10 easy ways to cut down on utility costs and be green

Rent is enough to handle, make your utility costs as low as possible.



In addition to rent, utilities add to the many costs students must keep track of when living off campus. There are many easy ways, however, to lower the cost of utilities. Here are 10.

Adjust the thermostat

Turning your heat or air conditioning down a notch can save you a chunk of cash on your bill. Put on a sweatshirt and slippers in the winter, and keep your thermostat around 68 degrees. Use fans and dress in light clothes in the summer. At night, adjust accordingly for comfortable sleeping. When you’re away from your home, turn the heating and air conditioning down even more.

Wash clothes on cold

Most clothing can be washed in cold water. By not having your washer heat the water, you will save a lot of energy. Cold water is actually better for dark and colorful clothing, delicate clothing and most stains.

Air-dry your clothes

In the summer, line-drying your clothes is a sensible, old-fashion trick to pinching pennies and skipping the dryer. A foldable drying rack you can use indoors any time of year only costs about $20 on Amazon.

Use energy-efficient light bulbs

Use compact fluorescent bulbs or LED bulbs to cut down on energy usage and frequency of replacement. Traditional incandescent light bulbs have a lifetime of about 750 to 1,000 hours, while CFB’s have a lifetime of 6,000 to 15,000 hours, according to Energy Star, an energy-efficiency program partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Unplug appliances when not in use

Even if you turn off your electronics, they are still sucking energy, also called phantom power, if they are plugged in. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, phantom power may make up 10 percent of energy use in a home.

Turn off the lights

When you leave a room, shut off the lights. It’s as simple as that.

Talk to your landlord about upgrades

If your landlord is already thinking of upgrading the property, talk to them about buying Energy Star-approved appliances to save his or her future tenants money and make his or her property more attractive. Adding weather stripping and insulation and lowering water heater settings are also things to discuss with your landlord.

Use your dishwasher

If you have enough dirty dishes to consistently fill a dishwasher, use your dishwasher instead of washing by hand. According to the National Resource Defense Council, you can save over 20 gallons of water if you use an Energy Star-approved appliance.

Fix leaky faucets

You know that drip you hear from bathroom faucet when you’re trying to fall asleep? Tell your landlord or call a plumber. It will save you gallons.

Check your toilet for leaks

Put food coloring in the tank of your toilet and wait. If the water in the toilet bowl is at all colored, there is a leak in your toilet. Tell your landlord or call a plumber. Save that money.

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