Virtual private network (VPN). Cloud services. High-speed internet. Video conferencing. All of these technological advances enable more and more employees to telecommute from home offices. In fact, according to the job search blog FlexJobs, 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce or 3.9 million people work from home at least half of the time. Working remotely saves on commuting costs, but can increase your utility bill because you are home using energy that otherwise would be saved. Here are several tips that can help you lower your utility bill by being more energy-efficient.
- Use a laptop. Laptop computers use up to 80 percent less energy when compared to a desktop computer.
- Switch to LED light bulbs. Replace your traditional incandescent, fluorescent and halogen bulbs with LED ones. Not only do LEDs use approximately 50 percent less electricity, but their lifespan can be from 30,000 – 100,000 hours.
- Activate power save/sleep mode on devices. Go into the power management settings of your computer and printer and set their sleep modes. This mode can use up to 70 percent less energy when compared to full-power mode. Consider setting your computer monitor to sleep mode after 20 minutes of inactivity and your computer after an hour of inactivity.
- Use power strips. Computers and other plugged-in devices continue to drain a small amount of energy from your outlets even when they are turned off. This “standby power” accounts for 5 to 10 percent of residential energy use. Instead of the wall outlet, plug all of your office equipment into a power strip to prevent this energy drainage. When the power strip is switched off, all devices are truly off.
- Use a fan or space heater. If you are the only one home during work hours, there is no need to waste energy cooling off or heating up a whole house. Consider using a fan in the summer and a space heater in the winter to stay comfortable inside your office space.
- Switch to a cheaper, energy-efficient supplier. An energy-efficient supplier offers energy products where various percentages of its electricity come from renewable sources such as wind farms. In addition, these energy suppliers offer fixed-rate energy options that can lead to cost savings.
Consider adopting some or all of these energy efficiency tips and you can help lower your home office utility bill.