Saving Energy and Money in Your First Apartment - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Everyday Living
June 8, 2018

Saving Energy and Money in Your First Apartment

Managing the utility bills for a small or medium-sized apartment may seem like a relatively simple thing for a college student to handle, but the details are often more difficult than they initially appear. Even seasoned homeowners waste energy on a daily basis without even realizing it! College students can divert money from their energy bills (so it can go towards something they actually want) by following these simple dos and don'ts. 

Spring for Better Bulbs 

When people shop, they often base their decisions on the cost of the items — no matter how much marketing or advertising they're exposed to. This tactic may save a few bucks in the short-term, but it will ultimately cost more in the long-run. Incandescent bulbs are an excellent illustration of this type of limited logic. Energy-efficient bulbs (e.g., CFL, LED) are undoubtedly more expensive, but they also last longer than standard bulbs and they save students money every month on their electrical bills. 

Turn Everything Off 

Leaving a device charging all night is a fairly routine thing to do in college, but it can also be a huge waste of energy after the laptop or tablet reaches a full charge. Investing in smart power strips is a way to control what is being used and when. These devices can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times, giving students a way to customize their systems. This means that the routers, gaming consoles, and televisions in the apartment will be completely turned off when not in use as opposed to being on standby power mode. 

Kitchen Smarts 

There are a lot of seemingly tiny changes that a person can make in their kitchen to really encourage energy efficiency without having to install expensive green improvements. For example, using lids on every pot and pan to trap the heat and reduce gas or electricity or using the microwave to heat up liquids rather than the stove. Don't turn the stove on when the air conditioner is running because it will take more energy to heat. Similarly, using the dishwasher at night will reduce the amount of heat the HVAC system has to handle. 

Run the Washers at Full Capacity 

Whether it's a load of laundry or dishes, apartment dwellers really can't do anything halfway. By filling up the washer, they cut down on their personal water waste. Plus, machines were meant to be run at full capacity, meaning students can get the best in total energy efficiency while saving money on their water bills. Just make sure not to overload the machines because the stress can either shorten the life of the machine or short the power of the entire apartment. 

Additional Tips 

Keeping a freezer entirely packed with food will actually save energy because it loses less heat every time it's opened and closed. Students can also consider air drying their clothes to avoid having to run the dryer (and to make their apartment smell better). Students should also replace their air filter once every few months to keep their vents working at top efficiency. Finally, every renter should  adjust their thermostat when they leave the apartment to avoid paying full price for heating and cooling. Smart thermostats make it easy to get the perfect temperature any time of day to keep energy bills down. 

These tips may seem like a lot of effort for very little reward, but they truly can make a big difference when implemented on a consistent basis. College students who take the time to make certain changes to their routine learn skills they can use for the rest of their life. As the demand for energy increases and conservation becomes a way of life, these smart tactics can help students become better stewards of the resources entrusted to them. 

- by guest blogger, Justin Havre, www.justinhavre.com