Speaking as a graduate student who has been living on her own since March, I try every possible way to be energy efficient in order to help conserve our planet as well as help my wallet! At this day and age it seems like being energy efficient is a fad or trend but it should be looked as a way of life that is here to stay. There are many resources available for people to become educated and aware of the problems that are ongoing and finding ways of fixing them. It is up to us to practice energy efficiency in order to protect the environment and save some money while were at it.
When picking a location to live for college, opt to get a place closest to campus or on campus. This way you can walk or ride a bike to class instead of driving to school. My university is a commuter school and because of that they have made a go green ride incentive where students are grouped together depending on where they live and receive better parking if they decide to carpool. Although this is not the most popular option, more and more students are turning to it. Even in my cohort, students have posted on our message board if anyone wishes to carpool. This is something that has yet to be fully developed but it is on its way.
In the community where I live, I know that we can ask for a free air filter every month. Although replacing the filter monthly does create extra trash, the air conditioner will be able to run more efficiently with a cleaner air filter. Ideally buying a reusable air filter that is replaced once a month is the best solution, but for houses or apartment complexes that dont offer free air filters, the air conditioning will work more efficiently if the filter is replaced.
Since my days as a graduate student consist of going to class and then studying and reading, I tend to come home some days to have lunch or just do some work at my apartment instead of on campus. I have learned to open the blinds and let the sun shine in. Never will there be sunlight outside and light on in my apartment unless there is a storm or it is gloomy. The lights only go on when the sun sets. Reading and writing may be done near a window or even outside, whichever is your preference. In this manner, I end up saving half of what I would probably be using in electricity.
If you are living in a dorm room with a roommate and have separate TVs and/or refrigerators, attempt to consolidate and invest in one refrigerator. Label each of your items so that they are not confused and locate it in a common area for both of you to have access. Same goes with the television. From what I remember in college I hardly got to watch TV and one was definitely enough for me so there is no need to have a TV in each room. Again, use whichever TV and locate it in the common area so that both you and your roommate may enjoy it, as well as any guests you may have over.
One of the things that is a bit annoying about going away for college and living in an apartment is the fact that youre usually only there for a couple semesters out of the entire year. Some students opt to stay during the summer while others return home for a break. Luckily there is a plan offered by the Texas electricity company, Bounce Energy, called Nifty 9 which allows the customer to lock in a fixed rate for 9 months. This is ideal for those who are also living in an apartment while away at school for 9 months out of the year. With the Nifty 9, Bounce Energy also plan makes sure to also reward its customers. When you pay your bill on time you receive benefits such as bill credits, movie tickets, companion airfare, and a free electricity bill!
Whether it is through Bounce Energy or any other company, look into the plans and contracts that are offered to see which is most efficient for you and your situation. This research is sure to be homework that will definitely benefit you in the future!