A guide to energy savings: Home office edition
If there’s one room in your home that has probably required extra electricity during the past year, it’s your home office. When COVID-19 impacted the U.S., thousands shifted to working from home.
The pandemic affected how customers consumed electricity. In fact, residential demand increased by 10 percent when work-from-home mandates first went into effect. So, how can you make sure your home office is operating as efficiently as possible? SaveOnEnergy® is here with ways to reduce energy usage in your home office.
Use your laptop
Your computer is one of the most important devices when working in your home office, so it’s unsurprising computers account for a hefty portion of energy usage. If you’re able, use your work laptop instead of a desktop computer. Laptops typically use up to 80 percent less energy than desktops.
Of course, the level of energy savings you’ll see by switching to your laptop will depend on the model. Some laptops are more energy-efficient than others. Computers with an Energy Star label – whether a laptop or a desktop – use between 25-40 percent less energy than their conventional counterparts.
Most computers (and many other types of electric devices) come with a power-saving mode that can help you cut back on electric use. Energy Star estimates that activating your computer’s power-saving mode could save up to $100 a year in energy costs.
One important note to keep in mind is that if you use a desktop computer, your monitor may go to sleep before your computer. While the screen may be blank, your computer is still consuming electricity.
If you are using a desktop or laptop provided by your workplace, you may need to consult with your IT department about your power-saving mode. Oftentimes, only IT specialists will be able to activate certain features on your computer if they require administrative access.
You probably keep several important electronics in your home office. However, you should be on the lookout for energy vampires – or devices that consume electricity even when they aren’t in use. There’s a good chance your office is home to a few energy vampires. So, how can you make sure these devices don’t run up your electric bill?
The answer lies with power strips. If you plug your electronics into a power strip, you can easily flip everything off at the end of the day. This way, you can completely turn devices off rather than leaving them in standby mode all night.
And if you invest in a smart power strip, you could save even more. Smart power strips are designed to monitor your devices and automatically turn off when your electronics are in standby mode for a certain amount of time. This way, even if you forget to turn the power strip off, you won’t fall victim to energy vampires.
Energy-efficient lighting choices
The lighting choices in your home office are important. You don’t want to strain your eyes while you work, and at the same time, you need to stay awake and focused. The EIA estimates that in 2020, lighting accounted for about 4 percent of total residential electricity usage.
Switching to Energy Star light fixtures and lightbulbs in your office could save you up to $75 each year. What’s more, energy-efficient lightbulbs (such as halogen incandescent bulbs and LEDs) use up to 80 percent less energy and will last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Experts point to “warm light” CFLs (or Compact Fluorescent Lights) as another solid option because they normally put less strain on the eyes but are also energy efficient. So, CFLs could ensure your eyes stay healthy while also helping you cut back on the cost to light your home office every day.
Want to find energy savings in your other rooms? You can find the previous installments in the SaveOnEnergy series below:
- Energy savings in your kitchen
- Energy savings in your living room
- Energy savings in your bedroom
- Energy savings in your bathroom
Caitlin Cosper is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.