By Ayrel Clark-Proffitt, Sustainability Office.
Last fall, my husband and I moved into an apartment in a structure that was built in 1912. The age of the home was a red flag in terms of energy use, but it was cute, and the owners had already started making upgrades, including replacing about half of the windows in the apartment with double-pane, vinyl-frame windows. Last month, they replaced the remaining single-pane windows.
Being a sustainability geek, I was immediately drawn to the stickers that show the efficiency ratings for the new windows. Though not ENERGY STAR-rated, these windows are going to be a significant boon to energy reduction since they replace improperly installed, single-pane, metal-frame windows. Here’s what I learned from the stickers:
Frankly, it isn’t the greatest time to be a renter in Salt Lake City. Salt Lake has a low vacancy rate, and according to data on local rates, the average monthly rent for two-bedroom apartments went up 12 percent from May 2015 to May 2016.
These stats aren’t meant to scare renters, but rather convince them that it is important to know what they are getting, energy-efficiency wise, before signing a lease. If owners can’t provide an estimate on utilities, take a look around the place. What upgrades have the owners made? What do those windows look like? On what side of the house are most of the windows? Are there places in the home that are noticeably hotter or colder than other areas? How is the seal on exterior doors? How many appliances are ENERGY STAR-rated? Doing your homework on energy efficiency can help better plan your budget and save money and emissions in the long run.
Ayrel Clark-Proffitt is the campus engagement coordinator for the University of Utah Sustainability Office.