Almost a quarter of employed Americans do some or all of their work from a home office, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you have a home office, there are steps that can be taken to make your office more energy efficient and to help you save money on electric bills.
Start by making your computer more energy efficient by utilizing the energy saving settings on it. For example, make your computer go into sleep mode when it is not in use instead of using a screen saver.
You can also use a power strip or a smart strip to prevent electronics from drawing electricity when not in use. Plug in all electronics in your office—including your computer, printer, chargers, etc.—into a power strip, and simply switch off the electric current when you have finished working.
Similar to power strips, smart strips offer energy efficiency to your home but are set apart because of the ways they conserve energy. Smart strips automatically cut off the electric current to electronics. According to EnergyStar.gov, there are three main types of smart power strips:
- Timer-equipped power strips are controlled by programmable timers, so all electronics plugged into the strip can be shut off at a designated time.
- Occupancy sensing power strips detect active use of a device and shut it down after a specific period of time if unused.
- Current sensing power strips have the ability to cut or add power to a device as it senses when a device is powered off or on.
Other energy efficient steps include:
- Checking your lighting fixtures. Make sure that the bulbs being used match the wattage of your fixture(s) and/or lamp(s). Replace traditional incandescent bulbs with more energy efficient compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting diode bulbs (LEDs).
- Closing window blinds or drapes in the summer to keep the room cool, and leaving them open in the winter to let the heat from the sun to warm up the room.
- Operating the ceiling fan at low speed in the clockwise direction during cold, winter months and in the counterclockwise direction during the summer. With your ceiling fan properly in use, you can adjust your thermostat by a few degrees and still remain comfortable.
- Making sure nothing in your home office is covering vents. This allows for continued air flow and reduces the work for the furnace or air conditioning unit.
- Using electronics with the Energy Star label. Most Energy Star endorsed products draw smaller than average amounts of electricity when not in use or turned off.
Source and for more information on energy efficiency, visit EnergyEdCouncil.org.