10 Ways to Reduce Energy Costs in Your Home Office 580

If you work from home, you’re probably saving a bundle on transportation, but you might be driving up your energy costs at the same time. Home offices consume a lot of power: lighting, heating and cooling, not to mention office appliances like computers, printers and faxes. Your home office could be costing you hundreds of dollars a year, but there are quite a few ways you can trim this expense.

  1. Use power-management settings. Computers and most other office electronics have a sleep or standby mode, which saves energy when your computer’s not in use. You should also shut down all your office appliances when you’re done for the day. Properly using your computer’s power settings can save you $50 or more annually.
  2. Plug into a power strip. By plugging your office computer, printer, scanner, and whatever other appliances you may need into a power strip, you can turn them all off at the end of the day with the flip of a single button.
  3. Choose a laptop over a desktop computer. A laptop uses around one-third of the power consumed by a desktop computer.
  4. Look for the Energy Star label. Any time you invest in a new appliance, it makes sense to get the most energy-efficient model you can. Energy Star-rated computers and related electronics can save you over $100 over the course of those devices’ lifetimes.
  5. Use multifunction devices. Why get a separate printer, scanner, fax machine and copier when you can have all in one? Condensing to a single multifunction device will significantly reduce energy consumption.
  6. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescents. CFLs use far less electricity than incandescent bulbs, and they last many times longer. According to Energy Star, you can save up to $15 a year just by replacing a single bulb.
  7. Turn off the lights when you leave. It seems like a no-brainer, but some people still leave the lights on when they leave a room. If you have a tendency to forget, you can always hook up your office lights to a motion sensor.
  8. Adjust the thermostat. Lowering your thermostat by 10 percent in winter and raising it the same amount in summer can save you about $100 a year. You can adjust the temperature even further during the hours when your office isn’t in use, but you’ll want to be careful about overdoing it if you have sensitive electronics.
  9. Use a fan in the summer and a space heater in the winter. They will heat and cool your office at a considerably lower cost than your central HVAC.
  10. Use the sun to your advantage. Two of the greatest home office costs are lighting and heat, and the sun can provide both. Large windows – south-facing windows are the best – let in ample sunlight and help reduce the heating load during the winter months. In summertime, drawing the shades in the afternoon will help keep cooling costs down.
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