Energy-Saving Ideas for the College Student

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College students looking for energy saving ideas will find that even cutting back in minor ways can add up quickly to savings on their utility bills or at least a reduced negative impact on the environment. Any of the following ideas can help you cut back on energy consumption in your apartment:

Get a Retractable Clothes Line

One of the biggest wastes of energy and money is using a clothes dryer, so one of the most reliable energy-saving ideas is to cut out the clothes dryer and use a clothes line instead. You may be spending as much as $80 to $175 a year to run your clothes dryer, depending on the model of your dryer, the cost of electricity in your area and how often you use it. Even if you don’t have a dryer in your apartment, you can save $2 or more each time you go to the laundromat by taking your clothes home to dry.

A retractable clothes line is the perfect fit for a college student who may be living in a smaller apartment. You can stick it on the bathroom wall or in a closet and then pull it out as needed, retracting it when you’re finished. Drying your clothes with a clothes line costs and wastes nothing.

Get a Toaster Oven and Vegetable Steamer

The staple of the college student diet is the microwave meal or the take-out leftover. Turning on an entire oven just to cook for yourself—assuming you have the space for an oven in your apartment—may seem like a waste of energy, since you may be cooking just for yourself. However, relying too heavily on the microwave is not only a waste of energy—despite their much smaller size, microwaves use almost as many watts as ovens—but it can be unhealthy, too.

The best energy-saving cooking ideas will encourage you to eat in a healthier way, too. Investing in a toaster oven and a vegetable steamer makes cooking healthier meals as easy as using a microwave and uses less electricity, too. Toaster ovens can toast bread and also cook meals like an oven. A vegetable steamer can steam vegetables and rice just like a microwave, but does so using less energy and taking up less space on your countertop.

Use Solar Power

You probably won’t be able to convert your entire apartment to run off of solar power, but one of the best energy-saving ideas for the college student is to convert to solar power as much as possible. For the average tech-savvy college student, this means charging your portable devices—cell phone, MP3 player, PDA, netbook, notebook, portable video game system—or their batteries on a solar-powered device charger. Using light to charge up the charger, you can transfer that power to your portable devices in about one to three hours.

Energy-saving ideas for the college student include cutting back in simple ways that won’t require too much effort. Free up more money for rent and college expenses and live in a more environmentally-friendly manner.

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