With the staggering effects of pollution and greenhouse emissions today, it’s no wonder that everyone’s looking at ways to make their homes greener. And that includes rental properties. Of course, some of the methods below will need permission from your landlord, but others can be done quickly and easily without.
Here are 11 ways to make your property and roofing more energy-efficient.
Audit Your Home’s Energy Usage
For those renting a home, you can conduct a full rundown of your energy usage to evaluate which areas can be improved with ease. Check your utility bills and assess whether you’re spending too much on electricity or water, and look at where you can make adjustments. Here are some tips to keep your bills down:
- Ventilation – Your apartment should have proper ventilation to avoid accidents regarding combustion appliance backdrafts. A “backdraft” is created when an appliance uses combustion (an open flame) that isn’t then ventilated through open windows, fans etc, so the draft stays inside the house. As well as making your utility bills higher, back-drafting can be extremely dangerous, releasing carbon monoxide.
- Insulation – During winter, some people wonder why their apartments aren’t warm and cozy even with the heater cranked up to high. This is usually due to heat being lost to the outside air through windows, the ceiling, and walls because of inadequate insulation.
- HVAC System – Inspect your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system regularly. Have it cleaned frequently and replace filters as needed. And according to Green Leaf AC & Heating, “a proper inspection can drastically decrease the issues you face moving forward with your HVAC system.”
- Lighting – Your lights take up a significant portion of your electric bill. You should check your light bulbs on a regular basis and reduce usage where you can.
- Appliances – The appliances and gadgets you have also consume energy. Unplug them from sockets when you aren’t using them, and check the settings to see if they have energy-saving features.
Choose the Right Roof
According to City Seamless Roofing, “Your roof has a huge impact on your home’s energy efficiency. Of course, this is something that will fall with your landlord, but it is worth suggesting as it can significantly boost the value of their property, too. Nowadays, technological advancements have paved the way for green roofs. Fortunately, looking for a roofing contractor online has become easier with roofing SEO techniques.”
These are the residential roof types that can help you reduce your energy consumption:
- Metal – This material is an energy-efficient and eco-friendly choice. Its coating has reflective properties that keep your home cool during the summer while insulating it during the colder months. Aesthetically, it also works for both rustic and modern architecture.
- Shake – Shake shingles combine energy-efficiency with durability. While metal roofs dent easily, this type of material can withstand strong winds and rain with minimal damage.
- Asphalt – It’s a lower maintenance roof that comes in a variety of colors and designs that homeowners can choose from. However, it’s easily damaged by winds, storms, and algae growth.
- Slate – The density of slate makes it another durable energy-efficient roofing option. It’s also naturally resistant to fire, mold, and frost damage.
- Tile – Tile roofs are aesthetically pleasing. However, this option is best for buildings in warm, dry climates because of its propensity for absorbing moisture and reflecting sunlight. If your landlord is replacing the roof with a more energy-efficient option you can suggest that they type “roofers near me” into a search engine to search for local roofing companies, or use an aggregate site that lists the best contractors in your area to get quotes.
Use Reflective Coating
On top of choosing a light color for your roof, you should also paint over it with a reflective coating. It works two ways: first is through solar reflectance, which is the process of having sunlight bounce off the surface. Second is by thermal emittance, which is the ability to radiate absorbed heat back outside instead of keeping it down in your apartment.
Tweak Your Thermostat
For people living in apartments, if you have control over your thermostat, you can save energy by adjusting the temperature in your home. According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10 percent a year on heating and cooling when you set the thermostat to 68°F during winters while you’re awake while making it lower when you’re asleep or away from home.
During the warmer months, you can also keep your home warmer than normal when you’re out, and just cool down your space when you’re inside.
Seal Windows and Other Openings
During winter, heat loss happens when windows and other openings aren’t sealed or insulated properly. If you’re doing this bit yourself, remember to remove the old caulking before you apply a new layer.
Check every nook and cranny to ensure that you’ve closed every space where a draft can come in. Re-caulking is highly-recommended to make older rental properties more energy-efficient because these spaces may already have cracks that allow air to leak.
Add Tint or Solar Shades to Windows
Another good idea is to add tint or solar shades to your windows to lessen the amount of sunlight and heat that come in. It minimizes the load on your air conditioning system and protects furniture from UV ray-related damage too. Plus, you can easily remove them once your lease is finished.
Install a Storm Door
This contraption is a screen door that’s installed in front of your regular door. It provides an extra layer of protection against inclement weather while allowing ventilation. Storm doors can serve as insulators to prevent leaks and keeping warm or cold air inside your home.
Tune-Up Your HVAC System
You should inspect your HVAC system annually or even every six months to ensure that each equipment, whether your furnace or AC, is functioning properly. The parts should be tightened, lubricated, and cleaned to keep it running in tip-top shape.
Replace Inefficient Light Bulbs
Making the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs can drastically cut your electric bill without having to compromise with the quality of brightness for your home. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are two of the most popular options today. They use less electricity and come in a variety of colors.
Embrace Natural Light
Even if you’ve already replaced all your old light bulbs with efficient ones, you should still take advantage of natural light as much as possible. It will save you money from your electric bill and provide you with health benefits like vitamin D, as well as warding off seasonal depression.
Invest in Solar Panels
If you have a considerable amount of money to spare, you can take your dedication to energy-efficiency up a notch by putting up solar panels. This renewable energy source can reduce your electricity consumption while helping the environment.
There are lots of ways to make your apartment energy-efficient. An easy thing you can do today is to seal windows and openings, install shades and storm doors, and replace your old light bulbs. Again, always check in with your landlord if these energy-efficient fixes are possible.