Four simple tips to save electricity in your home office
Working from home? With these small business tips to save electricity, you can avoid your home office stretching your power bills.
As a bookkeeper, Lulu Wren knows the challenges of working out of a home office on her small business, Spend Clearly, all too well.
“Isolation can be difficult, but so is distinguishing between work-time and home-time,” she says. “I’ve made a conscious effort to switch off from work both mentally and physically at the end of the day.”
“Separating energy use for work and home is tricky with a single bill, so I try to be energy efficient overall. Switching off the power board in my office at night helps with this.”
For the almost one million Australians who are freelancers and solo-operators working from home, it’s important to control costs that blur into household bills. Here are some simple power-saving tips to run a more energy-efficient home office.
Set the right temperature
Lulu’s personal finance mentoring business is based in Brisbane, but she’s consciously sustainable when it comes to working comfortably.
“I use a fan and open windows in summer, until I can’t take the heat anymore,” she says.
When the heat gets too much, set the air-conditioner to 24 to 25°C. In winter, try to keep the thermostat at 18 to 20°C – a degree cooler or warmer can make a huge difference to your energy consumption.
Lighting makes up 10% of the average Aussie household’s electricity bill, and this only increases for those with a home office.
Natural is best
Place your desk near a window or skylight and use natural light whenever possible.
In with LED, out with the rest
Light Emitting Diode (LED) globes could reduce your energy usage on lights by up to 50%. Swap out old lightbulbs throughout your home and office with more efficient LED globes.
Only use what you need
Make sure you have light bulbs that give you the right amount of light – brighter lights use more energy. And don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave a room.
The power in tech
Computers, monitors and phone chargers are essential parts of a home office, but they can significantly drain power.
Standby power can add up to 10% to your energy bill, so using a power board can have a surprising impact.
“I plug my printer, monitor, stand-up desk and lamp into a power board and switch it off at the end of day,” Lulu says.
Because laptops don’t need to be plugged in all the time, they can also be a more energy-efficient choice than desktop computers.
Simple changes to your computer settings can also boost your energy savings:
- Change your screensaver to a blank screen
- Set your power-saving mode to come on after 20 minutes of inactivity
- Use ‘hibernate’ instead of ‘sleep’ mode
- Turn off any programs, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them.
Know your habits
If you understand your energy consumption habits, you can identify more opportunities for savings.
For example, Lulu takes advantage of working from home to get some household chores done during the day – using off-peak power.
“To be more energy efficient, I run the dishwasher and washing machine in cheaper periods when I can,” she says.
New digital meters measure your home’s energy usage every 30 minutes and can also help you identify your usage peaks and other consumption habits.
Whether you have a digital meter or not, you can use the AGL Energy App for up-to-date information on usage and charges – making it even easier to manage your energy consumption on the go while you’re running a busy home-based business.