I have a landlord who is very interested in saving money. I wanted to suggest options to her to help her save money while reducing environmental footsteps. However she is not motivated to save the environment and is trying to pay off medical bills so is opposed to large upfront costs; so anything I suggest must be an obvious cost savings, not too expensive, and not inconvenient for her or for her tenants to implement (for instance she nixed a programmable thermostat due to the effort of figuring out times to program in that worked with everyone's schedules).
As it happens I donate a pretty large sum of money to charity anyways, which means I have money to spare, and I both trust my landlord and have an easy collateral (I pay for x months in advance, you can't kick me out till ...), so I'm actually willing to help finance some larger investments if she isn't. I don't need to make any profit if it helps her and the environment, however, I make pretty good interest in my charitable fund so any money I contribute to help her has to provide sufficient savings to make up for my opportunity cost of not earning interest on that money until I'm refunded while slowly working towards refunding my initial investment and still giving her some sort of savings to make it worth her while; in other words we can do larger expenditures but only if they give fairly substantial savings.
Can anyone suggest which options are best to suggest to my landlord? I know in the long run solar panels would be a good option, but they are large enough of an upfront investment that it may be hard to convince her to look into. However, I would love more details about them, in particular any hidden expense (for instance, extra effort to maintain them, clear them off, etc) which I may not be aware of but she deserves to know going in.
Any other good options to recommend to her are welcome. I need things that aren't asking for too heavy a time investment from her to do, I'm happy to invest some of my time but I don't own the house so only so much I can do there, plus I'm pretty disorganized myself (lol).
We live in Maryland with 3 adults and one child living in the house. The house is a somewhat older house with two stories plus a furnished underground basement used as a playroom, just in case any of that matters.
P.S. If we do something that would warrant tax credits is there any way I can pay for it and claim the tax credit as a resident but not as a home owner? My tax bracket is a bit higher then hers so I would get a larger savings.
EDIT: I should have said this sooner since it's obviously relevant; I sort of took it for granted. Our utilities are included in our rent, so she is paying the full cost for all utilities. She also lives in and owns the house, so maybe 'landlord' is a slightly misleading title :)
The house is both heated in the winter and cooled (AC) in the winter. Since we're in MD we probably are a little north, probably spend more of the year heating the AC etc.