Tenants can save energy and money by making a few small changes, and can negotiate with their landlords for other improvements.
It turns out that many leases prevent tenants from making changes that could lead to substantial energy savings.
No permission needed
If saving money is your main concern, start by taking small, simple steps to cut your electricity bill, like replacing incandescent lights with compact fluorescent or halogen bulbs and unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, or plugging them into a power strip that you can easily turn off. Some power strips now come with remote controls to save you having to crawl back behind the desk.
Another energy saving suggestion is to look for Energy Star-certified products when shopping for home electronics. Products like TVs, DVD players, computers and cable boxes now come with Energy Star ratings.
Ask before you try
Closing up drafts with caulking or foam sealant, or putting plastic film over your windows to keep heat in may seem noninvasive. But in a standard lease, both would be prohibited because anything that you affix to the property is considered an improvement legally, or an alteration.
One solution: See if your landlord would be willing to share the cost with you. Caulk and foam sealant are eligible for federal tax credits, so you could offer to do the work and let your landlord take that credit.