Working at home comes with a number of cost benefits including reduced commuting, clothes and meal expenses. However, running a home office can also drive up home energy bills. The following simple yet effective tips will cut your power consumption, lighting, and energy costs.
Choose Energy Star-Rated Electronics
When you’re in the market for new computer equipment and other office electronics, look for products with an Energy Star rating. Depending on your usage, an Energy Star rated device will use 30% to 65% less energy than a similar electronic device without the rating. Over the lifetime of an electronic, an Energy star rating can save you as much as $115.
Activate Power Management Settings
Most home-office electronics have multiple power modes including active, active standby and passive standby. Set your computer to switch into lower consumption modes automatically after a certain period of time. You’ll save power while you’re eating lunch or conducting a conference call, and then the computer will wake up as soon as you’re ready to start working again. Using power management settings can cut annual computer energy expenses $25 to $75 per computer.
Use a Power Strip for Electronics
Standby modes are ideal for the workday. However, you should switch off your electronic devices when you’re done with your shift to save energy and extend the life of your devices. Many electronic devices continue to draw a small amount of power even when they’re turned off. You can cut the power completely by plugging all of your electronic computer devices into one or two power strips. Then simply switch all of the devices on and off with a single button.
Consider Task Lighting with Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Task lighting lets you use less bulbs at one time than whole room lighting. Swap out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs. Do you prefer halogen lights? You can purchase compact fluorescent equivalents for about the same price that consume a quarter of the power of standard halogen bulbs. Regardless of the type of lighting that you have in your home office, turn off the lights whenever you’ll be out of the room for more than a few minutes.
Use Room-Specific Heating and Cooling Solutions
Room-specific heating and cooling will be more cost effective than heating and cooling the whole apartment. Set up a space heater in the winter, and run a portable or ceiling fan in the summer. You can further maximize the effects of a space heater or fan by closing doors to other rooms that aren’t in use during the workday.
Optimizing your home office for full energy efficiency does require extra effort. However, taking a little time to reduce your home’s total energy consumption and yearly utility bill quickly pays off without compromising your productivity.