There are many small ways you can conserve energy in your apartment. Small, consistent efforts by individuals add up to savings.
- Use as low a water temperature for washing clothes as will give satisfactory cleaning; use cold water for rinsing. You might guess that most of the energy used by a washing machine goes into vigorously swishing the clothes around. In fact, about 90 percent of it is spent elsewhere, heating the water of the load. You can save substantially by washing and rinsing at cooler temperatures. Warm water helps the suds to get at the dirt, but cold-water detergents will work effectively for just about everything in the hamper.
- Don't over dry your laundry. Clothes will need less ironing and hold up better if you remove them from the dryer while they're still just a bit damp.
- Make sure to take advantage of the partial load setting on your washer if you are not doing a full load of laundry.
In the Kitchen
- Try to cut down on the number of times you use your dishwasher. Run only full loads, preferably in the early morning or late evening when energy demands on utility companies are lowest.
- If you wash dishes by hand, don't let water run continuously; fill a pan with hot water for rinsing.
- If your sink is equipped with one, use the sprayer to do your dishes and don't leave the water running continuously.
- Think twice before turning on the oven. Heating food in the microwave uses only 20 percent of the energy required by a full-sized oven.
- Use the right pan. When cooking on the stovetop, pick your pan, and then put it on an element or burner that's roughly the same size. You'll use much less energy than you would with a mismatched burner and pan. Steam foods instead of boiling. If you do boil, be sure to put a lid on the pot to make the water come to a boil faster.
Around Your Home
- During the winter, keep your thermostat set between 65 and 68 degrees during the day and set it back to 60 degrees at night. Don't "fiddle" with a thermostat setting; that wastes energy. If you feel chilly, put on a sweater.
- On overcast winter days and at night, keep shades and draperies closed; open them on sunny days to take advantage of solar heat.
- Keep heat registers, radiators or baseboard heating units free of dust and don't block them with furniture.
- During the summer, air conditioners consume huge amounts of energy. If you want a cool apartment when you get home from work, connect the unit to a timer and set it to go on a half-hour before your arrival time. A thermostat setting of 74 degrees or above is strongly recommended for air conditioned areas. Keep windows and doors closed when an air conditioner is running and close draperies or shades on sunny windows, but don't block the cooling unit.
- In summer, keep windows closed and covered during the hottest hours of the day; open windows, top to bottom, after sunset. If possible, open windows opposite one another to get cross ventilation.
- Put your PC to sleep. Keep your computer and its monitor in sleep mode rather than leaving them on around the clock. You stand to use 80 percent less electricity.
- Don't forget that TV's, VCR's, CD players, cable boxes and even small appliances will continue to consume energy even when turned off if they are plugged in. Consider unplugging when you leave home or go on vacation.
- Switch to those funny-looking fluorescent light bulbs. A single bulb can save from $25 to $45 over its life. And it's a long life: Manufacturers claim that the new, energy saving bulbs last between 5 and 13 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
In the Bathroom
- Hot water requires large amounts of energy to heat it. Instead of baths, take quick showers; you'll use less hot water. Try not to take long showers.
- Aim for five to ten minute showers
- Report any malfunctioning toilets to your property manager. Toilets are the most wasteful when it comes to water.
- The toilet should not be used for flushing trash. This wastes water and causes the potential for problems.
- Don't leave the water running when washing your face or brushing your teeth.