In Denver, short term housing is gradually becoming a way of life as more and more families decide to rent instead of buy. The problem is that the tenant behaves differently in a rented place, than with somewhere they own. If the landlord doesn’t provide energy-saving tools for the property, it’s unlikely that the tenant will.
There’s no point spending money on energy-saving measures if you aren’t going to be around long enough to reap the benefits. Let’s be honest, for the majority of us, the benefit is saving money, not the planet. Longer term energy-saving methods such as insulation, water recycling, efficient heating and cooling and photovoltaics can take many years to recoup the cost of the installation.
So with that in mind, there’s no surprise that many tenants in Denver’s rentals aren’t spending their money on things that don’t benefit them longer term. However, there are still plenty of things you can do, even in rented, to save energy, money and the planet without losing out when you move.
The United States has 5 percent of the world’s population, but we account for 25 percent of its energy consumption. We are also the leading producer of greenhouse gases in the world. Our average energy bill is around $1,600, money that would be much better off in our pocket rather than with the utility companies.
The first energy saving measure is obviously going to be low energy light bulbs. Replace existing bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs to save up to 75 percent of the energy needed to light the room. Save the old bulbs and you can change them back before you go.
Next up is draught proofing. Heating and cooling are big energy hogs, so lowering the temperature a bit in the cold, and raising it a bit in the heat saves money. So does eliminating draughts from walls, ceilings, windows and doors. Sealant is cheap, and as long as it’s applied properly won’t be regarded as damage. Use weather seals around windows and external doors to prevent cold draughts. It can be easily removed once the tenancy is up.
Buy energy Star appliances if you provide your own. They use at least 15 percent less energy than non-compliant versions, which will continue to pay for itself as you move.
If you’re really serious about saving energy, consider purchasing a smart meter. These devices clip onto the electrical inlet to the house and monitors consumption throughout the day. It can provide hints and tips on energy saving, and clearly shows you which appliances are consuming the most power. They won’t save the energy for you, but they are great at helping change habits. The meter can then be unclipped with the tenancy is up to be taken with you to the next home.
Denver short term housing is generally of a good quality, with most landlords taking their job seriously. Asking them to provide energy saving measures to their tenants is probably a step too far. In the meantime, there really is no excuse to not do it yourself, however short the tenancy.