5 tips to greening your apartment

by ‐ Tags: alternative energy, building science, green living

It’s that time of year again. U-hauls are being driven haphazardly around cities, while sidewalks become cluttered with used furniture lovingly labeled with the words “Free! Take me!!” on a ripped piece of cardboard.

If you are in the process of moving into a new apartment, or are just looking for ways to spruce up your current residence, now’s the time to think about energy efficiency. Energy efficiency upgrades in U.S. apartment buildings could save almost $3.4 billion annually, according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). That’s almost 15-30%, as multifamily buildings accounted for approximately $18 billion in energy consumption in 2005.


There are hundreds of ways you can make your apartment, or home, a bit more green without spending too much green.  Here are WegoWise's top 5 tips for improving the energy efficiency of your residence:

1. Lighting

Believe it or not, 10% of a household’s utility costs, on average, are spent on lighting. Although more expensive, CFLs (compact flourescents) last 10 times longer and use ¼ the energy of traditional, incandescent bulbs. By replacing 15 incandescent bulbs in your home, you will be saving approximately $50 a year.

Not staying for long? You can always save the old, incandescent bulbs so that when you move out, you can take the CFLs with you to your next home.

2. Heating and Cooling

This past winter, I sealed all of my windows with caulk and plastic wrap. By properly insulating your windows and doors, you can save up to 20% on heating (and cooling!) bills. Not to mention, you’ll be more comfortable if you’re able to better control the temperature in your home.

3. Choose smarter appliances

Although you probably won’t be purchasing a new refrigerator or dish washer for your unit, when investing in new appliances in the kitchen or other areas of your apartment, always look for the ENERGY STAR label. An ENERGY STAR television, for instance, uses 25% less energy than traditional models. ENERGY STAR estimates that if each TV, DVD player, and home theater system purchased in the U.S. in 2013 was ENERGY STAR certified, 2.2 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented annually. That’s equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road!

4. Select green power

Depending on where you live, you may be able to have your electricity supplied, partially or in full, from renewable energy resources. There are currently more than 850 utilities offering green power products to customers nationally, which is over 25% of utilities in the U.S. Find out more about the green power options available to you here

5. Encourage your landlord to be energy efficienct

There are many energy efficiency aspects of your apartment that are out of your control. However, you can still recommend that your landlord take the initiative to reduce the consumption of your unit. The EPA has a great checklist specifically for reducing water use, one of the easiest ways to reduce consumption.  Replacing older toilets from before the Energy Policy Act of 1992 was implemented can save more than 2 gallons a flush.


Still searching for the apartment of your dreams? Here are some resources for finding an energy efficient apartment: