As we work to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus for the foreseeable future, millions of us are suddenly working, teaching, exercising – all from home. And for many of us new housebound employees and families, there’s an unexpected expense waiting in the wings—a higher electric bill.
Working from home often means lights are staying on longer, spending extra time on our computers, streaming shows, and the refrigerator door opening a bit more (no judgment). Not to mention, you might be heating or cooling more.
There are several easy ways to save energy (and some money) while working from home:
1. Open The Curtains
There’s no need for wasting energy on lamps or overhead lights if you’re getting enough natural light. Grab your laptop and move to the sunniest spot in the house (also laptops use much less energy than your desktop.) Keep the curtains open and let the light shine into your rooms. It can brighten both the room and possibly your productivity since natural light is known to boost one’s mood.
2. Turn Off Equipment
Turn off your computer, lights, and other equipment when not using them. This one may seem obvious, but it can be easy to forget when we go grab a snack in the kitchen, take an afternoon walk, or leave the room to assist with homework.
3. Beware of Phantom Energy
Unplug what you can! Everyday devices on standby are stealing energy. Phantom energy is the energy used by appliances and electronics when they are turned off but still plugged into a power outlet. Unplug everything you’re not using, including not just office equipment but everyday devices on standby (like that coffee maker). Unplug those phone chargers as well when not in use. What you save in unplugging these items may help offset increased office equipment use over the next few months.
4. Use Power Strips
Use a power strip, not a wall socket. When working at home, you often are using more than just a computer, but also a printer/copier, scanner, phone or charger, and other electronics. As mentioned above, devices plugged into the wall suck up electricity even when they’re turned off. Plugging into a power strip is a hassle-free way to turn your office equipment.
5. Set Up Your Computer for Energy Savings
Your computer has lots of built-in settings for saving energy. By checking your settings and making a few changes, you can save just a bit more on your electricity bill. You can even set your computers and monitors to go to “sleep” after 10 or 15 minutes of inactivity. Even better, set them to hibernate to use no power.
6. Other cost-saving measures that may take more time but are worth the effort.
For instance, buying home office equipment and household appliances with the Energy Star label cuts down on energy use tremendously. As many of our solar customers already know, investing in a solar electric system will also save money in energy costs. When you compare solar to your current electric bill over the life of a solar array, the cost savings are huge. And as electrical utility rates rise, your solar investment becomes even more valuable. The sooner you produce your energy, the more money you will be putting into your savings for years to come!