There are many great resources for homeowners on how to improve their home’s energy efficiency. However, finding more energy efficient solutions can be more difficult when you rent your home. Although more permanent changes such as electrification and HVAC changes are not options for renters, this does not mean you cannot make a difference.
Small changes in lifestyle, temporary changes to your home, and advocating to your landlord are all ways for you to increase your energy efficiency while renting!
1. Pay attention to where your waste is going. In Eagle County, recycling is required for residents. Be sure to look out for labels on the recycling bins in your home or apartment building to ensure you are placing your waste in the proper bin. If you are worried that the recycling is going to the landfill, speak with your landlord to confirm that they are correctly dealing with recycling at your residence. Consider signing up for a drop site for compost. Composting is a great way to manage your food waste. For a small monthly fee, you can have a composting container in your home that you drop off at various composting locations. There are multiple programs being piloted across the county to provide curbside composting, so consider seeing if you live in an eligible neighborhood for this service.
2. Replace old light bulbs with LED bulbs. You can always switch your lighting to LED bulbs and switch them back when you move out. Be sure to check your lamps and other light fixtures you may have added to see if they could use a new LED bulb too!
3. Consider purchasing second hand furniture. Especially, if you are not planning to stay in a home forever, buying secondhand can be an affordable and sustainable way to furnish your home. Thrift stores have many options that can make your home beautiful and reduce furniture going to the landfill!
4. Reduce your AC and heat usage. Consider purchasing curtains and a few fans to manage temperatures in your home or apartment. Especially in Colorado, the sun can make a huge difference in the indoor temperatures. Keeping the sunlight out during the summer and letting it in during the winter can help keep you more comfortable while at home without turning on the heat or AC. This can also save you money on your utility bill!
5. Conserve water. Water usage has carbon emissions as well as being a limited resource! Taking shorter showers, turning the sink off while brushing your teeth, and just being mindful of you water usage can make your home more sustainable.
Elizabeth Baer is the Sustainability Fellow at Walking Mountains Science Center.