What Makes An Apartment ‘Energy-Efficient’?

There can be a lot of factors to consider when renting a new apartment.

Many people consider location, local services, amenities, and rental costs. Another factor high on peoples’ list is how energy-efficient an apartment might be.

Energy efficiency is essential for a couple of excellent reasons. First, it means less being paid for services that have become increasingly expensive over the years. As importantly, many people feel invested in the environment and the necessity for not being wasteful when using energy or water unnecessarily.

Here are some questions to ask when looking at a new apartment to determine how energy-efficient it is.

Do They Offer Energy-Efficient Appliances?

Many common appliances, such as air conditioners, dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes washers, and dryers, are rated by ENERGY STAR® and will save energy and money. While there are no ENERGY STAR® ratings for ovens or microwaves, you can still take note of the model of an appliance to see how energy efficient it is.

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Is the Apartment Water Wasteful?

Ask about what low-flow fixtures have been installed. Compared to many traditional fixtures, these can reduce water consumption by at least 20 percent.

Also, look at the toilet. Toilets made after 1980 can’t use more than 3.5 gallons per flush, but that can still add up to a lot of wasted water. Newer Water Sense toilets have brought that down to around 1.3 gallons per flush, saving several thousands of gallons of water wasted yearly.

Are Appliances and HVAC Systems Properly Maintained?

Air conditioning, heating, and hot water are often taken for granted—until something goes wrong. While it’s reasonable to expect a landlord to fix a non-working HVAC system or water heater, it’s also vital that they keep up with proper maintenance. A heating system that technically works, but does not work optimally, will cost more to operate. The same goes for air conditioning and water heaters. Make sure yearly maintenance is part of your landlord agreement.

Ideally, your apartment should have relatively new HVAC systems and water heaters as they will more likely be energy efficient.

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Can You Review the Apartment’s Energy Bill History?

Check what utilities are covered by your rental agreement. Even if you aren’t technically paying for the utility, you can still be interested in how much energy is consumed. Your landlord should be able to provide this information if they’re the one being billed.

If the landlord can’t provide this information, or previous tenants covered their own bills, you can contact the local utility provider and request an estimate to see how energy efficient the apartment is.

Energy-Efficiency Starts At Home

While these questions are all good ones to ask when choosing an energy-efficient apartment, don’t forget there are things you can do personally.
– Invest in LED lightbulbs
– Use reusable shopping bags
– Unplug unused electronics and other small appliances when not in use
– Recycle whenever possible
– Use public transportation or other environmentally-friendly modes of transportation

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of extra work to live a more environmentally-conscious lifestyle. Choosing an energy-efficient apartment and adopting environmentally-friendly habits can go a long way in conserving resources and saving money.

If you are looking for a new energy-efficient apartment near you, find a Link Apartments® community near you!