Going green on the cheap
Energy auditor Tony Christoforou recommends unplugging some electronics and
appliances, such as a microwave, when theyre not in use. (Photo by Katya Pronin)
Shelling out thousands of dollars on new windows and appliances doesnt make much sense for New York City renters, but there are easy, affordable ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save on bills in the process.
amNewYork enlisted the help of energy auditor Tony Christoforou, of Pillar to Post home inspection, to look around Arts and Entertainment Editor Julie Gordons Kips Bay apartment for energy- and money-saving opportunities.
Here are some of his suggestions all for less than $50.Seal the deal
The biggest drain on home energy is poorly sealed windows. But if you dont want to pay $150-$200 a pop on eco-friendly windows, you could simply install weather stripping ($4.48 for 10 feet of black foam tape) and caulking ($1.98 for a 10-ounce tube) in gaps around the windows. Those repairs alone could cut your heating bill by up to 10 percent.
Windows were a major problem for Gordon. One of her three had a large gap above the upper pane.
Leaving a single appliance or electronic device plugged in while turned off may not seem like a big deal. But when you add it all up, their standby power accounts for about 10 percent of all residential electricity used nationwide, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Gordons TV, DVD player and microwave, for example, are using standby electricity when not in use.
Christoforou suggests connecting some appliances and electronics to a power strip and shutting it off. A six-outlet surge protector costs $13.99 at Best Buy.
Start a fan club
Cutting down on the time you run your air conditioner can significantly reduce your energy consumption. Thats why Christoforou recommends installing ceiling fans. Low-end ceiling fans cost about $46.
Ceiling fans are pretty efficient, Christoforou said. Just crack the window and have the fans going. Youd probably save quite a bit.
While Gordon said she doesnt believe installing a ceiling fan is an option for her, she does use a floor fan in her bedroom.
Lights for longer
Not only do compact fluorescent light bulbs drain about a quarter of the electricity that their incandescent competitors do, they last eight to 15 times longer.
A two-pack of 23-watt bulbs (the equivalent of a traditional 100-watt bulb) costs $6.88 at The Home Depot. Youre not talking big, big savings, Christoforou said. If it costs you $35 a month to light your apartment, it might cost you $20.