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3 tips for an energy efficient apartment

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Even if you are living in a rented apartment, there are still a number of things you can do to improve how much you pay energy suppliers. While you probably don't have the option of installing solar panels, you can still save yourself a few extra dollars on your power bill. By simply changing how you use water, electricity or even gas on a day-to-day basis, you can trim down your utility costs and reduce your environmental footprint - without sacrificing enjoyment.

Here are three top tips to help you cut down on electricity prices in your rental apartment. 

1. Choose the right appliances

According to the Department of Industry and Science, household appliances account for around 30 per cent of a household's energy bills. If you have come into a furnished rental, your electricity suppliers could see a big reduction in electricity usage if you switch them out for more sustainable options. However, you will typically need permission from your landlord or property manager before making any energy efficiency improvements, so make sure you do your research before going ahead.

There are a wide range of rebates, discounts and tax deductions available for property owners who make sustainable appliance choices. Before approaching your landlord, investigate the options in your area and find out what your rental could be eligible for. For example, the fridge or freezer buyback incentive in the Australian Capital Territory awards account holders $30 from their next energy bill, as well as removing and recycling the appliance for free.  

2. Use lighting efficiently

The first thing to think about when renting an apartment is the types of bulbs you're using. Replace inefficient varieties with environmentally-friendly options. Compact fluorescent bulbs are much more economical than the old incandescent types - in fact, the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) reports these bulbs run 75 per cent more efficiently than incandescent.

Even with the most energy efficient lighting, it's still worth having a look at how you use bulbs in your apartment. You can make your bills a lot more economical by simply switching off lights that aren't in use and letting natural light flood a room instead of flipping a switch. This isn't just for the inside - the ATA also estimates that leaving outdoor lights on for a long period of time can actually double your lighting bill. Make sure terrace or balcony lights are turned off when you go to bed, and check how sensors are operating. 

3. Reduce standby

Out of sight and out of mind, appliances and gadgets on standby are a silent consumer of energy in your rental. Microwaves, televisions, stereos and even phone chargers can continue to suck energy when left plugged in. Combined with large appliances like dishwashers and washing machines, this technology can eat up a considerable amount of electricity. 

The ATA shows that 10 per cent of your power bill could come from these appliances and gadgets being left on at the wall, so do a sweep of your apartment and take stock of the number of power points - you can plug your gadgets into a power board to make them easier to switch off, particularly when you're regularly reaching behind furniture to access them. 

If your electricity provider isn't quite meeting your needs, it might be worth enlisting the help of a switching service like Make It Cheaper. The experts can compare electricity plans to find a suitable option that services your rental apartment. 

Posted by Nikki Wilson-Everett