old, inefficient furnace; they will use what’s provided.

The key is to understand what renters can control, and much of it relates to behavior. With these issues in mind, CUB has provided a list of renter focused tips to reduce energy use throughout the year.

All of these tips will save energy and money. Depending on the property, some of these bills may be paid by the landlord, and so the renter may not see savings from every action – but even if a renter doesn’t directly pay for some utilities, it is still good practice to not waste energy.


  1. Work with your landlord to understand what utilities you pay for and for what you are responsible. Ask permission before making changes.
    –  E.g. Who pays for heating and electricity? Who is responsible for servicing furnaces and central air conditioners?
  2. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, and turn off lights when not in use.
    –  Because LED lights last significantly longer, take them with you if you decide to move.
  3. Use appliances and electronics efficiently.
    –  Run full loads of dishes in the dishwasher, use air dry option.
    –  Run full loads of laundry; wash in cold water whenever possible and minimize use of a clothes dryer by not           over drying and cleaning lint trap after every load; use a drying rack.
    –  Cook with crockpots and microwaves.
    –  Keep refrigerators and freezers full, but not overcrowded.
    –  Clean refrigerator coils.
  4. Turn electronics completely off and/or use power strips to reduce vampire energy use.
  5. Keep thermostat set at 68 in the winter and decrease up to 10 degrees when away from home and while sleeping.
  6. In the colder months, seal leaky areas with removeable options (if landlord does not provide permanent improvements).
    –  Use plastic film on windows.
    –  Use door draft stoppers (buy or make one or roll up a towel and place in drafty area).
  7. Keep window coverings open in the winter during daylight hours to warm your rooms, close them in the summer days to keep heat out.
  8. If you have a central air conditioner, participate in an AC cycling program through your utility, such as Xcel’s Savers Switch program.
  9. If you supply your own window air conditioning unit, look for an Energy Star rated unit.
  10. Use fans to minimize need for air conditioning.
  11. Be aware of water use as well, especially hot water, which is a significant part of household energy expenses.
  12. Consider getting an energy audit to uncover additional opportunities for energy savings. Contact your local utility for information about the options available to renters.

While this isn’t everything, it’s a good start for being a more efficient energy consumer. For additional ideas or to get a free one-on-one consultation, please contact CUB staff.

Author: Carmen Carruthers

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