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Energy Efficiency Tips When Working From Home

By NOPEC on July 17, 2020

Social distancing has emerged as one of the most effective strategies for slowing the spread of COVID-19, causing many employers to implement work-from-home (WFH) policies for employees. While staying at home can mean spending less money commuting and dining out, many have found that it can have the opposite effect on energy bills. According to Quartz, being at home more often could add up to an extra $100 in energy costs per month.

We explored the possible reasons why your energy bill may be higher than usual, as well as how you can keep your energy bill low during the pandemic.

Why Staying at Home May Impact Your Energy Bill

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, most homes were quiet during the day when everyone was typically at work or school. That’s no longer the case for most people today. Life has certainly changed in many ways, including the way you use energy and how often you consume it. Consider how the following scenarios may impact your energy consumption:

  • At the office, your company would pay to power your machines, keep the lights on, and maintain comfortable room temperature. Now that you’re working from home, you’re responsible for covering those work-associated electricity costs when using the computer, printer, lights, and heating/air conditioning.
  • With restrictions on restaurant dining, many people are cooking more meals at home. As a result of using the stove, oven, dishwasher, and other kitchen appliances more often, your gas and electricity bills have likely increased.
  • Since going out to the movies or attending sporting events, concerts, and parties isn’t an option, your social life has likely moved online. Streaming movies, playing video games, and attending virtual cocktail parties can all impact your energy bill.

How to Save Energy While Working From Home

While you may be working from home for the foreseeable future, it doesn’t have to result in a huge increase in your energy bill. Here are a few tips to help keep your gas and electric bills down until you’re back in the office.

Use Natural Light

Open up the blinds and set up your home office in a spot with plenty of natural light. Not only can this eliminate the need for a desk lamp or overhead lighting, but it can also help improve your mood and boost your productivity.

Work Smarter on Your Computer

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the average desktop computer uses roughly four times as much energy as the standard laptop. Try working from your laptop to help keep energy costs down.

To save even more energy, activate your laptop’s power management settings. Using your computer’s sleep mode or power management features can save up to $50 a year. However, if you’re planning to be away from your computer for more than an hour or so, just turn it off.

Unplug Devices and Appliances

Many of us have gotten good at remembering to turn off the lights and unplug appliances and devices when leaving the house. Now that you aren’t leaving home as much, it’s important to continue doing so even when you’re at home. When electrical devices, such as laptops, cell phone chargers, and TVs, aren’t in use, they can still draw a phantom power load in standby mode that can eat up your energy bill.

Be sure to unplug your appliances and devices when they’re not in use. The same holds true for lights. If you leave a room, remember to turn the lights off. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on your electricity bill.

Establish Work-Life Balance

With the boundaries between work and home blur, you may not be using your electrical devices as efficiently as possible. Work assignments can take longer to complete when you’re trying to squeeze in a load of laundry between meetings or have the TV on in the background.

Structure can help provide work-life balance, as well as limit the amount of time you spend on work devices. Consider setting clear work hours and carving out a dedicated, quiet workspace in your home that’s free from distractions. By sticking to a routine, you can be more efficient with your time, which can also help you to be efficient with your energy usage.

Regulate the Temperature

Office equipment emits heat, which can make it tempting to crank up the air conditioning, especially during the summer months. While working from home does come with the benefit of being in control of your workspace temperature, you’ll want to be conservative with your energy consumption.

Try creating a cross-breeze by opening windows or using a fan. If AC is necessary, try not to go overboard. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting your thermostat to 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. On especially cold days, throw on a blanket or put on a cozy sweater to help stay warm.

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Tags: NOPEC, Energy Efficiency
Categories: Energy Efficiency

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