Working from home has become a strong career option for many. More and more people are turning to freelancing full time or being remote workers. It’s become common for small business owners and entrepreneurs to have a home office HQ. How so?
We can thank the internet for that. For many jobs, it’s no longer necessary to work at a corporate office. This has also resulted to less commuting, which means less traffic and air pollution. But, there’s a possible downside. Having a home office means increased power consumption. Much more.
The higher your workload, the higher your electricity bill will get. This is a cost you have to keep under control to optimize your cash flow. You’ll also be helping to preserve the environment.
There’s a smart way to manage energy consumption in your home office and prevent huge bills. Let’s take a look at some of the best methods for energy conservation.
1. Select Energy-Efficient Equipment
When buying office equipment, look for products with reduced energy demands. Do you really need a desktop PC? A laptop will result in far less power consumption than a desktop computer and monitor. Inkjet printers use less power than laser printers.
Choose multi-purpose gadgets. Using a printer-scanner will consume less power than two separate gadgets. While buying equipment, compare Energy Star products that will often state what you can expect in terms of energy use and costs.
2. Keep It Turned Off
Turning off gadgets that are not in use is just common sense. If you’re not using it – switch it off. LED displays and indicator lamps are using more electricity than you may realize. If you have multiple appliances with LED displays powered up 24/7, you’re wasting energy.
Whenever you can, organize your day so all your electricity needs are condensed into your working hours. Appliances that aren’t in use should be switched off. Better yet, unplug them. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is just leave things unplugged until needed.
3. Flat Screens Are Cheaper to Operate
Modern flat-panel LED or LCD screens use less power than the bulky, old-fashioned cathode-ray tube (CRT) TVs and monitors. CRT devices waste most of their energy as heat. Unless you strictly need CRT monitors for your work, opt for energy-efficient flat screens. In the long run, this is you’ll be saving both power consumption, and money.
4. Add Power Strips
Having all your office devices plugged into different outlets around the room can create a mess. It also makes it extremely hard to plug and unplug all of them. Use power strips that allow you to plug in multiple devices so you can turn them all off with a single switch. Keeping devices powered up, even on “standby”, will add needless costs to your regular bill.
5. Let In Natural Light
One of the best ways to save electricity is to just open the drapes and blinds and let natural daylight in. Hopefully, your office area has plenty of windows. Natural light is obviously cheaper than using overhead lighting for eight hours a day. It’s also a better option for your eyes than artificial light to help reduce eye strain and tension.
In the winter, you want to let warm sunlight in, but draw the shades in summer to minimize outside heat. You’ll get more efficient energy use in both cases. Arrange your desk or other equipment to minimize the need for electric lighting and take advantage of the sun during cold months.
6. Energy-Efficient Lighting
When you have to use electrical light, choose energy-efficient products. There’s a wide selection of LED bulbs, halogen, and CFL (compact fluorescent light) available. They do cost a little more upfront, but they’ll save you money in the long run. They use much less energy and last longer than conventional bulbs. Traditional bulbs waste 90 percent of their energy as heat.
7. Have Weather Stripping In Place
Insulation is definitely a good way to control power needs. Weatherstripping will cut heat or AC loss through gaps around doors and windows. It will keep you feeling more comfortable, and productive. Blocking gaps and drafts allows your HVAC units to work more efficiently to lower power demands. Ideally, you should have an office door that you can keep closed to reduce heating or cooling needs in the rest of the house.
8. Green Power Sources
Installing eco-friendly solutions in your home, like solar panels, will save you the most money, and power. Depending on the system you set up, you could save money on your power bills or eliminate them altogether. But, this depends on how much do you want your home to be self-sufficient.
Solar power can be an expensive investment for a home system but think about the amount you’ll save with no monthly power bills, ever. You could also earn energy credits. Though you may need special permits, you can even sell excess power back to your electric company.
9. Leave Big Files For the Night Shift
Depending on the type of business you do, you’ll have times when you must upload or download large files. This could be video, large applications, program updates, or entire databases. During such periods of heavy data exchange, your computer is working longer and harder. It will use more energy as well as a greater risk of overheating. Run these computer-intensive tasks at night when there are no other applications making demands on your computer. That way, you’ll efficiently save power.
10. Go Digital To Save Paper
One opportunity to save energy is to use your printer only when necessary. If you don’t really need a hard copy, it’s more energy-efficient to just keep the information as a digital file. Printers are relatively slow and power-hungry.
Paper documents take up space and add to clutter. Not only that, they significantly increase your waste. In the long run, this may prove to be counter-productive and lead to unnecessary expenses. So, whenever you can – go digital.
Additional Tip: Look For A Cheaper Energy Provider
In some countries or states, people have the option to choose from different energy providers. If you live in a country that offers the same, it might be best to switch providers. Sure, you might be using the same energy provider for decades but this doesn’t mean that theirs is the best or only service available.
If you live in Texas, for example, you can consider using Reliant Energy as this provider offers high-quality services at reasonable rates.
This is a Long-Term Investment
Working full time in a home office shouldn’t be that different from a corporate one. It can be as productive as a corporate office but also use too much power. Still, you can adapt your home office and decrease its power usage by choosing energy-saving options.
Use the methods showcased here. Your energy consumption will likely decrease, as well as your utility bills. Some methods might seem expensive at first, but regard them as long-term investments. Having a smart home office, one that doesn’t waste power will definitely motivate you to continue growing on your career path.
Choose what methods work best for you. Yes, your office should be energy efficient, but don’t forget that it is your working area. You need to feel comfortable there. Are you ready to transform your office at home? You can start right now!