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What if I rent?

4 October 2007

A common comment I get about the Minnesota Energy Challenge is: “I don’t know if I can do this because I rent.” I feel your pain. I also rent, which means some energy conservation and efficiency steps are beyond my reach. I have absolutely no control over the heat in my building, I’m not going to be giving my landlord any brand new energy efficient appliances anytime soon, and re-insulating my walls? Give me a break.

But even if you can’t make these big physical changes to the place where you live, you can still save a lot of energy by taking other actions. For example, you can purchase wind energy from your utility, like Xcel Energy’s Windsource.Buying wind energy means that your electric utility will buy the amount of kilowatt hours (kWh) from a wind farm rather than from a coal burning plant. So your apartment isn’t singularly run by energy just from a wind farm, but Xcel buys that much more energy from a wind farm rather than a coal burning plant.

Personal anecdote: My place is pretty small and I had been thinking about get wind energy for a while, so I decided to bite the bullet and go to funding 100% of my electricity with wind energy. I was bracing myself for a huge charge on my first bill, but since I use under 200 kWh monthly, the total charge for Windsource came out to be $6. And I got a $4 refund for the fuel charge on my bill.

Which means that I am paying $2 a month to avoid over 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide pollution each year.

Even if you don’t own your home, you can make a big difference! You can learn more energy efficient actions that renters can take on the Minnesota Energy Challenge.

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