Can you go green if you rent? You bet.

Click here for a Good Dirt Radio 5-minute eco-spot on renters’ options.

Just about anyone living under a roof today has heard about investing in and saving on their own energy costs, while helping reduce climate-changing pollution at the same time. The question is how many renters act on that knowledge? Owners have more incentives than ever to invest in renewable energy but renters also generate a fair share of global warming gases and can make small investments in conservation and energy efficiency, with a decent payback. Have a listen to hear about how renters can help offset their climate changing pollution.

Click here for resources and information on this topic.

Read transcript below.

Welcome to Good Dirt Radio, reporting on positive change… taking root.

Just about anyone with a roof has heard about investing in and saving on energy costs, while helping reduce climate-changing pollution at the same time. Owners have more incentives than ever to invest in renewable energy but renters also generate a fair share of global warming gases and can make small investments in conservation and energy efficiency, with a decent payback.

Energy prices and the effects of climate change are increasing.  And though they may not realize it, renters can be a large part of the solution by making simple changes in everyday living.  Energy conservation can benefit their bottom line and help reduce dirty emissions at the other end of the power line.

Seth Masia is Deputy Editor of Solar Today Magazine, published by American Solar Energy Society in Boulder, CO.  Masia addresses a variety of common sense, but often forgotten possibilities renters can employ and says states with the highest energy rates have the fastest payback on conservation measures.

Masia:  Well there are things that renters can do.  The CFL option is an obvious one, compact fluorescent lamps, they’re so much more efficient than incandescent lamps that congress has actually outlawed the sale of incandescent lamps after 2013. But the price of CFLs has come down to the point where, depending on what part of the country you live and what you’re paying for electricity, the payback can be under a year and you can take the CFLs with you when you leave.   Get everyone in the family in the habit of turning off lights and fans, unplugging phantom loads, you know, the little bricks that use electricity whether the appliance is on or not or put them on a switchable outlet strip.  I do most of my laundry in cold water.  My clothes don’t seem to get any less clean and it dramatically reduces the amount of water I have to heat. Maybe you own the window air conditioners in your apartment, it certainly makes sense to get a more efficient air conditioner.

Sheryl Eisenberg is a NYC media professional and writer of green columns offering advice to consumers on how to reduce energy and climate changing pollution.  She offers a few more basic ideas for renters to consider.

Eisenberg:  You can weatherize your home, basically, sealing up all the little cracks and openings where air is getting in and escaping.  It means insulating your windows.  You can cover them with blinds and heavy curtains and then you keep those things closed, the curtains or blinds, on cold winter nights and hot summer days.  You open your windows in the early morning and you’ll get a nice fresh breeze that will cool down your house and then you may be able to go the whole day without any air conditioning.

Seniors, many of whom are renters and on a fixed budget, can also reduce energy costs, related pollution and stretch their dollars.  Masia says its fair game for tenants to ask landlords to pay or split the cost of inexpensive energy efficiency improvements to their rental property.

Masia:  Beginning next spring, there are going to be solar panels available that produce alternating current and if you have a south-facing window or a balcony in your apartment or condo, you’ll be able to set of these guys up and plug it straight into your wall outlet and it will, in fact save you money and that’s something you can take with you when you leave the apartment.

Sharon Leach is an energy efficiency educator, writer and publisher in Taos, NM and recent executive director of Sustain Taos, a non-profit working on local sustainability issues.  She says everyone can do their part.

Leach:  There is a class of people who have money and they’re looking for a place to invest it but for the rest of us that may not have a tax burden, we’re just trying to earn enough in order to pay for this that and the other thing, its hard to imagine that there’s anything we can do.  But, if you have $20 and can go out and buy some caulking and some weather-stripping and fix the holes in your house, you’re gonna see a difference in your monthly payout for your utilities.  Everybody can do something, can turn off a light or use a power-strip to turn off their computer when it’s not in use.  Everybody can do one small thing and change one small habit and they will have an impact on what’s happening, globally. 

Consumers are getting the connection between energy use, related pollution and climate change. Join us on Good Dirt Radio for more examples of folks helping reduce the threat of climate change.

Did you know green power may be available in your area?  You can call your power provider for details. When enough people make big changes….big things can happen.  The climate clock… is ticking.

I’m Tom Bartels and I’m Tami Graham.  Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.

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