Going Green in College Part II: Cutting Costs of Utilities

When most people start to look for an apartment, the cost of rent is a huge factor in deciding where to live. College students are often strapped for cash and looking to save money wherever possible. Queue the Ramen noodles right?

What many people might not realize, however, is that the cost of rent doesn’t usually include all living expenses. One must take the electric, gas, cable, and Internet bills into account in order to accurately measure the true cost of living in an apartment or house. While many of these bills might seem overwhelming, there are plenty of ways to save money and cut the cost of utilities in order to fit a tighter budget. Put simply, going green in college is no longer a trend, it's a way of life!

The first and most basic step to cutting down the electric bill is to increase the temperature of your air conditioner during the summer and decrease the temperature of your heater during the winter when you are not at your apartment. By doing so, you can shave money off your bill without having to sacrifice the discomfort of no heat/ac. If you’re apartment does not already have air conditioning or a heater, when you go to buy one, make sure that it is an energy efficient appliance. Not only are these more eco-friendly, they also reduce the price of your utility bills drastically.

The next easy step to keeping your electric bill lower is to regularly change the air filters on your heat/air conditioners. Having dirty filters reduces an appliance’s efficiency and makes them work harder for the same results.

After messing with the air conditioner, you can install heavier curtains to trap the air conditioning from escaping outside. If you’re not using a room, you may want to close the vents so that you’re air conditioning doesn’t have to work as hard.

In order to reduce the electric bill even further, taking shorter showers will help. If one is to install low flow showerheads, you can reduce the amount of water and electricity you use. By using cold water instead of hot or lukewarm water when doing the dishes or brushing your teeth, you can save money on your water heater. The same goes for doing laundry and using a cold wash rather than hot water.

By simply turning off unused lights or appliances when you’re not using them, less electricity is being used so therefore your bill will be cheaper. It may seem like these are small steps, but in reality, they can end up saving you big time at the end of the month when the bills come around. If a light bulb goes out, installing energy efficient ones will last longer and save you on the utility bill.

Last but not least, when you are buying Internet and cable, it is usually cheaper to buy them in a bundled packaged. By doing so, you can save on an installation fee and often times take advantage of deals that companies offer.

All of the steps listed above do little to change your day-to-day life, but they can drastically reduce the amount of money you spend on utilities. Not only are you saving green, but also you’re going green in college and reducing your carbon footprint.

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