Renewable Energy for Apartments
As a renter, it can be hard to transition to renewable energy. But while you may not be able to install solar panels on your unit, there are still things you can do to reap the benefits of clean energy. Here are our top tips for renewable energy and energy efficiency for renters.
Find a clean energy plan online
WattBuy is an online energy marketplace that can help match you to affordable and renewable energy plans. Sometimes you pay more for renewable energy, but in some cases, you can pay less. All you have to do is enter your address, choose your plan, and then order it online. You can filter plans by energy source, price, length of plan, and more.
You can also look toward Inspire, a clean energy company that helps renters and homeowners alike switch to clean energy plans. When you sign up, they work with your electricity utility to switch your current energy supply to be 100% renewable. You’ll still just receive one consolidated utility bill, with Inspire listed as your electricity supplier.
Get a home energy audit
Getting a home energy audit is a great first step to take to improve your energy efficiency, and is something renters can take advantage of, too. Many utilities offer a free energy audit that allows them to evaluate and analyze your energy use, and then give you suggestions as to how to improve your energy efficiency. It’s free, will only take a couple of hours of your time, and greatly improve the efficiency of your unit, which can save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.
Talk with your landlord
Chances are your landlord has never considered installing solar panels – so why not start that conversation? Installing solar panels is shown to increase both the desirability and value of a given property. According to research done by Zillow, homes with solar panels can have a value up to 4.1% more than comparable homes with no solar panels. Installing solar panels can also decrease energy bills for you, the tenant, so it’s a win-win! And if you pair solar panels with a home battery (like the Tesla power wall) it can also provide backup power in a power outage – a great benefit for anyone.
Participate in community solar
Community solar is a great option for renters because it doesn’t require you to have the physical space for panels. To participate, community members just subscribe to a local community solar facility, and receive credit on their utility bills for how much power their share of the facility produced. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 4.6 gigawatts of community solar have been installed in the U.S through 2021.
Check with your utility
Check with your electricity provider to see if they offer renewable energy credits or other programs that ensure you’re getting your energy from renewable sources. For example, Xcel Energy offers renewable energy options to their customers, and Duke Energy has a “Renewable Advantage” program that allows customers to support renewable energy each month, starting at just $3 a month.
Get portable solar
While you may not be able to install solar panels on your roof, a lot of companies sell solar panels small enough to install on your windowsill or balcony. For example, Grouphug sells a small panel you can suction cup to any window and use to power small devices like cellphones, smartwatches, speakers and more. If you want to go bigger, you can get a 160w or 200w panel that can fit easily on your balcony or patio that can also supplement your energy needs.
Switch to LEDs
Did you know that lighting accounts for nearly 5% of global CO2 emissions? According to the EPA, if every household in the U.S replaced just one light bulb with an LED bulb, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 9 billion pounds! Switching your bulbs to LEDs is a quick, simple fix that can help you achieve energy savings of 50-70% compared to other lighting technologies. That’s a win for your wallet and the planet.
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