Energy-Saving Tips for Renters

Understand your energy use patterns

Our Average Energy Use and Cost tool will let you estimate your energy costs before you rent an apartment or home in the Madison area. Knowing your use patterns for natural gas and electricity can also help you target ways to save!


The furnace or boiler is the largest energy user in most homes.

  • Check furnace filter monthly; replace as needed.
  • If health permits, keep the thermostat at 68°F or below.
  • Lower thermostat at night and when you're gone (55°F lowest setting).
  • Keep registers and cold air returns clear of furniture and drapes.
  • Open drapes to allow sun in. Close them at night.
  • Cover wall-mounted air conditioners with plastic film or an air-tight cover.
  • Cover interior of windows with shrink-film plastic.
  • Electric heat is the most expensive. If your home uses electricity for heating:
    • Close off rooms you are not using.
    • Turn down thermostats on closed-off rooms.


  • Appliances that have the ENERGY STAR® label use less energy than comparable products.
  • MGE has given portable energy meters to area libraries. Check one out to see how much electricity appliances use.
  • When possible, use the microwave instead of the stove.
  • Turn off TV, computers and the devices connected to them when not in use.


  • Replace most frequently used incandescent bulbs and fixtures with ENERGY STAR® certified bulbs.
  • Turn off lights when leaving a room.

Water heating

Water heating is the second largest single energy user in most homes.

  • Set water heater temperature at 120°F.
  • Conserve hot water.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead.
  • Tell the owner about dripping faucets or water heater leaks.


Air-conditioning can be your biggest electricity user in the summer.

  • Set your thermostat at 78°F or higher.
  • Turn off your air conditioner when no one is home.
  • Close your drapes and shades to keep the sun out.
  • Use room fans or ceiling fans instead of air-conditioning.
  • Turn off fans when room is unoccupied.

Additional information