Office Working from the comfort of a home office comes with many cost-cutting benefits to a small business, the biggest being the lack of a costly and time-consuming commute to work.
However, there are expenses associated with running a home office, with energy costs being a leading overhead.
What Devices Use the Most Electricity
If you want to make your home office more energy efficient and reuce your energy bills, identify the top energy draining devices to start.
When it comes to energy draining devices in a home office, computers top the list! You might not think that leaving your computer on overnight or over the weekend would eat into your energy consumption, but it does. Since computer monitors use approximately 100 watts per day, simply switching off your computer will help you save on your home office’s energy bill.
Besides turning off PCs, you may want to trade in an energy-draining desktop computer for a laptop computer, which consumes significantly less energy than a desktop.
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Sufficient lighting is vital in a home office so you don’t strain your eyes and can remain focused, alert and productive. However, lighting your home office might be costing you more in energy than you think.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2017 the residential and commercial sectors used around 273 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity for lighting alone, equating to around 10% of the total energy consumed for both sectors.
To reduce the amount of energy the lighting in your home office consumes, switch to more energy-efficient forms of lighting. Of course, natural daylight is by far the cheapest (it’s free!) and healthiest way to light up a home office.
However when natural daylight is not an option, choose incandescent bulbs, which are energy efficient and typically last between 700 and 1000 hours. Halogen bulbs can also save you energy, being 25% more efficient and lasting up to three times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
It’s also a good idea to place timers around your home office, which can be programmed to come on and switch off at certain times of the day, meaning lights aren’t left on and using electricity when nobody is in the office.
Your home office printer could be costing you more than you think too. This essential piece of office equipment is one of those energy draining devices which tend to go overlooked. Make sure your printer isn’t adding unnecessarily to your energy bill by opting for a printer with an ENERGY STAR certification label. Printers with an ENERGY STAR certification meet federal agency standards ensuring such equipment is operating at maximum efficiency.
It is also advisable to choose a printer with sleep and automatic shut-off modes, so it’s not using energy when it’s not being used.
Home offices require heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. Consequently, thermostats can be one of the biggest energy draining devices in a home office.
As thermostats control 60% of your energy bill, one of the easiest ways to save on energy in a home-working environment is to control your thermostat. Simply turning the thermostat down by 1 degree could reduce your heating bills by up to 10 percent.
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Tea Kettles and Coffee Machines
No office, homebased or otherwise, would be complete without a kettle or coffee machine to make the endless cups of coffee and tea fueling your productivity throughout the day. With the average kettle holding 1.5 pints and using approximately one unit to boil 12 pints of water, the savviest of small businesses are looking for ways to make these energy draining devices more energy-efficient.
One way to ensure your home office doesn’t spend surplus dollars making tea and coffee, is to opt for more eco-friendly appliances. For example, coffee makers with reusable filters or without the need for paper filters provide a more energy efficient cup of coffee.
If your home office set up includes a refrigerator, it is important to ensure your model of fridge is an energy efficient one. Opt for ENERGY STAR-qualified models to save money on this energy-zapping office appliance. ENERGY STAR-qualified models can save as much as 45% of the energy consumed by conventional refrigerators.
In addition to selecting an energy-efficient model, you should avoid wasting energy by leaving the refrigerator door open, since this causes the appliance to work overtime.
It is also important to maintain appliances like refrigerators regularly to ensure they are operating as they should and are not using surplus energy.