Powering your home office isn’t cheap. In fact, electricity bills can be one of the biggest costs of owning property. And now with so many of us working from home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, those electricity costs may be going up.
Luckily, there are seven simple ways to curb those rising costs and lower your energy usage each month.
1. Brighten your home office with natural light
Harness the power of sunlight.
Lighting takes up between 5% and 10% of a household’s energy usage. But you can cut down on this percentage significantly by using sunlight to brighten your rooms. Not to mention, getting more sun has a number of other benefits including boosting your vitamin D intake and warding off seasonal depression. So, open up those shades and let those rays in!
2. Use LED light bulbs
Sunlight is great, but we can’t always rely on it to light our homes. The next best thing? LED light bulbs.
LED lighting is the most energy and cost-efficient form of lighting on the market right now. LED lights last up to 80% longer than incandescent light bulbs and are more efficient, converting 95% of their energy into light while only losing 5% to heat. That means you'll be using less energy and going through fewer bulbs, which will have a positive impact on the environment, as well as your bank account.
3. Unplug your “vampires”
“Vampire power,” or standby power, refers to electricity that is being used by appliances that are plugged in, but not in use. Think laptop and phone chargers, printers, TV’s, speakers—electronics that often stay plugged in even when they’re off.
Studies estimate that your electronic appliances consume up to 25% of their energy while they aren’t even in use.
The solution here is easy! Unplug what you can when you’re not using it! You can also look into buying a smart power strip that cuts off power to outlets when an appliance is not in use.
4. Cold wash your laundry:
Washing machines spend 90% of their energy on heating up water. That means you can cut down on a lot of your energy usage by simply switching from hot/warm washes to cold washes.
Worried this means your clothes won’t be as clean? Some studies say that while hot water is best for sanitation, cold water is actually more effective for removing stains. Plus, you won’t even have to separate your clothes by color!
Check out this chart from coldwatersaves.org that breaks down the cost per load depending on the temperature setting of your wash.
5. Install a Smart Thermostat
Smart thermostats are thermostats that can be controlled by a mobile device in a remote location. These thermostats can be turned off and on when you aren’t home, allowing you to only run heating and cooling systems when necessary.
Smart thermostats allow us to come back home after a long day of work to a house set to the perfect temperature—without having to leave your house set to that temperature all day.
Though smart thermostats are a bit expensive upon installation, they ultimately will save you money by cutting down your electricity bills every month.
6. Look into a Community Solar Programs
Community solar programs strive to make the benefits of solar energy more accessible to people across the country. For the approximately 80% of U.S. residents that are unable to get solar energy on their roofs, community solar creates an opportunity to support clean energy development while saving money on home electricity costs.
Think of community solar like a vote in support of clean energy in your community. When you subscribe to a community solar farm you're not only making it possible for that farm to operate, but you're also letting your utility know that you support clean energy. Your utility will send you solar credits on your bill every month in recognition of your support, ultimately lowering the amount you owe them for your electricity use. So not only are you helping to green our electric grid, but your saving some money in the process.
7. Get a Professional Energy Audit
Chances are, there are ways you can improve the energy efficiency of your home. Professional energy audits are intended to make those upgrades as easy as possible.
These audits are often offered for free through state energy programs. An energy professional will come to your home and determine how much energy you're using, where your home is losing energy, and which problem areas you should prioritize to make your home more efficient and comfortable.
These audits can take anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours, but the outcome will have an outstanding impact on lowering electricity usage in your home.
*While we practice social distancing, there are also a lot of DIY ways you can audit and improve the efficiency of your own house!
Conserving electricity can end up saving you lots of money if you do it right. Not to mention, taking some of these simple actions to reduce your energy usage will have a positive impact on the environment! As we close out Earth Month, it’s a perfect time to try out some of these tips!
Thank you to the experts at Prime Electrical Services in Cherry Hill, New Jersey for weighing in and vetting these simple home energy savings tips.