Home Energy for NC Renters
Just because you don’t own a home doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to lower your utility bills! Many changes are behavioral in nature or only require small initial investments and can be left intact or sold to the next tenants when it’s time to leave.
North Carolina renters can focus their energy-saving time and money on changes to their own behaviors for how energy is used in their homes, and small repairs and fixes that can add up to big energy savings! For example, even though you may not be able to add insulation to the attic of the home that you rent, or add a programmable thermostat to the apartment that you live in, you can change how, when and why you use energy in your home and make small improvements including sealing holes, adding weather-stripping and replacing light bulbs.
If you are renting your home, there may not be much benefit in investing in a deep energy retrofit, but several cheap and free products and practices can be implemented for a quick payback. Such easy, low-investment procedures include:
- Installing LED lights where possible
- Setting your hot water heater at 110 to 120 degrees
- Insulating your water heater using a blanket or glass fiber insulation
- Cleaning the coils in your refrigerator
- Regularly clean or replace your air filters
- Adjusting the thermostat, ideally keeping it at 75 degrees during the summer and 68 degrees during the winter
- Be smart! Turn appliances off when you leave your house and limit appliance power usage to only when you need to use it
- Ask your landlord for repairs and improvements in the attic first. Many common energy usage issues and improvements start with air sealing the attic and adding more insulation.
- You can also ask your landlord to tune-up your heating and air system twice a year – once in the spring at the start the air conditioning season and again in the fall at the start of the heating season. Doing so will keep your equipment working properly and save you money
This is just a start, there are plenty of other ideas you can take up to start making serious savings. We recommend starting a checklist and trying to make these ideas everyday habits. For more low-investment steps to consider, see our resources below:
Do I need to get permission from my landlord before performing energy-saving work?
It is generally better to ask first and get permission in writing. Closing up drafts with caulking or foam sealant, or putting plastic film over your windows to keep heat in may seem noninvasive but either may be prohibited in a standard lease. Do some research, develop a reasonable plan, identify rebates, and then ask the landlord to make the changes. That said, there ARE many things you can do without permission. When in doubt, ask first.
Are these improvements permanent? Or can I take them with me to my next apartment?
Most improvements can be done by the tenant, are low/no cost, and are not permanent- when it is time to move, you can either leave the improvements intact and sell them to the future tenants or take them with you to your next home.
Are there any incentives available to help me pay for this?
Yes. Visit our Rebates and Incentives page for more information.
Energy Resources for Renters