How to Save Energy in Your New Place

First of all, welcome back to Columbia! We know there are a lot of stresses in the beginning of a new semester, including moving into a new apartment. For some of you this may be your first time living off campus. With that comes a lot of responsibility, on top of the stress of a full-time course load. Whether you’re worried about paying your bills on top of rent or you just want a few extra dollars for the weekend, follow these tips to save money and energy (& you’ll be helping us win the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize opens in a new window).

Replace the 5 most frequently used light bulbs.

Think kitchen, bathroom, office/work space, and living room. LEDs are more affordable than ever, plus will save money on your monthly electric bill. LEDs can last for 20 years, so when replacing bulbs save the old ones in a safe place that you’ll remember and when you move out take the LEDs with you to your new apartment.

Add these items to your shopping list:

  1. A drying rack for your clothes. If you’re lucky enough to have a washer and dryer, chances are you’re sharing with others in your apartment. To save the stress of waiting for an open dryer, and of course save energy (a dryer can be the least efficient appliance in your home) hang your clothes to dry on a drying rack. 
  2. A power strip. A smart strip is even better. A smart strip will recognize when devices, like your TV, laptop, desk lamp, or game counsel are turned off and cut the electric supply to them, eliminating vampire energy opens in a new window
  3. An outlet timer. Often times we’ll plug something in to charge overnight, that really only needs to charge for a few hours. Enter the outlet timer. Choose how long your device (cell phone, laptop, electronic toothbrush, etc) needs to be charged and when time’s up the power will be cut so you’re not wasting energy. 

Window film kits. I know you don’t want to think about winter yet, but it is coming. Purchase a few window film kits now. Once winter comes, all you’ll have to do it stick them on, smooth it over with a hair dryer and your place will stay warmer without spending a fortune on heating. 

Learn how to set your new thermostat.

Chances are this thermostat is different than the one in your last apartment. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your landlord how it works, look for the make and model and Google it. Rule of thumb for setting your thermostat to save energy is:

  • When you’re home in the summer = 78-80 degrees
  • When you’re away in the summer = 82-84 degrees
  • When you’re home in the winter = 70-72 degrees
  • When you’re away in the winter = 62-64 degrees

We need your help to take home the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for tips and tricks to save money and energy all semester long.

Posted by: Brenna Reed. Brenna is the Sustainability Educator for the City of Columbia and is coordinating the City’s competitive efforts in the Georgetown University Energy Prize opens in a new window. See how fun saving energy can be