Working from home: 10 ideas to keep your energy costs down
Successfully work from home without sending your electricity bill skyrocketing.
Working from home seems like the dream and can save you hundreds of dollars a month in car maintenance, gas and public transport, buying lunches and coffees. However, there is one area where you may see a surprising rise in costs, and that’s energy bills. There are some really obvious ways to reduce your energy costs, but here are some you may not have thought of.
1. Use a laptop for work
Electricity company Econnex recommends using a laptop over a desktop computer as they use 80% less power and can save up to 50% with your local energy provider. Laptops are also 20% more power efficient when running on AC adapters compared to battery power. (source)
2. Don’t use the air conditioning or heating unless you REALLY have to
Air conditioning and heat pumps can really boost your energy consumption. If it’s hot, open all the doors and windows for a cross-breeze. If you’re cold, pull out a jumper and the ug boots and use layers to stay warm.
3. Invest in a sustainable cabin or ecocapsule
Imagine an office in your backyard that is able to operate solely from solar and wind-power. Ecohouz provides a range of sustainable tiny houses or ecocapsules perfect for the backyard. Using a sustainable office has several benefits. It keeps your home life separate from your work life and it provides you with a dedicated workspace which means during the day you’re not using extra energy by using the main house. The Ecohouz Ecocapsule is a prime example of affordable office space.
4. Equip your home with energy-efficient products
The world of energy-efficient products has come a long way with technology. From using energy-efficient light bulbs to purchasing appliances with 4.5 to 5 star energy ratings can go a long way to reducing your power bill. Alternatively, you can go the extra mile and upgrade your home with smart window technology, eco-friendly insulation and solar panels.
5. Leave the TV off.
Sure, it’s nice to have some background noise while you’re working so you don’t go stark raving mad, (especially when you’re used to being in a noisy office atmosphere) but you’re supposed to be working anyway. The boss won’t be too thrilled if he/she knows you’re binge-watching The Handmaid’s Tale or Ozark between answering emails and phone calls.
How much power do TVs use? How much power your TV uses depends on the age of the TV, the type and size of the screen. According to Australia’s solar specialists, Rainbow Power Company, the average plasma uses 138 watts per hour and the older style LCD/CCFLdraws 139.5 watts per hour. The newer LCD/LED are more energy-efficient and average 91.5 watts, that’s a substantial 34% energy saving. (source)
6. Revise your energy plan
Check with your local electricity and gas provider to make sure you’re on the most cost-effective plan for the amount of energy your home uses. Shop around, you may find some providers will give you credit and significant prompt payment discounts to switch. Just make sure you’re not locked into any contracts before you change.
7. Check to see if your eligible to claim electricity usage in your next tax return
The ATO has relaxed its policies on who can claim with more people working from home since the outbreak of COVID-19. In early April 2020, they introduced shortcuts that allow those working from home due to coronavirus to claim 80 cents for every hour spent working from home. You will be expected to keep records.
8. Work near a window to make the most of natural light
Lighting matters and if you can work somewhere in natural light it will reduce the cost of your energy bill. According to AGL, lighting accounts for 10% of the cost of your power bill, so if you are working from home with all lights in the house blazing, you’re going to see a significant increase in costs
9. Be productive rather than procrastinate
One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy costs while working from home is to reduce your hours spent on your laptop and devices. Instead of slacking off to watch Ellen, have a couple of coffees and surf social media to see what you’re missing out on, plan your work day in advance. Sit down and minimise your distractions. You will get your work completed in five hours rather than eight, saving you 3 hours in power consumption.
10. Curb the coffee habit
If you’re going to put the jug on for a cuppa, make sure you only boil enough water for what you need. If you’re a 6-cups of coffee a day employee, now might be a great time to wean yourself off caffeine. If you’re feeling sleepy and need a 3.00pm pick up, reach for an apple. They are much more effective at waking you up when compared to caffeine. (source)
Now you could stop reading blogs and get back to work or you could check out our sustainable range of tiny houses and cabins which will make amazing offices in your backyard.
Photo Credit: Sociable Weaver