The renter’s guide to energy savings

3 min read

As a renter, it can feel like you don’t have control over the energy costs in your home or apartment. But there are quite a few things tenants can do to lower energy costs. Use these tips to save energy and feel more comfortable in your space all year long.

As a tenant there are a few simple actions you can take to feel cozy and save money on energy bills, too. When you choose energy efficiency, you choose comfortable temperatures, better air quality, and better lighting. You might not see it, but you can feel it: energy efficiency improves your quality of life.

Switch to LEDs

Switch to LED lightbulbs in the lamps and fixtures you use most often.

  • How: start in the kitchen. Local retailers sell many styles of energy-saving LEDs.
  • Why: get higher quality lighting that is better for the environment. And you won’t have to buy bulbs as often.
Use curtains & shades

Keep the sun’s heat out in summer, and use it to warm up rooms in winter.

  • How: in the summer, close window shades and curtains on windows that get a lot of sun during the day. In the winter, do the opposite: open curtains or blinds during the day and close them at night to keep that warm air in.
  • Why: your home will stay at a more comfortable temperature and you’ll need the AC or heater less.
Vacuum coils, vents, and ducts

Remove the dust buildup collecting on your refrigerator and heating systems.

  • How: vacuum coils and condenser unit behind and underneath the refrigerator at least once a year. If you have a forced-air system, you can vacuum the vents and ducts on your own and change filters.
  • Why: good maintenance boosts system performance, reduces your bills, and improves air quality and safety.
Reduce "idle load" from electronics

Reduce the amount of wasted energy used by your electronics.

  • How: many electronics continue to draw energy even after you’ve turned them off. Unplug common culprits like printers and DVRs when not in use. Or invest in an advanced power strip to turn electronics all the way off for you.
  • Why: the average U.S. household wastes $165 a year on idle load from their electronics.
Get the right size AC

Make sure your window AC is properly sized for your space.

  • How: match the room size to the air conditioner size. Guidance can be found at
  • Why: an oversized air conditioner is actually less effective at cooling and dehumidifying — you’ll be more comfortable with a right-size AC.
Prepare your windows for colder months

Add weather-stripping to doors and windows.

  • How: put storm windows down and lock windows. If you need help, ask your property manager.
  • Why: save energy and increase comfort by preventing cold air from getting in.
Change your temperature setting

Set back your thermostat when you don’t need as much heat.

  • How: if your apartment unit has its own thermostat, lower the temperature an additional seven to 10 degrees for eight hours a day (like when you’re sleeping or at work).
  • Why: according to the National Sleep Foundation, you’ll sleep better when your bedroom temperature is between 60 and 67 degrees.
Talk to the building owner or manager

We encourage renters to see if their property owner is willing to contact us, and we can help determine if the property qualifies for free or discounted weatherization services and appliances. Energy efficiency upgrades often lower costs for both renters and owners, so they can save money and reduce maintenance issues for everyone involved.