When you’re searching for an apartment or rental house, remember ask about energy costs. Finding a place that is set up to be energy efficient could lower your monthly living expenses significantly.
Six energy factors to check before renting
- Age: A newer apartment or house, which is constructed to newer building codes, will likely cost less to heat and cool than an older place that hasn’t been weatherized or has single-pane windows.
If it’s not obvious, ask about the age of the building, windows and any energy-saving improvements like insulation, weather stripping and air sealing. Many landlords have upgraded older rentals with high-efficiency windows and other weatherization steps.
- Past bills: Ask the landlord if it’s possible to see past utility bills — winter and summer — to get a rough idea of how much you might pay for rent plus energy.*
- Location: In a multistory building, an apartment in the middle of the building is a little more insulated by the apartments above, below and on either side. Upper-floor apartments will be warmer in winter, but also hotter in summer.
- Appliances: How old are the appliances? Newer models are generally more energy efficient.
- Showerhead: Saving hot water saves energy. Look closely at the showerhead for a gallons-per-minute rating marked in small type. The lower the number, the more it will save on hot water. You want 2.5 GPM at most, and 2.0 GPM is even better. If it’s an older model with a higher number, ask if you can switch it out.
- Light bulbs: If they’re not LED bulbs, install your own to save up to 85 percent on lighting-related energy costs.
After you move
We’ve got you covered after you settle in your new place, too. Check our website for low-cost and no-cost tips for saving energy.
*Your bills will vary based on your circumstances, such as the number of people in the apartment, temperature settings, your actual energy usage and other factors.