Illustration of apartments, condos and rental homes, and how they can save money and be smart renters

Be an energy-smart renter

Many rental units don’t include utility costs in the monthly rent payment. It’s always a smart idea to be knowledgeable about energy costs when looking at rental homes or apartments. If you find an energy-efficient place, it could significantly lower your monthly expenses.

Here are some important things to consider:


Newer houses or apartments built to newer building codes will generally cost less to heat or cool than older buildings. But if you’re looking at an older place, ask if it has any energy upgrades like replacement windows or weatherization.

Past bills

Ask if it’s possible to see past utility bills to get a rough idea of energy costs.


In a multistory building, an apartment in the middle of the building is a little more insulated by the apartments above, below and on either side — and that may help save on heating and cooling.


Newer models are more efficient. Look for the ENERGY STAR logo for ultimate savings.


Saving hot water saves energy. Look for the small numbers on the showerhead — you want to see 2.5 g.p.m. or lower (that’s gallons per minute). The lower the number, the more you’ll save.

Light bulbs

Are they LEDs? If not, install your own to save up to 85 percent on lighting energy costs.

After you move

We’ve got you covered once you settle into your new place, too. Check our top 20 low-cost and no-cost ways to save. Also check out Energy Trust of Oregon’s Renters’ page and their LED lighting page.