Around 34 million Americans telecommute and as the numbers continue to rise, adjusting your electricity consumption while you work at home becomes more of a necessity. Here are some tips for saving energy (and, in time, money) in your home office.
- Activate power-management settings. Home office electronics tend to have multiple power modes: active (or “on”), active standby (“on” but consuming less than 100% power), and passive standby (or “off”). Utilizing all of these power modes can help you save on your energy bill. For example, don’t keep your laptop plugged in as long as the battery has life and change the settings on it so it goes into sleep mode after so many minutes of inactivity versus allowing it to stay on (even with a screensaver, which, ironically doesn’t save you money at all).
- Use a power strip for your computer, printer, copier, and other peripherals. Plugging all of your office electronics into a power strip can help you switch them off with one button rather than leaving them on “standby” mode. In standby mode, an average American household loses about $100 per year.
- If you’re investing in new computer equipment, look for ENERGY STAR-rated computers, small servers, copiers, fax machines, and adapters. ENERGY STAR estimates that using their rated electronics in your home office can save $115 over the products’ lifetimes.
- Buy a laptop instead of a desktop. Laptops use a third of the power that a desktop uses when in active mode. You can save up to $19 per year using a laptop.
- Replace traditional bulbs with energy efficient lighting. You’ve likely heard this one many times by now but it bears repeating. Compact Florescent Lights (CFLs) consume 75% less power than incandescent bulbs. They can help you save up to $15 per year per bulb. If you don’t like CFLs, you can use halogen lights instead which consume less than 25% of the power of conventional versions and cost about the same.
- Use task lighting. Instead of lighting up the entire room, use task lighting such as overhead lights or lamps when working in one area.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room. This one is pretty straightforward so we’ll leave it at that.