Working from home cuts commuting expenses but can cause an uptick in at-home energy use. Instead of turning off the lights and adjusting the thermostat for a day out of the house, remote workers use lights, heating/cooling systems, home appliances and other energy-using items throughout the day. In fact, energy consumption can increase by 7-23% when working from home.
The economic advantages of working from home are plentiful, but there’s a good chance you can reduce your energy waste and save even more money. These ways to lower your energy consumption will help boost your savings while reducing your carbon footprint.
Unplug When Possible
If you work from anywhere, you’re likely working on a computer, tablet, smartphone or even multiple devices. You probably charge them throughout the day, leaving the charger plugged into the wall for easy access when you need it.
Many smartphone, laptop and electronics chargers draw energy when plugged into the wall, whether your devices are connected or not. Remember to unplug chargers when not in use to save energy.
Open the Shades
The natural light that comes through your windows doesn’t cost a penny. However, it’s easy to wake up, make coffee and sit down at your desk before opening the blinds for the day.
Using natural lighting from the outdoors, instead of lamps or overhead lights, will save energy and help heat your home on chilly days.
Work Efficiently from Home
Some work-from-home jobs require workers to complete a certain number of tasks per day, while others require you to be online during traditional working hours (roughly 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Squeeze all the work you need to do into your working hours, so you don’t add unnecessary hours of energy use at the end of the day. It can be easy to get distracted while working from home, but these distractions can lead to more energy use.
Use Layers Instead of Heat at Home
Working from home likely means you demand more from your heating system during cooler times of the year. You can reduce the need for additional heating by dressing in layers, letting sunshine in or even bundling up in a blanket.
Put Fans to Use at Home
On average, air conditioning consumes 17% of your energy bill. Ceiling fans use just 2%. Put your ceiling and standing fans to use when outdoor temperatures rise to keep yourself comfortable while reducing the amount of air conditioning you use.
Close the Windows
This may sound like common sense, but it’s easy to forget you opened a window last night when you turn on the heating or air conditioning for work in the morning. Ensure all windows are closed when using the HVAC system and insulate doors and windows to keep unwanted hot or cold air out.
Make the Switch to LED
LED lights are more efficient and have longer lifespans than incandescent lights. You can use them for years or even decades without noticing any degradation in how they perform. LED lights create a comparable amount of light to an incandescent bulb while using drastically fewer watts.
Incandescent lights also produce heat, resulting in more energy use to cool yourself and your home. LED lighting does not emit heat, creating a safer and more comfortable atmosphere. Replace old lightbulbs in your home with LEDs to save energy and the environment.
Use a Power Strip at Home
You probably use far more electronics than solely a computer when working from home. Printers, modems, routers and additional computer monitors are common home office electronics. Connect electronics to a power strip that you can turn off at the end of the workday.
Smart power strips are even more convenient and effective since they guarantee your devices do not draw power while not in use. You can leave some devices, like your modem and Wi-Fi router, in the “always on” mode.
Choose Wisely When Shopping
ENERGY STAR-certified products must meet strict energy-efficiency guidelines set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Equip your home office with ENERGY STAR-certified lighting, computers, monitors, imaging equipment, tablets, telephones and other products to save energy, money and the environment.
Check Your HVAC Air Filters
It’s easy to forget about your HVAC system’s air filters — they’re out of sight and often out of mind. However, dirty air filters can put unnecessary strain on your HVAC system, causing it to use more energy and endure unnecessary wear and tear.
Limit Oven Use
A study performed by British Gas showed a 38% increase in energy use around 1 p.m., correlating with lunchtime. This detail was attributed to work-from-anywhere employees using their kitchen appliances to cook or heat their lunches.
When using the oven, cook or heat your lunch at the same time as other members of the household. When using the stove, use a lid for more efficient heating.
Learn More About Saving Energy While Working From Home
Working from home offers numerous advantages, including skipping a time-consuming commute and saving gas money. However, you’ll likely see your utility costs rise, as you use more energy throughout the day. Learn more energy-saving tips for working from home in the accompanying infographic.
Infographic Provided By Energy Pricing, a top competitor to compare energy rates