Roommates can do a lot of things to set our teeth on edge – like leaving dirty plates in the sink, or deciding that 2 a.m. is a great time to put on some music.
Energy use doesn’t have to be another source of disagreement, though. If you share a living space with others, these tips can help you use energy wisely and save money.
Forbes magazine recently described living with roommates as “a surging American trend,” and the Atlantic has said much the same thing. If you’re in that boat, here’s how to keep your shared monthly bill from becoming an unpleasant surprise:
Make small improvements that can pay off. If you rent, you might not be able to make major upgrades to your apartment or home. But you can do smaller things to save energy without getting your landlord’s approval. For instance:
– Try using fans and open windows before you turn on the air conditioning.
– Make sure furniture and drapes are not blocking your HVAC ducts or radiators.
– Check that your fridge and freezer are set to optimum settings — 36° F to 38° F for the refrigerator, 0° F to 5° F for the freezer.
Those and many more energy-saving tips can be found here.
Turn off and unplug electronics. Things like video game systems and DVD players use electricity, even when you’re not actively using them. In fact, up to 75 percent of the energy these devices use is wasted power. Unplug them when not in use to save energy and money, or plug them into a power strip that can be switched on and off. And if you’re in the market to replace a TV set, audio amplifier or other entertainment appliance, check out ENERGY STAR guidance on energy-thrifty products before you buy.
Share info on energy-saving programs. Again, if you rent an apartment or other space, energy-saving upgrades might be the landlord or property owner’s decision. But you can always let that person know that PPL Electric Utilities offers a variety of rebates, discounts and other programs to encourage energy savings. Info on all of our residential programs can be found here.
Talk about the thermostat. The ideal energy-smart thermostat settings are 68° F in the winter and 78° F in the summer, if possible. When no one’s home, those settings should be a few degrees cooler (in winter) or warmer (in summer). Wherever you set the thermostat, though, try to avoid situations where each roommate moves it up or down to their own comfort. That keeps your HVAC system working to adjust to the changes.