More of us than ever are working from home as the pandemic rolls on - so check out these top tips to make sure you’re not wasting energy while you work
It's been a year of change for everyone - and up there with the biggest transformations is the fact so many of us are now working from home. And while our new way of working undoubtedly comes with some perks - like no commute for a start - spending so much time at home means using more energy than we normally would.
But there are simple ways around this and a few easy steps will help pull back on the energy we’re using, save money and limit our impact on the environment.
Dim the lights:
We may have spent years in work spaces lit up like a Christmas tree, but things seem a little different when it’s our own energy we’re using up. An easy place to start is switching the lights off when you leave a room. Yes, our mums have been telling us this one for years but as usual, they’re right.
The reality is we only need a light on in the room we’re working in and with spring and longer days on the way, pop your desk by the window and good old daylight should do the job. Not only could turning the lights off when you don’t need them save around £16.21* on your annual energy bills but you’ll avoid 25 kg of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Take it one cup at a time:
When you’re up close and personal with your workmates, tea run duties are a social must. But there’s less chance of upsetting your colleagues with a solo run to the kettle if you’re working from home. So fill her up just as much as you need for one cup at a time and not only will your caffeine kick come quicker but you could save as much as £6.67* a year on your energy bills.
Forget standby and turn appliances off:
It’s not such an issue when it’s the boss’s bills you’re dealing with, but when you’re working from home turning appliances off when you can is a game-changer.
Avoid standby and switch appliances off when you’re not using them and you could save a super £33.37* each year - not to mention as much as 60 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. That includes screensavers and sleep mode on laptops and tablets and unplugging chargers when they’re not in use.
Cool it with the washing:
It was different when you were at work all day - that pile of washing wasn’t there to catch your eye. Whether you’re a stickler for getting your chores done or love a bit of laundry-based procrastination, one quick hack can save on energy.
Switch your washing machine down to 30 C and you could use around 57% less electricity, saving around £8.58* on your energy bills a year and about 14 kg of CO2. Of course you’ll save even more if you skip the tumble dryer and pop your clothes on the line when the weather’s good. Another perk of WFH - you can get to the line if the rain comes on!
Let’s face it, dressing for the office isn’t quite what it used to be so chuck an extra jumper on and a couple of pairs of socks if you get the chills.
If the layers aren’t doing it, remember you don’t have to blast the heating on right round the house if you’re working in just one room. Turn the radiators down or even off in rooms you’re not using, or use a portable heater in your work space.
Think before you print:
You might be happy to catch up with colleagues at the printer in work, but you haven’t got that option if you’re working from home. So remember it’s not only kinder to trees but also easier on your energy use if you give the printer a miss. If you need to print, try a low-energy inkjet option.
Make some swaps:
OK we know about turning the lights off when we’re not in a room, but switching bulbs could take things even further on your energy-saving mission. Replace normal bulbs with energy-saving bulbs or LEDs, the most energy-efficient offerings on the market.
Another option is to vary what you’re working on. Research shows tablets use an average of 70% less power than laptops* when they’re turned on, so mix it up a bit between devices while you’re working from home if you can for another easy way to save on energy.
*Source: Energy Saving Trust 2021. Based on a typical three-bedroom semi-detached house, all savings are based on Power NI standard electricity rate (excluding VAT).
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