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Ways to save energy while working from home

The new normal is working from home.  More than 80%  of the workforce is now working in a home office set-up. Almost double the amount of what it was near the start of the pandemic. Your energy bill most likely has taken the brunt of this and as a result, seeing drastic spikes. It wouldn’t be uncommon to be struggling to pay or be behind in your electricity payments. Before the pandemic, about 2 million residents in the UK struggled to pay their energy bills. Now at least more than 600,000 residents are facing the same challenges during the pandemic.

The tips below are basic but crucial tips for bringing down your energy bills a little bit more. With new life stressors, these things are easily neglected. Know that they are contributing to the bottom red line within your energy statements.

What takes up 80% of energy at home?

First, let’s identify the areas to consider within a household that takes up about 80% of our energy use. Areas that contribute to mass-energy consumption are:

Household AreaApprox Energy Usage
Air Condition & Heating45%
Water Heating14%
Appliances13%
Lighting9%
TV & Media4%

10 Easy Energy Saving Tips while working from home

1. Energy-Saving Settings: Place any power saving or sleep modes on for when they are inactive.

2. Smart Power Strips: Don’t draw power while you’re not working. By plugging work equipment into a smart power strip, it’ll keep the most important gadgets “on”, but not.

3. Using a Laptop is much more efficient than using a Desktop computer. Laptops reduce 80% of the energy that a desktop would use. Once you finish charging your laptop unplug and use the battery. If you wanted to take it further Tablets use 70% less energy than laptops and you can buy mice and keyboards for them.

4. Turn off equipment if not in use Only power up what you are using for work. That printer displaying the time isn’t doing anything for you.

5. Unplug distractions that would take you away from work.

6. Stop working in multiple rooms. Going back and forth to other rooms uses more energy.

7. Turn off lights and use natural light to light up your office space. In the evenings utilize any table/desk lamp, tracking light, or cabinet lighting. Overhead lighting is unnecessary

8. Stop the habit of turn on the HVAC to make those small temperature adjustments. Dress for the weather even indoors, but not to the extent of putting on a jacket. Put on a sweater or grab that blanket. Don’t worry if you are dressed appropriately for work, you’re working from home it doesn’t matter, just hide it during the video calls!

9. Upgrade your equipment or have your next purchases be Energy Star certified. Look for the Energy Star logo and certification on monitors, computers, fax machines, printers.

10. Seal any holes around outlets: If you realize airflow around electrical outlets, don’t ignore it. The good news is that there are some simple solutions you can do yourself. An outlet gasket underneath the cover plate is one choice. Another option is to use childproof plugs to prevent air from entering the socket holes.

Energy-Efficient tips to reduce household energy consumption

Since we have more time than ever at home, much more gets affected than just our office area. We will have more time to cook, take breaks, and use our kitchens.

Take a look at other areas around your house to ensure your getting the most out of your efforts:

Office Space – Extra Tips

  • Manage time efficiently. Reduce on-screen working hours and turn off completely when you finish for the day.
  • If you leave the house for a break and a change of scenery, turn everything off!
  • Keep office equipment away from air vents. Clear away obstructions from air vents. Look for items such as papers, office supplies, equipment, and so on. If equipment is blocking vents, it can cause a 25% increase in energy consumption.
  • Don’t leave your phone or laptop charging throughout the day, at most, it needs a few hours to charge. Also, you will protect yourself from ageing your battery.

Lighting

  • Turning off the lights when they’re not in use. If you’re not in the room or needing the light, it has no reason to be on. Lighting can contribute to a significant increase in your monthly statement.
  • Use natural light to control and add lighting to your rooms, as well as the temperature if used correctly. For example: on a hot summer day, close the curtains to keep the room cool, and open them on cooler days to help heat the room.
  • Switch to LED light bulbs. Yes, they can be more expensive but will cut down on your energy use and they’ll pay you back their worth in no time.

Cooling & Heating

  • Using a fan: Ceiling, floor, any type of fan before instead of activating your HVAC system.
  • Set the thermostat to 25.5C (78F) in the summer and 20C (68F) in the winter. Note that a one-degree increase in the thermostat’s setting can save you between 2% and 3% on costs.
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen ventilation fans turned off when not in use. They replace the air inside with fresh air from outside.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. Adjust the temperature according to your schedule and the time of day. Using a programmable thermostat optimizes your HVAC system. Control airflow in different areas depending on the times if rooms are in use.
  • Regularly change HVAC filters. Dirty filters make your system work harder and run longer than necessary. It is a good idea to get your air conditioner and furnace tuned up yearly

Appliances

  • Don’t peek in the oven while baking and cooking! Peeking can drop the temperature 25F. This will cause the oven to use more energy to bring the temperature back up.
  • Defrost your refrigerator and freezer. Before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick hit that defrost button! Also ensure that your units are full, if not try to fill in the gaps with water bottles. Be careful about overfilling them as this will reduce airflow and cause the appliance to work harder. Having a full unit and clear of necessary ice will help it run more efficiently.
    • It’s also a good idea to set the temperature to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This will help avoid excessive energy waste and cooling
  • Unplug anything that is not in use regularly
  • Upgrade to Energy Star Certified Products
  • Wash laundry in cold water. Run full loads and cut out one load of wash per week. By switching to cold water for an average of three loads per week over the year you’ll start to see the difference.
  • Hang dry your laundry. If you need to use the dryer, throw in a dry towel in the load can significantly reduce drying times.
  • Limit Oven Use: Use the microwave, crockpot or toaster oven. The microwave takes 15 minutes to do the same job as 1 hour in an oven.

Electronics

  • Turn down your screen brightness levels on televisions and monitors
  • Unplug electronics when not in use. Some draw unnecessary power while being plugged in. Or better yet place them on a Smart Power Strip.
    • Note: Large TV’s can be the most power-hungry of all entertainment equipment. Regardless of its energy rating, a tv screen can consume more energy.

How can saving energy at home help the environment?

While practicing all these energy-saving recommendations, you are taking an environmentally friendly approach. While it may not be immediately clear, there is a direct connection between your energy consumption and the climate.  Using less energy reduces the number of poisonous fumes emitted by power plants, conserves natural resources, and safeguards habitats from destruction. 

Effects of Energy on our Planet:

Air Pollution and Climate Change: Many power plants use coal, crude oil, or other fossil fuels to produce electricity. While this form of energy generation is relatively inexpensive, it comes at the price of our planet. Carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides are only a few of the by-products of conventional power generation. Through this process, extra carbon waste is captured in power plants as they burn more fuel to generate more energy and trap too much heat. This can have a negative effect on our environment and lives. The following are some of the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Drought, heat waves, and rising temperatures
  • Increasing sea levels
  • Unnatural Weather patterns
  • Natural disasters are becoming more intense
  • Acid rain and smog

Conserving Natural Resources: When there is less fossil fuel demand, there will be less of a demand for harvesting oil. Coal, natural gas, and other resources can be saved by turning off lights at night or simply washing clothes in cold water. Conserving our limited resources is important from an economic perspective.

Protection of Ecosystems and Animals: Land and sea are all affected by mining, forestry, and the production of fossil fuels. One of the key factors why biodiversity is vanishing at 1,000 times the average pace is due to human-caused air pollution

In your goal of cutting down energy within your own home, you might also want to review your energy provider. Reevaluating your current tariffs and agreements with your contract can help significantly. Many UK energy suppliers are now offering a wide range of green business and reusable energy [https://betterbusinessquotes.co.uk/comparing-quotes-for-green-business-energy-tariffs/] solutions. Choosing your next [https://betterbusinessquotes.co.uk/choosing-the-best-energy-deal-for-your-business/] supplier and implementing these energy-efficient tips can cut down on your daily energy usage.

Today, the UK is generating over 40% of its electricity through renewable energy, which supplies the UK with about 6% of total energy usage. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done in the development of renewable energy, but every step counts

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_the_United_Kingdom#cite_note-Dukes2018c6-4

https://www.saveonenergy.com/learning-center/energy-saving-tips/how-does-saving-energy-help-the-environment/#:~:text=Save%20energy%2C%20save%20the%20environment&text=When%20you%20consume%20less%20power,a%20healthier%20and%20happier%20world.

https://business.directenergy.com/50-energy-saving-tips

https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/savings-and-rebates/everyday-electricity-saving-tips.html?WT.mc_id=rd_21tips

https://www.envirocentre.ca/energy-efficiency-tips-for-working-from-home/

https://www.srpnet.com/energy/biztips.aspx

https://www.directenergy.com/learning-center/25-energy-efficiency-tips

https://www.directenergy.com/learning-center/improve-energy-efficiency-home

https://www.directenergy.com/learning-center/what-uses-most-electricity-in-my-home

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55925514#:~:text=Citizens%20Advice%20said%20its%20research,compared%20with%20before%20the%20pandemic.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/coronavirusandhomeworkingintheuk/april2020#:~:text=1.,(COVID%2D19)%20pandemic

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