Those of us who rent accomodation don’t have as much scope for improving household efficiency as owners. However, there are still things we can do. This list is a checklist for anyone moving into a new house or flat. What can you do in your first few days to use less energy and save yourself money-
1. Let there be light
Low energy lightbulbs are cheap nowadays. They’ll repay your investment in a matter of months, if not weeks. Take those filament bulbs, throw them away and replace them with compact fluorescents.
2. Fix the flush
You can reduce the amount of water used each time you flush the toilet in a number of ways. The traditional one is to fill a bottle with water and dunk it in the cistern. More technical fixes involve gadgets such as the Hippo. If you’re feeling particularly dedicated, how about adopting a “yellow is mellow” policy and choose not to flush at all some times.
3. Get balls
Ecoballs are a good alternative to washing powders and liquids. They do the job and cut down on the amount of pollution generated by washing clothes. Just remember not to leave them in when tumble drying. Two of my balls were left in once and the foamy bumper rings around them now look a lot worse for wear.
If your new home doesn’t have recycling bins then call your council and get some sent over. Some councils won’t supply recycling bins for houses split into flats unless you get on the phone and peck their heads.< 5. Compost
If you’ve got a garden then put your green waste to good use. Keeping organic matter out of the bin and landfill reduces methane production and the by-products can do wonders for your flowers and herbs.
The charity shops of Withington are doing well out of me at the moment as I trim my book and comic stashes so I have to cart less stuff when I move. There are few better times to separate the wheat from the chaff than when you’re boxing everything up anyway.
7. Switch suppliers
There are plenty of green energy companies and schemes popping up. Why not vote with your direct debit and move to one of them.
8. Master your thermostat
It’s always a good idea to get your heating set up sensibly. Choose a level a little lower than the previous tenants and accept that some days you might need to put on an extra layer.
9. Shop local
Most urban dwellers can get everything they need from local shops, often for less than they’d pay at the supermarket. If there’s a good market nearby they’ll have a wider choice, for significantly less, than Asda et al can provide.
You’ll be going for a walk to find all those local shops, so turn it into an expedition. You can achieve a lot without having to get into a car. Look for public transport connections, parks, public spaces and little zen corners where you can recharge. Be on the lookout for fruit trees as well, few things taste as good as meals you harvested yourself.
This list was inspired by the current group writing project at Problogger.