OREANDA-NEWS. Renting an apartment versus owning a home can often mean you have less control over your environment. When it comes to energy savings, however, there are still plenty of steps you can take to help reduce the amount of money you spend on utility costs each month. Here are seven quick and easy tips that can help you start saving in no time.

1. Consider Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) can be one of the most affordable swaps you can make to help cut back on energy costs. According to EnergyStar.gov, Energy Star-certified light bulbs use about 70 to 90 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and can help you save between $30 and $80 per bulb. Start with your frequently used fixtures then swap out the rest as you can afford to do so. You’ll be surprised at how infrequently you’ll have to replace the light bulbs once you’ve made the switch. Keep in mind, traditional incandescent light bulbs have an average lifetime of 750 to 1,000 hours, whereas CFLs have an average lifetime of 6,000 to 15,000 hours, says EnergyStar.gov.

2. Switch to a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re paying for your individual utilities, but don’t have a programmable thermostat in your apartment, consider talking to your landlord about having one installed. Being able to set your thermostat based on your schedule means you won’t have to try and remember to turn the temperature down a few degrees every time you leave home.

If you do not have a programmable thermostat and your landlord will not allow you to install one, you might consider setting reminders on your smartphone to help you remember which times of day you want to drop or raise the temperature. According to Energy.gov, you may see annual savings of up to 1 percent per eight-hour period for each degree you turn down your thermostat.

3. Optimize Your Window Coverings

Depending on the season, there are a few tricks you can consider to help regulate the temperature of your apartment. In the winter, let the sun do some of the work for you by keeping your blinds open during a sunny day, says U.S. News and World Report. This can allow the sun’s heat to naturally warm your space throughout the day. This, of course, is not a substitute for keeping the heat on, but you’ll be able to lower the temperature setting on your thermostat without losing too much warmth. If you live in an area with especially cold winters, consider using temporary plastic window film to help block out the cold and wind, says Popular Mechanics. The clear window film is applied directly to your windowpane so you’ll hardly notice it’s there and you’ll still have full use of your blinds. This is inexpensive (usually less than $1 per window), will likely not cause damage to your windows and can typically be removed easily at the end of the season, says Popular Mechanics.

In the summer, help lessen the workload of your cooling system by keeping the blinds shut until you get home at night. By closing the blinds or adding heavy drapery, you can limit the amount of sunlight that can get into your apartment, thus helping reduce the amount of heat the sunlight can create within your living space. According to Energy.gov, if you completely close and lower your blinds on a sunny window it may help reduce heat gain between 33 to 45 percent.

4. Use Low-Flow Fixtures

Using low-flow fixtures may help reduce the amount of water you use and potentially lower your water bill. You can either replace existing fixtures or add an attachment to your shower head, bathroom and kitchen faucets to help reduce the amount of water used without sacrificing water pressure. Investing in low-flow fixtures can help you save between 25 and 60 percent on water usage, says Energy.gov. Make sure to ask your landlord’s permission before swapping out any fixtures and remember to switch them back to the original fixtures when you move out.