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Energy Efficiency Ideas for Renters

Energy Efficiency Ideas for Renters

Just because you don’t own your home doesn’t mean that you can’t control your energy costs. Every little bit helps; some may not apply, but everyone can find one or two options. Here are some quick money and energy saving ideas:

  1. Use power strips. Even though they are turned off, many electronics still draw power. Turning off a power strip with a television, dvd player, and multiple video game consoles when not in use can save up to $20 a month just by itself. Consider also using power strips for various electronics chargers (phone, camera, etc.) as well, and turn them off when you’re not charging.
  2. Check your water heater settings. Turning the temperature to the lowest comfortable setting can help save money when heating water.
  3. Replace your air conditioner and/or furnace filters every 3 months. This ensures that the unit is receiving clean air (and so are you!) and improves their efficiency.
  4. Use ceiling fans instead of your air conditioner. If you have them, fans cost just pennies to run compared to air conditioners (both central and wall/window units). If your home doesn’t have good natural air flow, putting box fans in your windows (facing into the room) in the evenings can help draw cool air in from the outside to cool the room.
  5. Use energy efficient bulbs. They have improved drastically over the last few years, no longer requiring 5-10 minutes to come to full brightness. Some types even will operate in dimmable fixtures without flickering.
  6. Use blinds to help control the temperature of your home. During the hot summer months, keep blinds closed during the day to keep your home cooler. Do the opposite during the winter – open your blinds to allow the sun to warm it up. Using heavy curtains over your blinds will help keep the warm air in as well. If you have a room or two with bright West or South sun in the afternoon, consider investing in curtains with a thermal backing to help keep everything cooler.
  7. If you find that you have a draft coming in under your doors, use door snakes or rolled up towels to keep the air from coming in. Another, more permanent, option is installing weatherstripping around the door.
  8. Clean your refrigerator. Cleaning the coils on the back of your refrigerator every so often keeps the appliance running optimally. (How to)

What have you implemented in your rented apartment or home to help conserve energy?

Your Water Conservation Efforts are Needed–Stage 2 Drought

Stage Two Drought Coming July 1, 2009

Most cities in San Diego County have adopted a four-stage drought response plan and have already declared a Stage One alert.  In the absence of significant rainfall or snowfall, a Stage Two alert was declared in January 2009 and will go into effect on July 1, 2009.

Stage One – 10 percent water conservation requirements (voluntary conservation – also known as the “20 Gallon Challenge”)
Stage Two – 20 percent water conservation requirements (mandatory conservation)
Stage Three – 40 percent conservation requirements (mandatory conservation)
Stage Four – 40+ percent conservation requirements (mandatory conservation)

Water conservation is now a way of life!

California is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history, as evidenced by the declaration of a statewide drought by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on June 4, 2008.

More than 90 percent of San Diego County’s water supply is imported from other regions.  Record low snow and rainfalls, limited water supplies, and water transportation deficiencies all combine to put San Diego in the midst of a severe water shortage.

How You Can Help

In some ways apartment dwellers can do more to conserve water than homeowners.  Think of it this way: if everyone in your building does a little something to save water, that small water savings is multiplied by the number of units.  So, if everyone saves just two gallons of water a day, your building may be saving 10, 50, or 100 gallons a day, depending on the number of units.

Some apartment dwellers pay their own water bills, and some do not.  But whether or not you have an individual water bill, it benefits you to conserve water.  Conservation helps keep water costs down, and water costs impact the price of necessitates such as food…and rent.  Because water rates are already going up, it’s unlikely that your rent will decrease by conserving, but it may not go up as fast if you do conserve.

Tips for A Water-Friendly Apartment, Inside & Out…

•    If your toilet runs constantly, report it to your property manager immediately.
•    Drop your tissue in the trash instead of flushing it down the drain. This saves between 1.5-3.5 gallons each flush.

•    Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
•    Turn off the water while brushing your teeth and save 25 gallons a month.
•    Turn off the water while you shave.    Shower & Baths
•    Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
•    Turn of the water while you wash your hair to save up to 150 gallons a month.

•    When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water.
•    Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them.
•    Use the garbage disposal sparingly.
•    For cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
•    Don’t use running water to thaw food. Use a microwave or defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety.

•    Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. You can save up to 500 gallons a month.
•    Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.

Washing Machines
•    When doing laundry match the water level to the size of the load.
•    Washing clothes in cold water saves both on water and energy. There are detergents especially for cold water.
•    Share water conservation tips with friends and neighbors.
•    Report broken pipes, open hydrants and errant sprinklers to the property manager immediately.

Miscellaneous Conservation Tips

•    Listen for dripping faucets and running toilets. Fixing a leak can save 300 gallons a month or more.
•    Check with your property manager to ensure they have installed low-flow faucet aerators and inexpensive low-flow shower heads.  Low-flow aerators use 1.5 gallons of water per minute (older faucets use between three and seven gallons per minute).

Information in this brochure was compiled from various sources, including, www.wateruseitwisely.com, Cal Water, City of Atlanta, and others.  The intent of this brochure is to increase water conservation in multifamily communities by the San Diego County Apartment Association (SDCAA).