Just like that, millions of Americans are suddenly working—and teaching—from home. And for many of those newly home-bound families, there’s an unexpected expense awaiting in the wings—a higher energy bill,
Working from home often means your air conditioner—which can account for up to half of an electric bill—is pumping out more air throughout the day. Not to mention lights staying on longer, computers charging more frequently and printers printing more and more often. Cooking at home adds to your water heater load and the oven if it’s electric. All that extra electricity adds up.
Luckily, there are several quick and easy ways to save energy while working from home:
- Use your laptop instead of your desktop computer. Laptops use much less energy.
- Use a power strip, not a wall socket. Devices plugged into the wall draw power continuously. But if you plug into a power strip and turn it off at the end of the day, your office equipment is cut off from the source of electricity.
- Turn off your computer, lights and other equipment if you won’t be using them for a while. That sounds obvious, but many people forget. And some believe it’s actually better to leave the machines on. That’s simply not true.
- Activate the power saving features on your computer. This alone can save up to $100 per computer annually.
Other cost-saving measures may take more time but are absolutely worth the effort. For instance, buying home office equipment and household appliances with the Energy Star label cuts down on energy use tremendously. Getting a home energy audit—and then acting on that information—can also save a surprising amount of money.
Or, you can try these tips for next-level energy saving:
- Only run washing machines and dishwashers when they’re totally full. This saves water and money.
- If your local utility has peak rates—higher energy costs during high-demand hours, like afternoon and early evening—factor those into your routine and run the above appliances during off-peak times only.
- No restaurants open for date night? Dine by candlelight and give the lamps a night off.
- If movie night is more your style, channel those classic theatre vibes by turning off the lights—and smartphones—and cranking up the sound on your favorite flick.
Remember, every little bit helps. But if you really want to make an impact, going solar is the best bang for your buck.
Originally published April 2, 2020 https://us.sunpower.com/blog/2020/04/02/how-can-you-save-energy-while-working-home-wfh