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Energy Savings Options for Renters

Yes!  Renters DO have the power to lower their utility bills!

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.

Low-Cost Energy Improvements for Renters

If you are renting your home, there may not be much benefit in investing in a deep energy retrofit, but several inexpensive and sometimes 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:

Frequently-Asked Questions

Do I need to get permission from my landlord before performing energy-saving work?

For changes or improvements to your rental home, yes, it is important to ask first and obtain 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 any available rebates, and then ask the landlord to make the changes or allow you to do them yourself.

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, transfer or sell them to the next tenant, or take them 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.

Resources for Renters

Top 10 No-Cost and Low-Cost Tips for Saving Energy and Money

22 Ways to Save Energy and Water In An Apartment

ENERGY STAR Tips for Renters

NCCE Home Energy Management Program Website: Resources for Renters

Home energy self assessment

Carbon monoxide information for residents

Home energy saving checklist

How to air seal your home

How to find and seal air leaks

How to air seal an attic

How to insulate your attic

Steps to perform a DIY energy audit

Heating and air system energy savings

100 ways to save energy at home