Energy Efficiency Tips for Condos & Apartments

by : Kinan Beck

"It happened again. I got my combined gas-and-electric bill and had absolutely no idea how it could possibly cost so much. My roommates and I sat down and looked over the bill and we really aren't sure quite how we're going to cover the cost. We'll manage somehow, I suppose. But in the meantime, I've been doing some research on how to make our apartment more energy efficient. My roommate said this wasn't up to me since our landlord is the one who is ultimately responsible for making the building more efficient. But the landlord isn't the one paying our electric bill!

Here are some of the tips I've learned about increasing energy efficiency here at the apartment:

Ã?â‚?? Buy energy-efficient bulbs for the lamps that we use most often in our apartment.

Ã?â‚?? Clean our lighting fixtures more often (more often than they never we currently do) so they're more efficient.

Ã?â‚?? Get power-controlling devices for some of the appliances that we have. We certainly aren't going to replace all of the appliances that came with the apartment but we can easily make them more efficient. We're also going to ask the landlord about replacing them with more energy-efficient items when they get old.

Ã?â‚?? Layer our clothes in the winter so that we don't have to have the heat up high all of the time.

Ã?â‚?? Paint our walls white so the rooms look brighter and need less lighting.

Ã?â‚?? Put all of our computer equipment (like our printers and our fax machine) on a power strip and turn that strip off when we aren't using those items.

Ã?â‚?? Take shorter showers. We thought that we didn't have to worry about costs here since the landlord pays the water bill, but then we realized that we're paying to heat that water.

Ã?â‚?? Turn off lights when we're not using them. Open the blinds to let in sunlight. We're planning on covering the windows that are near our neighbor's windows with a light paper so they can't see in but we can still get sunlight.

Ã?â‚?? Turn off our desktop computer monitors if they're not going to be used for at least half an hour. Turn off our desktop computers entirely if they're not going to be used for at least two hours.

Ã?â‚?? Use fans and open the windows instead of using air conditioning to cool the apartment. At the same time, we'll block some of the sunlight that's coming in during the hottest hours of the day so that the apartment doesn't gather as much heat and therefore doesn't need to be cooled down as much.

Sure, it's technically not our responsibility to make a number of changes to the apartment, but there are all sorts of little things that we can do to make this place more energy efficient. And since we're the ones that pay the gas and electric bills, we're the ones that benefit. Plus, we get to take some pride in the fact that we're not wasting energy so we're helping the environment around us at the same time."