As we try to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus, a lot of people find themselves working from home for the foreseeable time. The virus is altering how we move around, interact with one another, and use electricity. Our data estimate that weekday home energy use increases by 2-7 percent, based on place, as people work from home due to COVID-19.
If you’re like most of us, you are perhaps reading this blog post while sitting at your dining table or on the living room sofa, attempting to adapt to what passes for our new normal. If you are a seasoned work-from-home, you are behind the desk at your sweet home office, but we came into this scenario unexpectedly for most of us, and it is getting pretty weird.
- Children want to pop in and say, “hello!” during an important conference call.
- You are in the bathroom to concentrate on an assignment to hide from your children and pets.
- You are scheduling “around the water cooler” chats through Zoom.
Bottom line: Our patterns have changed so has our electricity use. You are home all day with the air conditioner going. Several TVs are on. The children are streaming videos while attempting to do schoolwork. You are cooking lunch for family members. Making coffee. Printing documents.
Literally, the list could go on, which means all those small additional energy-consuming devices finally add up to a bigger electricity bill.
1. Unplug From Vampire Gadgets And Sources You Do Not Really Need
Vampire sources are electronics that remain plugged in all of the time. Your home office, together with all of its devices, can be a major culprit — think your computer, your monitor, your printer. These appliances and electronic equipment draw a little bit of energy all the time, and that could accumulate on your electricity bill. Vampire power sources in your workplace can account for nearly $60 annually in power costs.
Simply unplug appliances when you are done with them. Even if you’re not actively utilizing them, they are quietly using electricity. Unplugging devices may also be a fantastic way to minimize distractions. Do you actually want the computer and the TV going at exactly the exact same time? Possibly not.
2. Use Smart Power Strips To Modulate The Flow Of Energy
Perhaps you’re on top of things and will remember to unplug all those monster power sources when you finish work for the day. You can also plug them into a smart power strip and let it do the remembering for you. Smart power strips turn off electricity flow to standby mode appliances so that those units do not keep consuming energy. Idle power use accounts for approximately 10 percent of residential electricity use, so wise power strips can save you money on your electricity costs.
3. Take Advantage Of Natural Lighting
Set up for the day at a spot with loads of natural light. Not only can this save you from needing to turn on extra lights, but it may also help your productivity! Natural light is a proven mood-booster.
If you need more lighting, try using task lighting to light a smaller area instead of broad overhead lighting, which will use more power. In the winters, throw open the curtains to allow the light in. In the summertime, use blinds to block the direct sun to keep your workspace cool.
4. Make Your Energy Bill More Predictable
Remote work can have a big effect on your power bill — you are using more energy than normal, and sometimes that you wouldn’t generally be plugged in. Weekday home power use will look a whole lot more like weekend power use for some time. And it is not just in your house office. We are all probably running our heat or AC during the day to remain comfy, cooking more meals at home, and using our electronics more to remain in contact with friends, family, and colleagues. To defend against large spikes on your electrical bill brought on by unplanned remote work, consider changing to a fixed-price monthly energy price.
5. Use Energy-Efficient Equipment
Energy-efficient office equipment will be able to help you to save power and money. ENERGY STAR-certified office equipment uses about half of the energy that standard office equipment does. On some units, energy savings could be up to 75 percent. It is also important to remember that laptops use less power than desktop computers (53 kWh vs. 275 kWh yearly ).
6. Utilize Your Computer’s Settings For Energy Efficiency
Turning off a device when you are not using it is the best way to save energy, though sleep modes are becoming increasingly capable of saving power. The plus side of sleep mode is that you don’t need to remember to turn off your device.
Your computer comes packed with energy-saving features, but they might not be switched on. Activate the power management controllers in your computer to save between $10 and $100 in energy costs each year.
7. Make Smart Adjustments To The Temperature
A desktop computer will cost around $27.50 in power for the year (10 cents/kWh). A notebook will cost about $5.30. Over a year, that is not bad. The greatest energy load will be heating and cooling your home office. Use a programmable or smart thermostat to ensure that you’re only heating or cooling your office while using it. And if your workspace is in another area, consider using a fan in the summer space heater or in the winter to help maintain the temperature. These may be energy-efficient than setting your thermostat.
When you’re working, see if you’re able to survive, raising the temperature only a little bit in the summer or reducing it in the winter. For each level that you set back your thermostat, you can save about 6 percent on your energy bill.
8. Turn The Air Conditioner Up
Here in Texas, it begins to get hot around April. The most energy-savvy people are likely to turn down the thermostat to a cool and comfy 70 °F. No matter how provoked you might be, you should not give in! Your HVAC is truly the most energy-consuming appliance on your property. Thus, we urge the following thermostat optimizations:
- 75 °F when you are home. For some individuals, this is burning hot. If you will need to place it lower, do this. However, remember, the more you press on the down arrow, the longer it will cost you. If you’re used to 70, try 71. Then 72. Gradually raise the temperature one degree at a time, and finally, your body will get adapted to the warmer environment. You won’t even notice it.
- 78 °F when you are not home. During our present “Stay at Home” scenario, you are pretty much home all the time. But whenever you are outside or walk into the park (after social distancing rules, of course), set your thermostat to 78 or higher if you are gone for at least an hour. The closer your home temperature is to the exterior, the less energy you will use to cool your residence.
9. Turn on Your Desk Fans and Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are the trick to making your home feel cooler than it really is. They also have a measly 2% of your energy bill, compared to the 17 percent of your central air conditioner.
If you try 75 degrees, and it feels too hot for you, then put a desk fan at your work-from-home place or turn on your ceiling fan. It will make a huge difference since it will always blow cooling air across your skin, and it’ll save you actual money by simply turning a switch. Just make sure the ceiling fan is blowing air down to the middle of the room rather than drawing up air to the ceiling.
10. Turn Off the Lights Throughout the Day
Unless you are in a room with no natural light, turn off the lights during the day. It is a painfully obvious hint, but a lot of individuals keep the lights on all day. Not only is it a wasteful habit, but it is not needed. It’s among the easiest ways to save money, and among the more environmentally friendly ways, also.
11. Replace Incandescent Bulbs with LEDs
Incandescent bulbs are 90 percent inefficient. Only 10 percent of the energy they use is used in light production. The rest is heat energy, which increases the temperature in your home and your electrical bill.
LED light bulbs consume 75% less energy than ineffective incandescent bulbs, and they continue up to 25 times more. When you practice social distancing and buy online, they will be delivered to your doorstep in only a couple of days. This is one investment that will pay for itself in savings fast.
12. Reduce Your TV’s Brightness
This point is Uber-useful whether you are working at home or not. Although since children are home and have to be entertained pretty much the entire day (What is homework?!), the TV is an instrumental unit for doing this — but it uses a whole lot of juice.
Set your TV to the “standard” or “home” setting to decrease its brightness, which can decrease your tv’s energy use by 18-30%. Some newer models even include an”energy saver” setting, which optimizes everything for you based upon the shows you see and the light the TV receives.
13. Replace Old Appliances with More Energy-Efficient “Energy Star” Ones
We’re not suggesting that you go out and purchase an all-new refrigerator, washer, dryer, and dishwasher. However, we’re saying that when these appliances reach the end of their life, you need to replace them with an appliance featuring the gloomy ENERGY STAR logo. These appliances are shown to save energy, which may save you literally — hundreds in electrical costs.