Having the option to work from home can be a fantastic chance to spend more time with family and doing the things you love. However, sometimes working from home can also cause a spike in your energy costs. Where there used to be a significant amount of time during the day when no one was around to run the air conditioner or heater, now a home worker is there to adjust the temperature 24/7.
Not to mention the extra electricity that is being used by office equipment. Think about it: computers, printers, monitors, and maybe even a TV are now running during daytime hours as well. All of this adds up to extra costs.
So how can you lower your day-to-day energy usage to minimize the extra electricity usage?
Connect Non-Essentials To A Single Power Strip
Reducing energy costs for non-essential items is an easy fix. Think about all of the equipment you may not use on a daily basis – these things are plugged in, using energy, but are just sitting around waiting for the time when you may need them. Printers are one example, along with postage machines and other small business items.
Take all of these non-essential tools and plug them into a single power strip. Turn that power strip off. That way, power isn’t running to these devices until you need them.
You can also take one extra step and plug your essentials into another power strip. At the end of the day, go ahead and turn this power strip off as well, so you can get a bit of energy saving during your off hours as well.
Invest In Energy Efficient Equipment
When in comes to making purchases for your at-home business, take a look at which options are the most energy-efficient. Some home electronics, such as printers, may come with the Energy-Star™ seal. This designation lets you know that you will likely use less energy with the device, making it a wiser investment.
Your computer can also be a power hog, especially if you are still running a desktop machine. If you can, consider switching to a laptop. Many laptops now have the same computing power as the old-school desktops, but use a lot less energy.
If you are using a desktop because you love having a large monitor, no worries! You can always get a larger monitor to hook up to your laptop. Just be sure to invest in an LCD monitor – they are much more energy efficient that they styles that still rely on tubes. Plus, the picture is clearer, saving your eyes from excess strain.
Lower Your Thermostat
When you are at home working, it may be tempting to crank the air conditioner or heater to stay as comfortable as possible. This will lead to higher electrical bills if you’re not careful. While we know it is wonderful to be able to work in your pajamas, a wiser strategy may be to keep the temperature higher in summer and lower in winter, and then dress accordingly. Pretend you are still in an office where you may have to adjust attire to stay comfortable – a sweater can be your best friend and help to save you a few dollars.
Install a Ceiling Fan
A ceiling fan is a great investment for a home office! This device not only contributes to keeping you cool during the warmer summer months but helps to distribute heated air throughout your home more efficiently. Just be sure that the fan is set to spin in the right direction for the right season – counterclockwise for summer and clockwise for winter.
Make Use of Natural Light
If you have the option of deciding where your home office is located in your home, consider choosing a place that will make the most of natural light. Not only will this help to keep you comfortable during the day, but it will also reduce the chances of you needing to rely on lamps.
Consider Your Decor
If your office happens to be in a location where there is not a lot of natural light, then it’s time to make the most of what you have. Make sure your walls are a lighter color – as this will help to reflect the natural light you are receiving in the space, as well as any light coming from lamps.
Mirrors are another investment that can contribute to brightening a room. Because of their reflective surface, they can help to maximize light sources and make a dark room seem brighter without having to add a lot of additional lighting.
Use CFL Bulbs
If you are still using incandescent bulbs in your lamps, it’s time for a change. Fluorescent bulbs have come a long way since they were first invented – many people still cite their cold, dull appearance as a reason for not using them in their homes. The CFL bulb of today is different! These bulbs are now available with a range of color choices, including bulbs that exude a warm light similar to that of their incandescent cousins. The initial investment for a CFL bulb is slightly higher, but they last a lot longer and use less energy during their lifespan.