There are so many ways to save energy that implementing everything at once is overwhelming.
Since it’s easier to make adjustments one at a time, we’re continuing our series that explores how to save energy room by room, which will help drive down your electric bill.
Today, we focus on how to save energy in your home office.
Saving Energy With Electronics
- Use Energy Star devices. This includes your computer, monitor, printer and light bulbs. Using an Energy Star-certified computer can save 30%-65% electricity.
- Utilize power management settings on your computer. As a general rule, the EPA recommends setting your machines to go to sleep after 15-60 minutes of inactivity. Of course, you can make it go to sleep after a shorter period of inactivity to save more energy. If you’re unsure how to change the settings on your computer, Energy Star has great instructions for the following machines.
- Avoid using screensavers, which can actually use more energy than leaving your monitor in its normal state.
- Turn off your computer and monitor. Equipment lasts longer when it’s not constantly running. Here are some general rules from Energy.gov:
- If you’ll be gone for 20 minutes or more, turn your monitor off and put your computer to sleep.
- If you’ll be gone for 2 hours or more, turn off both your monitor and computer.
- Turn off all devices when you’re finished. This includes printers, fax machines, scanners, shredders and external hard drives.
- Use a power strip instead of plugging your electronics into the wall directly. This will help you avoid the vampire power drain.
- Use rechargeable batteries for things like wireless mice and cordless phones. According to Energy.gov, studies have shown that they are most cost-effective in the long run.
- Consider a laptop when it’s time to purchase a new computer. Laptops use less energy than desktops.
Other Ways To Save Energy
- Set your thermostat according to the season. To conserve energy, the Public Utility Commission of Texas recommends having your thermostat on 78 degrees in the summer when you’re at home (80+ when you’re not) and 68 degrees during the winter.
- Use fans and make sure they are rotating in the right direction. Fans use less electricity than your HVAC system and can help make your office comfortable year-round. In summer a fan, rotating counterclockwise, can make the room feel four degrees to six degrees cooler. When it starts getting cooler outside, switch your fans to rotate clockwise and put it on low speed to help distribute the rising warm air evenly throughout the room.
- Use drapes and blinds appropriately. During the summer the last thing you want is direct sunlight streaming into your office and heating the room. In this instance, close the blinds to keep the radiant heat out. But you can use the direct sunlight to your advantage during wintertime by opening the blinds and drapes.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs in your home office. CFLs and LEDs use up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescents. Follow the link to learn more on the differences between incandescents, CFLs and LEDs.
- Only light the area you’re working in. Using a desk lamp by your workspace can help save energy since you won’t be lighting the entire room, only the area you’re occupying. You can also work by natural light during the day instead of turning on the light switch, but make sure that the sun is not shining directly into your office unless you want it to raise the room temperature by a couple degrees.
- Turn off your lights. Even though you’ve heard this a thousand times, turning off your lights when you’re through working helps save energy. Compact florescent lights are the only exception to this rule. If you have CFLs, then the rule of thumb is turn the light off if you’ll be out of the room for 15 minutes or more.