Five Ways to Save Energy While Working From Home
COVID-19 has changed the way millions of people work, with lockdown and social distancing guidelines meaning turning our homes into offices and communicating electronically.
While some jobs have already returned to normal, albeit with increased safety in place, many continue to earn their living under their own roofs as employers extend work from home measures, or have made more flexible allowances for it alongside days back amongst colleagues.
Working from home has its share of benefits, from comfortable surroundings and casual dress code (pyjamas) to the lack of any commute and the positives that arise from this; money saved on fuel; less carbon emissions; more time in bed! But while we’re sat all day with familiar surroundings we’re also using resources we normally wouldn’t while away at work.
Here are five tips to help you save energy in your house while working from home.
Switch up your power source
If you are using a laptop rather than a desktop computer to get your tasks done, consider investing or ask your company to supply you with one with a long battery life. An average laptop can last between 1.5 and 4 hours from fully charged, which could be almost half a day that it isn’t unnecessarily plugged into the mains, eating up electricity. Just keep an eye on the percentage it has remaining, and only plug in when you need to. If you don’t want to have your computer on for the entire day, make sure to take a break over lunch where you can shut it down and get away from the desk.
Go easy on printing
A lot of people don’t have personal printers, but those that do may now be inclined to create hard copies of work documents to have at hand and make physical notes on. While many do find this helpful for reading through materials, it creates a paper waste where there wouldn’t normally be any. Try to limit what you need to print out and keep most of your documents on your computer, where it’s easier to store and edit them. There are tools like Google Docs and Google Drive which offer free storage space, folders for organisation and a brilliant auto-saving word processor. And if you really must print, remember to recycle the paper - after shredding anything confidential.
Let the light in
It may be tempting to shut yourself away in a dark room to do your work while at home, but by doing this you will only burn through lightbulbs and send your electric bill sky high. Set up your work area near where there is plenty of natural light coming in through a window and turn off any switches and lamps you don’t need to have on. Natural light also improves mood and helps boost creativity, while being by a window will allow a chance to give your eyes a break from the screen. Consider switching to energy switching bulbs or most cost effective LED lights for those dark, cloudy days or if you work nights.
Don’t leave the heating on
You might be used to roasting hot radiators all throughout the colder days in your regular place of work, but doing this at home is going to cost you a fortune at the end of the month. Be conscious of how much you’re using the gas or oil central heating to warm up your house while you’re sat working, and try to limit this as much as you can. If you’re feeling chilly sat in one spot, then take a short break to get up and move around. There are a few stretches you can do to ease your body into those colder mornings. And don’t forget, there’s no one to judge you wearing as many cosy layers as you want.
Think about how you waste water
Do you really need to fill the kettle all the way for just one cup of tea? The more water in your kettle, the more energy it requires to boil it, so conserve energy by only filling it to the minimum level if you are just using it yourself. If you’re having enough cups throughout the day to justify starting with a full kettle, you should maybe lessen your consumption by spacing out each hot drink. Don’t forget to switch the plug off after use.
Read about more energy wasters in the kitchen here.
If you are interested to know more about controlling your energy bill at home during the summer months, here are even more great tips.