The way we live and work has significantly changed since the pandemic. With work-from-home as a convenient option now being offered by many companies, activity levels and energy use within individual households have increased up to 8%, with a corresponding 6-8% decrease in commercial energy usage. As a result, the average U.S. household is now spending approximately $130 more on electricity per month. This is due to myriad factors, including greater need for heating and cooling throughout the day (and as we’ve already seen [link to previous blog], heating and cooling systems use the most amount of energy within a home), the use of multiple electronic devices to get work done, multiple meals and snacks being cooked and heated throughout the day, and even those sick days where kids are at home watching TV while you work or using electronics to complete their homework after school. With all of these activities being essential to your new “at-home” routine, is it really possible to work from home without running up your electricity bill? Yes, it is, and here is how:
Adjust your heating and cooling:
This can be done by turning up the temperature by 1-2 degrees in the summer so that the air conditioning doesn’t blast so often, or turning down the thermostat in the winter. 75 F is the recommended temperature to set your home to offset heating and cooling costs. If you’re accustomed to much cooler temperatures, try making small adjustments each week. Your body (and mind) will get used to the change over time. You can also use space heaters or fans in the room(s) that you’re working to avoid having to heat or cool the entire home when you’re spending most of your day in just one. Did you know, a ceiling fan only comprises up to 2% of your energy bill, whereas the AC can take more than 15%? It’s an easy choice when you see the numbers.
Use smart power strips:
The advent of smart technology can really be the smart way to save energy and money. Smart power strips are a great choice because you can plug in all of your work electronics, like your laptop cable, cell phone charger, and anything else you may need during the work day. With a regular power strip, at the end of the day, with a simple flip of a switch, you can turn off power to all your electronics instead of having to unplug each one. This is a great habit to cut off power to all these “vampire electronics” – electronics that are always plugged in, but only used at certain times. You can even go one step further with a smart power strip. Smart power strips actually detect when an electronic device is on power-saving mode or standby, and will automatically shut off power, which means you don’t even have to think about when to turn off a power strip. Now that’s helpful. This brings us to our next point.
Adjust your electronics’ sleep-mode:
This helps when you use electronic devices for long periods of time (and nowadays, who doesn’t?). Reduce your TV or iPad screen’s brightness levels and adjust your computer or laptop’s “sleep mode” to turn on after a few minutes of being idle. Power management features on electronic devices can reduce their energy usage by up to 30%.
Replace your home’s light bulbs to LED:
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. LED is the way to go if you want to see long-term savings in lighting. LED bulbs have a larger upfront cost, but will result in savings over time because they use up to 75% less energy than your traditional incandescent bulbs. They’re energy efficient and also brighter with a longer lifespan. But we also recommend that you turn off lights during the day and take advantage of natural sunlight – there’s no better source of energy than solar!
Our lives have adjusted over the past few years in many ways. Try these “green” habits to help live a more energy-efficient lifestyle that also reaps the reward of extra savings for your home office.