If you're keen to work from home you'll need a home office. Whether it’s in a designated room or at your kitchen table, keep an eye on your energy costs with these five handy hints.
There are many cost advantages to working from home. Just think of all the money you save on transport and those costly takeaway lunches for a start! However, the one area where your costs can add up is the energy consumption in your home office. Be smart and keep your bills as low as possible.
1. Buy a laptop
Instead of a desktop computer get a laptop. Choose one with a good energy-efficiency rating. Laptops use roughly five times less electricity, consuming just 14–24 watts of power while on, compared to a desktop at around 68 W. When in sleep mode, most laptops use only 1–2 W.
2. Activate computer power settings
Instruct your computer to automatically consume less energy when you’re not at your desk. If your computer is suddenly inactive due to you taking a phone call, program it to switch to standby mode after a certain amount of time. This consumes less energy than when it’s fully on.
3. Use a power board
Plug all of your home office devices, such as your computer, printer and lamp, into the one power board. That way, once you’ve turned each one off, you can switch them all off at the outlet with one button. The energy wasted by products that are plugged into an ‘on’ power outlet, but are not in use, can cost up to $100 a year.
4. Get the light right
For lights in the office, install LED or compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs that can use significantly less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Use just one lamp instead of multiple lights.
And if you can, position your desk directly next to a window so you can maximize the natural light.
5. Shut your doors
If you’re home all day working, then your energy bill will skyrocket if you have the heater or air-conditioner on the entire time. If you’re feeling the chill in your office, close the door and fit a draft stopper. It’ll reduce heat loss so you won’t have to run a space heater continuously. In summer, just use a fan. Or if you really need an air-conditioner, close the doors of the warmest rooms and keep all windows shut so cool air won’t escape.
Working from home might be the perfect fit for you. However, if you don’t manage your energy consumption properly – especially with office equipment – you could be seeing your hard-earned dollars fly out the window. See if you’re getting the best energy deal and log onto our online energy calculator to see how much you could be saving on your electricity and gas bills.