How To Save Energy While Working From Home
Working from home certainly has its perks: you can stay in your pajamas, snuggle your pets, and snack all day. But after the first month of WFH, you might have noticed something unfortunate—your energy bill has skyrocketed!
One unintended consequence of the pandemic is how COVID-19 has affected energy usage. Many homeowners are dealing with higher-than-average electricity bills now that they're spending less time out of the house.
You may have decorated your home office space, but have you considered how to make it energy efficient? To lessen the financial burden of working from home, we've put together a few tips for saving power, and hence, money:
Use power strips
Ever heard of "vampire" or "phantom" electricity? It sounds ominous, but it's more expensive than it is spooky. This term describes devices that use power even when they're not turned on; the main culprits are anything with a chunky power adapter—cell phone chargers, laptop chargers, etc. It might seem small, but the electricity that's constantly pulled into those adapters even when nothing is connected to the other end adds up.
Power strips—those long adapters with multiple outlets and an on/off switch—will let you kill power to any unused electronics. Hook these up wherever you have multiple electronics plugged in. You'll get more use out of a single outlet and reduce your electricity usage.
Use natural lighting
We don't often question our use of light sources—we typically take them for granted. But did you know that lighting costs account for 20% of your electricity bill?
It's surprising how much you can save just by turning off light switches. Limit your home office to one room and turn off any lights (or appliances) in other areas of your house. Open the blinds and use the sun as a natural desk lamp. Natural sunlight has beneficial effects on our mental and physical wellbeing, as explained here (click).
If your home lacks windows and you need artificial lights, make sure to swap out any incandescent bulbs for LED ones. They'll last longer, use far less energy, and radiate less heat than traditional bulbs. It's a win-win scenario!
Purchase energy-efficient appliances
Think about all the machines you use during a typical workday, and then pile on top of that the additional ones you're now using since you're home more often. There's your computer, the printer, the coffee machine, your kitchen appliances…the list goes on! If you upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, you can significantly lower your power bill. Whenever you're printing a document or brewing a cup of coffee, you'll know that you aren't costing yourself a small fortune in electricity.
If you don't have the extra funds to purchase upgrades, look for eco-friendly settings on your current appliances. Many computers have power-saving capabilities, including the ability to lower your screen brightness, a big use of power.
Adjust the thermostat
When you used to work at the office, you'd turn down the thermostat whenever you left home, right? After all, why pay more for heating or cooling if you aren't at home to enjoy it?
Now that you rarely leave the house, you don't adjust the thermostat as often, or worse, your home office is chilly in the winter, so you crank the heat for the whole house up. It's important to stay comfy while you work, so how about some temperature moderation tactics?
Turning the winter thermostat down by just a few degrees can create substantial savings. Use a blanket or comfy sweatshirt to stay warm. In the summer months, raise the thermostat by a few degrees, drink cold water, and wear light clothes to stay cool.
Despite your best efforts, you may notice that you're still paying a lot for energy these days. The culprit could be an inefficient HVAC system. You may be asking yourself: when should you repair your furnace or AC unit, and when should you replace it? Some fixes are simple, like replacing your filters or getting a tune-up. But some repairs cost more than the machine itself is worth. Consult an HVAC technician to determine what's right for your home.
Rethink your laundry routine
Now that you're spending more time at home, you can use breaks during the day to complete household chores. Laundry might have taken several hours on the weekend, but now it's easy to fit it into your workday.
But, your frequent use of the washer and dryer puts a strain on your energy budget. How can you control it?
For starters, switch to washing with cold water—that way, you'll save on heating the water. Then, try air-drying your clothes instead of using the dryer! If you don't have the backyard space (or the right weather conditions) for an outdoor clothesline, you can opt for an indoor rack instead. You won't need any electricity to dry your clothes—just a bit of extra time, which we all seem to have plenty of since the pandemic started.
Most of us have changed our daily routines since the outbreak of COVID-19. After working from home for a few months, we've started to see an increase in our energy bills. Try out the above electricity-saving tips to combat those rising costs!
About the author: Kiara provides comprehensive marketing solutions for busy entrepreneurs. She loves applying her knowledge of writing and home improvement to new content pieces. Some of her favorite pieces can be found on Provincial Heating's website.