As businesses respond to the rapid outbreak of COVID-19, many people will be working remotely for the foreseeable future. If you are one of the new work-from-homers, you may start to see your energy usage increase as you spend more time living and working in your home. Here are some tips to help you increase the energy efficiency of your new home office—saving both money and the planet.
1. Don’t pay for electricity you’re not using. Unplug electronics such as computers and chargers when they’re not in use, and only plug in and charge devices when you need to. Once you plug in a small appliance, unplug it when you're done to avoid wasting energy.
2. Only turn on your heat or air conditioning when necessary. Turn on fans or open windows as an alternative to AC, and use thermal curtains instead of turning on the heat.
3. Let sunlight in on chilly days. You don’t need solar panels to take advantage of the sun—allow the sunlight to naturally warm the rooms that receive direct sunlight during the day.
4. Green your décor. Check that all the vents in your home are clear of furniture. Keep lamps and televisions away from your thermostat for a more accurate temperature reading. Also, to use less energy for lighting, put lamps in the corners of rooms to allow the light to reflect off the walls and light up the room more.
5. Replace your air filters to improve airflow and increase the efficiency of your heating system.
6. Utilize your blankets and sweatshirts on cold days. Getting more comfortable with bundling up inside your home can help you keep the temperature lower.
7. Invest in a programmable thermostat. This can help regulate your home’s temperature, keeping you comfortable when you’re there and saving energy when you aren’t.
8. Switch to Energy Star appliances and windows to increase your home's energy efficiency.
9. Keep doors and windows closed when the heat or air conditioning is turned on.
10. Turn down your water heater. Water heating accounts for 18% of the average utility bill. Turning down the temperature of your water heater to the warm setting (120°F) can help reduce your energy consumption.
11. Replace old-fashioned incandescent bulbs with LEDs. This alone can reduce your energy usage significantly—LEDs use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs! Remember to also turn off lights in rooms that aren’t in use.
12. Use cold water for your laundry to reduce energy usage. You can also hang dry your clothes as an eco-friendly alternative to the dryer.
13. Switch to clean energy sources. Once you have decreased your energy usage as much as possible, make sure the energy you do use comes from clean, green sources. Make the switch to 100% clean, renewable energy today!