How to Reduce Energy Consumption while Working from Home
By working from home, you’re already doing something to reduce energy consumption; you’re not driving to work, and you’re not using an office space. That can save some energy, and it will save you some money, but you can always save more. Fortunately, there are some relatively easy ways for you to save money while working at home.
Eliminate Standby Power
Standby power (sometimes known as vampire power) is everywhere. Consider your television. When you use your remote to turn it on, it needs to receive the signal from your remote. That means it needs to use electricity; without power, it couldn’t sense that your remote was telling it to turn on. In the same vein, your microwave will always display the time, and smart devices are always looking for updates.
You can eliminate standby power in a number of ways. The most efficient is to buy power strips, and put electronics you use together on the same power strip. For example, you can put a home theatre on one power strip. More relevant to working at home, you can put all of your home office electronics on one strip, then turn the strip off when you’re done working. Forgetful? That’s okay. You can buy power strips with a timer; they’ll automatically turn off after a set amount of time.
Home Office Efficiencies
Next, let’s focus on the space you work in. One of the easiest tips for energy efficiency in your workplace is to unplug any computer peripherals that you aren’t using. Have a copy/printer? Only plug it in when you’re using it.
You can access a number of power saving settings on your monitor and computer. For Macs, you can use the Energy Saver, while you can change power settings on your Windows 10 computer by following these guidelines. Save power with your monitor by reducing the brightness. These tips can all help for laptop computers as well.
Looking for even more energy savings? Consider buying low-power electronics. You can find PCs and peripheral devices that use less power, but be aware that they might reduce your performance. This isn’t a problem when you’re primarily using spreadsheets and document editors, but folks who are running Photoshop or other resource intensive programs might see serious performance declines. Check out Energy Star’s energy-efficient computers for a good starting point.
You should also take a look at your lighting. You’ll want task lighting for any near-sighted activities. When properly set up, you’ll be able to turn off your ambient lighting, open your windows, and turn your task light on and off when appropriate. On the off chance you’re still using incandescent bulbs, switch them out for CFL.
Working from home will mean you care a lot more about the temperature in your house. Unlike the office, you can adjust everything to exactly your preferences. You’ll benefit a lot from insulating your house properly; it will keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. While insulating can be a bit costly upfront, you’ll save a lot of money on AC and heating over time. Insulation is also at the forefront of the green housing movement; Passive House is the way of the future, and it relies on hyper insulating your home in order to minimize the energy costs of climate control.
You should perform regular maintenance on your climate control appliances, too. Should the AC run constantly? Should your furnace be making banging noises? Definitely not. That will distract you from your work and it’s a sign of energy inefficiency. Get them repaired, or consider upgrading to more energy-efficient models.
You can also save a lot of energy by changing the way you dress. Wear breathable clothes in the summer, and consider opening windows instead of turning on your AC. In the winter, sweaters, slippers, and a hot cup of tea can keep you nice and toasty while you turn the furnace down. Adjusting the thermostat just a couple of degrees can generate tremendous energy savings, and you may not even notice the difference.
Lower the Flow
You’ll be using a lot more water when you work from home, from washing your hands to cooking more meals. You can save a lot of money on water heating costs and your water bill by switching to low flow faucets, toilets, and (less work-related) shower heads. Some utilities will even offer to give you free low flow faucets and showerheads; check yours!
Get New Appliances
You’ll probably be doing more cooking at home if you work there. Getting an energy efficient oven and microwave can help you reduce costs. The upfront cost of these appliances is probably not worth the amount you’ll save on your power bill (unless you live in the same place for decades), but new appliances can up your home’s resale value and give you a more pleasant cooking experience.
With the way things are going these days, more people will be working from home permanently rather than temporarily. All the above tips will help you keep your power consumption at home lower – better for your budget and better for the planet.
About The Author:Kiara is a writer based in Canada. She writes articles with a focus on marketing and home improvement for a variety of businesses. Some of her favorite pieces can be found on the Dub-L-EE’s website.
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash
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