How do you encourage your residents to conserve energy, especially during the hot summer months? We suggest consistently sharing simple tips and reminders in your resident communications (newsletters, bulletins on community boards, at the rental office, etc.) Display notes and posters around common areas, appliances, and light switches to keep energy efficiency at the top of residents’ minds. Perhaps creating a friendly competition will generate participation. Sometimes, a little incentive is all it takes to engage residents in more energy-efficient behaviors. By running simple contests and offering prizes, you make energy efficiency social, competitive, and fun.
Here are some suggestions to keep costs from rising with the heat:
- Keep your thermostat at 78˚ and set it higher when no one is home. Do a quick check to ensure no air vents are inadvertently blocked by furniture.
- Freshen A/C filters regularly
- In southern California we can typically expect cool nights even if the temperatures are high during the day. Box window fans are sufficient to cool down your home without turning on expensive air conditioning.
- Pay attention to the sun; block direct sunlight with window coverings or solar shade screens.
- Use a pool or spa cover to reduce heat loss by up to 90%
These are good tips to follow year-round:
- Vanquish energy vampires! Even when appliances are turned off, they continue to use power when plugged in. This is known as stand-by power, energy vampires, or phantom loads. Use power strips to completely shut off your TV, DVR, stereo, and other electronics when not in use. Unplug your cell phone charger when not in use. Buy ENERGY STAR products whenever possible and be sure to configure the power management settings.
- For long-term energy savings on your next computer upgrade, consider a laptop over a desktop computer.
- Train your family to get in and out of the refrigerator quickly. This is one of the “biggies” in terms of appliance energy usage. Standing in front of an open door forces your fridge to work harder. Keep your refrigerator set to 36 – 39˚.
- Carefully monitor water wasted in the bathroom. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving. A 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead uses roughly 15 gallons of water—compare that to 40 – 50 gallons to fill a bathtub. If you are really serious about water conservation, put a bucket to catch the water as you warm up the shower and use for watering plants or cleaning. If you have a leaky faucet, report it to your property owner.
- When doing laundry, wash full loads rather than a handful of clothing at a time. Use cold water whenever possible.
For additional tips and resources on how to save energy in your building, including resident engagement strategies, see the following resources:
Reducing energy use is not only good for your pocketbook, but it is vital to the long-term health of our environment. For even more tips and suggestions visit www.sdge.com.