According to the Global Workplace Analytics latest telecommuting statistics, an estimated 3.3 million Americans work from home. Working remotely may save you gas for your car, but what about its impact on your energy bills? The home office is a big contributor to total home energy usage, but by employing a few energy saving tips, you can also save money without sacrificing office performance.
Depending on your usage, ENERGY STAR labeled office equipment such as cordless phones and computers will use 30-60% less electricity than standard equipment. You’ll save more energy by using all-in-one devices that combine multiple functions (print, copy, scan). An ENERGY STAR labeled flat-panel LCD monitor uses one-half to two-thirds less power than an equally sized CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) screen, and it can save you $10 to $30 per year in electricity costs. Instead of a desktop computer that uses nearly 130 watts of electricity, buy a laptop that consumes 15 watts only, and you’ll save one-third the power.
Most devices consume electricity even when switched off. The AC adaptor for printers, scanners and laptops draws power continuously, so turn them off when they are not in use. Make it simple to power down all devices at once by grouping your plugs into one power strip. Even better, find a power strip that senses when devices aren’t in use, and it shuts them off for you. Don’t forget to turn off monitors and unplug battery chargers as well.
Save energy by putting your computer in low-power sleep mode, and you’ll get the added benefits of keeping the machine cooler and retaining longer battery life. The energystar.gov website provides a list of operating systems with easy instructions on how to enable your power management settings. Additionally, you can adjust the settings for when you stop using the computer for a period of time, such as a lunch break or phone calls. Turn it off completely if you’ll be away for more than two hours.
Setting up energy efficient lighting is one of the simplest ways to save money. Arrange your desk to make the most of natural light on sunny days. Switch to halogen incandescent bulbs, LED, or compact fluorescent light bulbs, which last longer and use one-quarter to one-third of the power of conventional bulbs. Instead of relying entirely on overhead lights, conserve bulb usage by setting up task lighting. Place a floor lamp in a corner, and it will magnify light throughout the room.
When home alone during the day, avoid running heat or air conditioning at capacity for the entire house. Lower the thermostat a bit and supplement your office with a space heater in the winter or with fans in the summer. Just don’t forget to unplug them when they’re not in use.
Your office is one of the easiest rooms to tackle when making your home more energy efficient. Performing just a few mindful changes will save you energy and save you money.