Just because you don’t own your home doesn’t mean you can’t control its energy impact! Your living habits play a huge role in how energy is used; after all, residential energy use includes not only heating and cooling your home but also providing lighting, cooking and powering all your electrical devices.
Whether you are in a house, apartment, townhouse or other shared space, there are numerous actions you can take to be more energy efficient. By reducing your energy use, you may save money every month on your utility bills. But even if your utility bills are paid by your landlord or management company, you might be able to make your home a healthier, more comfortable place. And you’ll help reduce emissions from residential energy use - so you’re doing your bit to tackle climate change.
What can I do?
We’ve compiled our list of top steps that hit your energy bill without hitting your wallet. In addition to the tips below a more detailed resource is the a2energy Renters' Home Energy Efficiency Workbook
In this workbook, you will:
- learn about energy saving opportunities throughout your home
- better understand how each system or appliance in your house or apartment contributes to your overal energy usage
- develop a tailor-made list of action steps to reduce energy use throughout your home based on the required up front investment of time and money
- learn how to negotiate for a green lease addendum, which is an agreement between tenants and rental property owners to both collectively pledge to live greener and reduce your energy footprint.
Did you know that setting your thermostat back 5-8 degrees when you leave the house can save you a substantial amount on your energy bill? Even if you don’t have a programmable thermostat, using temperature setpoints can save energy, which will result in lower heating and cooling bills.
Shutting off lights
Saving energy and money can be as simple as shutting off lights that aren’t in use. Not only will it reduce your monthly electricity usage, but it will also prolong the life of your light bulbs!
Full loads on appliances
Make sure to wait until you have a full load before running your washing machine, clothes dryer and dishwasher. Did you know that the average washing machine uses 41 gallons of water for each load of laundry?
Hanging up laundry to dry
Use an outdoor clothesline when weather permits, or a drying rack indoors anytime, instead of an electric dryer. Save energy, save money and save the wear and tear on your clothes!
Unplug electronics when not in use
Did you know that many of your devices draw energy even when they’re set to OFF? Don’t be a victim of “vampire electricity!” An easy way to reduce monthly electricity bills is to unplug your electronics when you’re not using them.
ENERGY STAR has compiled a list of Top 10 Tips for Renters that includes behavior changes as well as low-cost purchases you can make to make your rental home more energy efficient.
Know before you rent
Make energy efficiency a part of your rental housing decision. Before you sign a lease, find out about the energy features of your new home. Completing the Renter's Checklist provided by the US EPA is a great place to start; this list covers topics ranging from location to energy use to water use.
You should also educate yourself on your rights as a tenant in Ann Arbor. The Rental Housing Services section of the City of Ann Arbor website contains a list of resources for tenants.
Tenants rights are also addressed in the City of Ann Arbor Housing Code. You can access the full text of the housing code online via the City’s website, but we’ve provided links to a few pertinent sections below:
Get it done and pay for it all
DTE MyEnergy Analyzer
With DTE’s MyEnergy Analyzer, you can create an account to get your home’s energy usage history and use DTE’s website to get suggestions on how to save energy and money. You can even compare your house to others in your neighborhood! Plus you can complete a free online home energy audit and receive a FREE Energy Efficiency Kit by mail, a $25 value.
Washtenaw weatherization program
Low-income households in Washtenaw County may be eligible for free weatherization services, including insulation, furnace and water heater inspection and repair, refrigerator inspection and replacement, caulking and weather stripping. The Weatherization FAQs page contains detailed information, including income guidelines for program qualification.
Rebates, discounts and incentives
DTE Energy has rebates and special offers for residential customers.
And ENERGY STAR maintains a database of special offers and rebates from partners – which can be combined with other offers for extra savings!
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for sales at your local home improvement stores.
Want to know about ways to green your travel, in addition to your home? Learn more about commuting, fuel efficiency and alternative modes of transportation in our Transportation savings section.